What is Customer Interaction Management?
The phrase Customer Interaction Management is capitalized because it refers specifically to a type of software program designed for managing the ways in which organizations interact with their customers. The customer has always been in the “driver’s seat” in any business transaction; the adage “The customer is always right” has been traced back to the late nineteenth century, when it was coined by British retail magnate Henry Gordon Selfridge. But these people did not have all the valuable software to help them the way we do now — and besides, the advance of technology, including social media, has enabled the customer. And CIM has not only aided the business manager in his tasks, but also makes things possible that could not even have been imagined twenty years ago. It will be described in detail in the sections below.
CIM includes a variety of solutions that can be grouped in a variety of ways, viz.:
• by business need — workforce optimization, compliance and risk, voice of the customer, sales and retention, back office workforce optimization and operational efficiency
• by industry — retail banking, transportation, insurance, outsourcing, public sector, communication service providers, health care and utilities
• solution suites — workforce optimization, back office workforce optimization, retail customer satisfaction, interaction analytics, call volume reduction, voice of the customer, proactive compliance
• standalone solutions — There are fourteen of these, including incentive management, interaction recording, mobile customer service, real-time authentication and contact center fraud prevention
Let us look in greater depth at a few of these items.
Back office workforce optimization
By “back office” we mean basically that — those employees of a company who work behind the area that customers may access, and who are therefore not directly involved with customer service. But their work has a profound impact on how services are provided. For example, in a restaurant, kitchen employees are continually at work preparing the meals, cleaning the dishes and cooking equipment so that they remain in usable condition and taking care of the company’s books. If they fail to perform their work properly, the costs of operations rise and customer satisfaction is not met. Back office workforce optimization solutions can be used to automate manual work, heighten operational efficiency, help make more accurate forecasts and avoid both understaffing and overstaffing.
Retail customer experience
CIM physical security information management, has a suite that can streamline brand quality across all channels, from the retail store to social media. Incentive management solutions can be used to figure out what motivates employees and put the resulting knowledge into action.
Proactive compliance for consumer protection
When it comes to fulfilling the needs of their customers, business managers must be proactive rather than reactive. That is, they must be able to think in advance of what customers might need, what problems they might have and what is the best way of solving them. CIM can produce the materials needed for litigation, enforce compliance with the Dodd Frank Reform — a law passed in 2010 to provide for greater financial stability — and make it easier to investigate and settle customer disputes.
This part involves recording interactions between customers and support personnel, whether by telephone, email or chat room. Such recordings can be used to analyze what the most common causes of customer complaints are and what can be done to keep such things at a minimum. It is through such records that companies assure accountability.
Mobile customer service
A smartphone is basically a computer the size of a cell phone that can do anything the latter can and then some. Those who study Web use estimate that before the end of this decade, smartphones will surpass desktop machines as the most common way of accessing the Internet. CIM includes a mobile app called Mobile Reach, designed to recommend channels that best serve customer needs and enable customers and agents to share texts and files more quickly and efficiently.