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Design Thinking for Communications & Collaboration – Driving Gen-Z Experience

Design Thinking for Communications & Collaboration – Driving Gen-Z Experience
June 21, 2017

In my previous article, I had discussed some fundamental possibilities arising from trends in Digital Communications & Collaboration (C&C). These changes are primarily driven by the Generation-Z (Gen-Z) – typically described as mobile, cloud-friendly, and digitally social. They tend to converse in a brusque and direct manner, irrespective of the audience.

In fact, an analyst succinctly summarized Gen-Z’s experience expectation, “They expect the experience to be conversational in style; easily accessible, experiential, curated, shareable, secure and controllable.”

In this article, I will highlight the Communication & Collaboration (C&C) Services that are relevant to the new-gen workforce in a 21st century enterprise. The fundamental building block would be client applications, whose users can be classified into five broad categories:

Customer facing Clients

For this category of users, the traditional approach was to provide a dedicated application or contact number to the customer.

In Contrast, the Gen-Z applications provide a Conversational User Experience (UX) which adapts to the user-preferred service. Secondly, the availability of automated assistants facilitates decision making for users, while ensuring the execution of tedious tasks. In fact, seamless foreground and background integration with customer facing applications, together with automated assistants, would drive superior end-user experience preferred by Gen-Z.

Thirdly, the app will enable the transition from individual one-on-one interactions to group conversations. For example, the user must be able to switch from text to voice to video and back again from any device.

Employee-facing Clients

Most Employees may not prefer to communicate with the Service-Desk for getting their job done but directly approach their contacts within the organization. While this would usually be frowned upon, some businesses prefer such relationship management and encourage these interactions for High Touch Users. Gen-Z users believe by default that they are High-Value and expect to be treated like one… This means more stress on the Service Handlers

Now, a next-gen app would be able to make this interaction less stressful for the employees. Virtual assistants will prioritize the activities and automate most time-intensive tasks. It will also provide suggestions based on the conversation in progress. In addition, contextual intelligence is a definite ask – if the employee is at home in non-working hours, chat request could be promptly denied.

Customer service agent client

Like Employees, Customers also want to be treated with Contextual and Personalized Services. To Achieve this, the Next-Gen Customer Service Clients, as well as the assistants, need to be well integrated with customer service applications, such as ticketing and CRM. The assistant should also be able to disclose real-time statistics when important changes occur and hide them when not required. It’s important, therefore, that the User Interface should not look like a flight cockpit but clean functional desk.

Moreover, the agent should be able to retrieve customer interaction history and non-intrusively interact with supervisors when in a complicated spot. Subsequently, the stress level of the agent could be monitored and the next call prioritized, based on ‘emotional quotient’ of the agent.

Supervisor client

The supervisor handles exceptions and governs the overall performance of the agents. Accordingly, he/she requires specialized assistants that are constantly looking for the ‘Interaction Health’ of the overall groups to identify any deviations.

In addition, the supervisor should have visibility to help agents out wherever required. For example, if the assistant notices that an agent is taking more than the usual time, the supervisor could intervene and extend support.

Administrator client

The administrator’s role is more system-centric. Hence, the focus of the assistant will be on system health and restoration strategies. Integration with HCL DRYiCETM, for example, would be an area of focus. Further, the assistant will need to provide important and contextual statistics.

Communications and Collaboration service

C&C service is a combination of traditional media management, routing, and interaction tracking algorithms, which are controlled by machine-learning driven AI agents. As part of the next-gen architecture, this solution should ideally be a multi-cloud, Micro-Services & Cloud Native.

Data services

In this milieu, distributed computing may not always be the best choice. However, real-time & batch analytics could be deployed in a multi-cloud server-less distributed architecture.

How can HCL help in this journey?

HCL has a blend of in-house products, services, and a mature partner ecosystem, to ensure that future-proof plans can be converted to reality.

Our partner ecosystem encompasses digital customer support solutions for Contact Centers and Cognitive Service Desks. These solutions drive connected digital experiences by delivering contextual, continuous, and capability-rich customer journeys. Further, HCL’s ecosystem partnership comprises app-centric cloud-based services that provide a complete collaboration suite for teams to create, meet, message, call, whiteboard, and share.

HCL’s ecosystem partnership comprises app-centric cloud-based services that provide a complete collaboration suite

We also own DRYiCE Lucy bot solution that can be introduced to offer assistive services as per business requirements. HCL’s partnership ecosystem enables next-gen C&C services that transcend the capabilities of legacy systems. To create a synergy between these solutions, partner ecosystem for cloud-based data services from Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud and other players have their own solutions for data capture, retention, machine-learning driven analysis and reporting possibilities.

This might look impossible with the current Unified Communications and Contact Center Solutions. The new wave of C&C services and products, however, can easily provide futuristic experiences to existing users.