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“Can you please come up with a solution to the daily frustrations we have just trying to work together and serve customers?”

This is a common refrain that Tomas Gorny, co-founder and CEO of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Nextiva, has heard from thousands of different customers over the years.

However, his customers are not unusual in their concerns.

Research shows that the top five challenges and frustrations facing customer service departments are:

  1. That agents have to ask customers to repeat themselves when they are transferred or switch channels,
  2. The lack of visibility into the process, issue progress and the whole customer relationship,
  3. The inconsistent service quality levels that customers experience across different channels,
  4. The lack of proactive communication that could pre-empt many issues and customer queries, and
  5. That it takes so long to resolve a customer’s problem.

Fascinatingly, the same research also found that when customers were asked to list their biggest frustrations when dealing with customer service, they produced a remarkably similar list to that of business leaders and agents. They also shared the same top frustration: Having to repeat information when transferred or switching channels.

As you would expect from a leading player in the business communications space, Gorny and his team have spent a lot of time listening to customers and then thinking about these issues. As a result, they have been able to distill these frustrations down to three actionable elements:

  1. Employees who support customers don’t want to use multiple applications to engage with their customers everywhere they want to interact. Doing so requires screen switching and risks data loss and inaccuracy.
  2. They also don’t want to use numerous additional applications to communicate and collaborate with their internal colleagues when addressing a customer’s issue.
  3. They’re also frustrated by the lack of in-app functionality that would allow them to ask customers for feedback on the resolution of their issues, measure their performance and track customer sentiment.

Identifying these elements has helped Nextiva develop a new application, NextivaONE, which aims to address these issues and more.

Specifically, the NextivaOne application:

  • Delivers a threaded and more conversational approach to service, one that isn’t based on tickets but rather on conversations, regardless of the channel or channels that customers use to get in touch;
  • Facilitates data sharing across an organization, whether that’s transcriptions of interactions, critical files, notes or attachments, so essential data that is required to serve a customer, at any point on their journey, is available to anyone and everyone, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks;
  • Enables agents through in-line coaching so that even the most inexperienced agent can resolve the most complex query with almost zero learning curve.
  • Makes gathering feedback instantly accessible by building a customer feedback tool into the heart of their application, so there is no longer any need for an agent to switch to another application to conduct a customer survey; and
  • Connects agents with their colleagues via in-built internal communication tools that allow agents to avoid switching applications when reaching out to colleagues for help regarding a customer’s issue and, thus, keeps frustration and data slippage to a minimum.

Reflecting on this list, it strikes me that what Nextiva have done is develop an application that starts from the position of …… if we improve our agent’s ability to do a good job, it will inevitably lead to an improvement in the customer’s experience.

This is echoed by Chris Reaburn, Nextiva CMO, who says, “Our customers want to do the best for their customers, and NextivaONE is here to facilitate that.” He says that it “requires a re-focusing on the employee experience. Happy teams make happy customers, and making support teams happy is what NextivaONE is all about.”

It’s frightening to think that the average agent still uses around 8 or 9 different apps in this age of connected technology when solving customer problems. However, please spare a thought for agents who report that they have to use in excess of 15 different apps to do their job and deliver great customer service.

NextivaOne aims to remove the friction, frustration, inefficiencies, and errors that come with the “frackenstack” systems that many customer service agents have to deal with on a daily basis. That is a step in the right direction.


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