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CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — Partners need to catch the “third wave” of enterprise communications technology to meet their customers’ rapidly changing customer engagement needs.
That’s according to Bryan Martin, 8×8‘s (a Premier Sponsor) chairman and CTO, who gave a keynote Thursday during the Channel Partners Conference and Expo. Data is the lifeblood of an effective enterprise communications system that drives an experience that “delights” customers, he said.
The first wave in enterprise communications was on premises. The second wave was moving to cloud, he said. Now, the third wave is a single platform engagement that covers the entire enterprise, whether you’re in the call center, a contractor or mobile, he said.
“It all needs to be tied together through all channels, and by doing that you now have a single platform that generates data that is accessible and usable to actually run your business,” Martin said.
It’s easy to say you’re going to digitally transform and start using data to make decisions, but it’s actually very difficult to put into practice, he said. Because of that, there’s a “huge opportunity” for the channel to help educate, evangelize and deliver these types of solutions to the clients that are out there, he said.
“You get insights that you never had before,” Martin said. “Most organizations of any size don’t even know what’s going on in their customer service interactions and so just immediately having visibility into that data will shock a lot of enterprise decision-makers and executives. Once you see it, then you can really start to transform and improve how you interact with those customers and make interactions quicker and shorter, and resolve things faster.”
Retailers, in particular, are interested in transforming their communications experience, he said.
“Retail is a heavily distributed business … and state of the art today is, I put in my zip code on the website and it tells me the seven stores that are closest to me,” Martin said. “But on a single engagement platform, I can actually connect you with a salesperson at the closest store, we can tell you whether that product is in stock or not, we can deliver it to you same day from that store. So we see some of the national retailers both in Europe and North America really starting to transform how they think about communication and those interactions, and it helps them sell more and it helps them delight their customers.”
In a world of Yelp, every interaction and how you project and interact with your customers matters because customers are going to form an opinion based on those interactions, so “that’s where you have to continually delight at every touch point; any time you talk to one of your customers, delight, delight, delight, and make them happy so that they put the right data out there that other people will then come to your business,” he said.
“I try to address the channel and tell them, because I think there was a fundamental shift a few years ago where everyone built a cloud practice,” Martin said. “They took eight people and said you all are going to focus on cloud, and that’s not enough anymore. So now what I’m saying is you need to take eight people and tell them to focus on a data practice and derive data out of your communications platform so that you can start improving these interactions. If customers are not aware of it, it’s a great opportunity for the channel partner to come in and say let me show you some examples of businesses we’ve improved and let us work with you to do that. It’s a new way to engage your communications customers.”