Business rules based on a variety of parameters from agent availability and context to customer value are essential to provide the most appropriate channel for the customer. Here, Richard McCrossan, strategic business director of digital channels at Genesys, takes a look at how business rules can transform any customer service operation by keeping the business in control, and how they will be key to integrating mobile into the contact centre.
Business rules engines work in the same way as a jungle gym in your local playground – some highly experienced people have designed the system based on best practices, and you know that it’s safe. So when your company launches a new service which perhaps your contact centre staff are not all trained to deal with, rather than all calls coming directly into the centre and customers getting unsatisfactory answers to their questions, the contact centre supervisor could use business rules to turn on a new message in the IVR system which gives customers details on how to apply for the new service or directs them to appropriate staff who can deal with the situation, in real-time.
Business rules are built around the needs of each business, providing it with agility and ease of access to change the rules based on varying parameters. They enable you to operate at the speed of business – but more importantly, keep control in the hands of your business. You can see how it puts powerful customer service capabilities directly into the hands of the enterprise business user, including the ability to control sophisticated customer service strategies at the click of a button.
Business rules provide business agility
They can be used very effectively for inbound calls to engage with a customer. Take for example a bank. A customer calls in about a particular issue but they also have an upcoming renewal of a fund due in 60 days. Contact centres can put in place a business rule which gives that customer preferential treatment and is prompted to talk about this renewal. This approach is much more effective than outbound campaigns, as it captures an interested consumer at the point at which they are already speaking to the company, and avoids the need to make a specific call to ‘sell’ to them. And it’s possible to change the parameters of the rule – so if the bank finds that it’s not successful, then they can tweak the business rule to benefit the business more – perhaps reducing the time frame to 30 days.
So business conditions from an expiring certificate of deposit or upcoming flight status can be flagged to initiate customer service activities, such as an outbound notification, customised IVR treatment, or agent-specific routing strategies. The options are based on parameters set up within each business rule, which in turn are based on contact centre intelligence, so that customers get a consistent level of service.
Empowering the line manager to keep service in line with business goals
In this way business rules empower line of business managers and customer service executives to directly manage activities within the contact centre so that they can instantly make changes to customer segmentation and routing strategies, business processes, and workflows that support business goals and customer service – all without the need for lengthy IT change management processes.
So although IT specialists design the business rules engine and define what controls the business rules, they then hand that over to the contact centre – perhaps the business analyst or call centre manager – to ‘work’ the rules and change the parameters as fits their business and experience.
Using business rules, the business is always in control – no complex set of programming workflows and customisation.
So what about mobile?
At the beginning of 2013, Forrester predicted that mobile solutions would become a must-have, aligning strategies across marketing, sales and eCommerce, but also increasingly introducing customer service into that mix.
While mobile is certainly still more immature as a customer engagement tool, business rules can have a great effect through a mobile app as part of a wider customer service strategy.
For example, if all voice agents are busy, a business rule can tell the mobile app to offer customers chat or email as communication channels – all direct through the app on the handset. It’s also possible to offer different options within the mobile app depending on customer value. A Gold customer would be given all communication options due to the value that they bring to the organisation, whereas a Bronze customer might only get the options of email and chat, which use less immediate resource within the contact centre.
Development increases personalisation
Mobile apps are often still siloed and immature in development terms – according to Tealeaf research, 84% of people who have used mobile encountered a problem. But introducing business rules within mobile customer service can take advantage of the personal engagement a mobile offers and provide a more tailored approach to each customer’s interaction with a company. And while companies are still developing ways in which mobile apps can deliver an enhanced customer experience, business rules will certainly be the way forward once companies embrace this trend.