Are you helping your customers find their socks?
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published on cio.com.
I hate to show my age here, but remember 411? You could dial it on your phone for “information” of all sorts. Generally, it was a way to find someone’s phone number, but in the pre-internet era, it was Google on your landline.
Speaking of 411, one of my favorite comedians, Steven Wright, used to do a joke about it. In his infamous deadpan delivery, he told this bit:
“I got up one morning and couldn’t find my socks, so I called Information. She said, ‘Hello, Information.’ I said, ‘I can’t find my socks.’ She said, ‘They’re behind the couch.’ And they were!”
Wouldn’t it be great if it was that easy? I have a question, I call a magical, all-knowing number and it answers my question.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Can you find your information?
In fact, with the patchwork of technology systems inside most organizations today, finding a critical piece of information might involve checking three, four or five different systems before finding what you’re looking for, if you’re lucky enough to find it at all.
This doesn’t meet anyone’s expectations – your customers, your employees, your strategic partners. Because, in today’s world, the acceptable response time for nearly any information search has become the amount of time it takes to Google it.
In other words, that customer waiting on the phone for an answer expects it almost instantaneously. They want to apply for a credit card, get approved and buy that dining room set they have open in another browser window.
Making them wait is not the kind of service they expect. Or deserve.
Times have changed, have you?
Is your acceptable timeframe for a transaction the same as your customer, client, student or patient? With increasing consumer expectations, business agility is critical. Leveraging information for transactions with customers requires real-time availability of structured and unstructured data for decisions – from underwriting to payables to patient care to college admissions and literally hundreds, if not thousands, of other examples.
We want information on our phones and in the cloud. We want access to documents whether they originated in paper or electronic form. We want to automate our processes to “low touch” or even “no touch.” We want to limit or eliminate menial tasks, and we want to enable our knowledge workers in real time.
Having information siloed throughout the organization no longer meets the needs of today’s nimble business and their customers. That’s not to mention the costs of maintaining multiple information silos and training your staff to use all of them.
“Let me find that and I’ll call you back” doesn’t work anymore. In fact, customers now want to access their own info online through portals and on their mobile devices.
Leveraging a single platform for managing information, while integrating it with core line-of-business systems for a single user interface is becoming a requirement in today’s on-demand economy. Meeting the needs of internal and external users with process automation, structured and unstructured content in vertical-specific applications at their fingertips on mobile devices and in the cloud?
Now, that’s the 411.