A conversation between two individuals flows smoothly when both parties understand each other. Good communication requires that both sides speak the same language, and use the same words to refer to the same things. When that doesn't happen frustration will ensue and the relationship will inevitably encounter difficulties.
For organisations talking to their customers it can be especially difficult to maintain good communication. While an organisation may contain certain individuals who are great communicators, each time they speak to a customer they have to spend their time gathering the necessary background information.
There are tools that go some way to overcoming this challenge. A customer database system such as a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) contains key information about a customer and can provide some context to a conversation but typically this is statistical data, such as order numbers or balances. It provides some background, but people are more than just a collection of database columns and, to understand what they really want, takes more than this.
At Sytel we considered how individuals communicate to find a solution to this challenge. When two friends talk they will subconsciously reference all the moments they have shared. That will include face-to-face conversations, WhatsApp or SMS chats, emails and perhaps social media interactions. All of these combine to create the history of their relationship.
Organisations should do the same. To that end Sytel keeps its own history file. This is a record of all conversations and interactions across all media types, for a particular customer. And this can include transcribed recordings of voice calls.
An agent speaking to a customer can perform a search of all previous communications and quickly get a sense of the needs of the person they are talking to. Gaining that context and understanding what a customer really wants are key to building and maintaining a great understanding and a great relationship.
The history file's usefulness does not end there. The file is accessible to other parts of the Sytel product. Chatbots, IVRs and inbound session routing can also make use of the data contained in it to gain insights into an inbound session and respond to or redirect it as needed, perhaps by sending a tailored chatbot chat or voice response, or perhaps by directing the session to a specific agent who has the necessary skills and knowledge to best handle the customer.
The history file serves as the organisation's collective memory of each customer.