Picture this: You need support on activating your new credit card.
You pick-up the phone, dial the service provider's 1-800 number, and enter your personal details before being led down a dreaded maze of menus and options.
All this while, your phone is cradled to your ear, as you attempt to multitask and get on with work.
Sounds familiar? This frustrating everyday experience is on its way out.
Keeping it local
When users and consumers need help or support with a product or service, they often turn to a traditional "call centre", where an IVR (interactive voice response) system with its familiar "For option A, press one" is supplemented by human customer-service agents.
However, many of these voice-centric call centres tend to be located in foreign countries, which lower costs but creates added complexity. Now, a Singapore-based company is tapping into the power of digital technologies to make things easier.
"We foresee that many companies will want to continue to maintain or even bring back their support operations in-shore leveraging the power of digital as a means of reducing overheads while providing a broader choice of channels for customers to connect with their service providers" explains Jayesh Pajwani, co-founder and chief growth officer at Tetherfi.
"When it comes to support, voice phone calls are far from the only option these days,", says Mr Vineeth Nayak, founder and managing director, and a 20-year veteran of the callcentre industry.
The company boasts extensive experience in options, or channels, that service providers can make available to their customers in addition to voice. These include email, SMS, real-time web chat both on websites and in apps, and even third-party chat apps such as LINE and Viber, social media and fax.
Its web-based Tetherfi Multi-Media Agent Client (TMAC) acts as a Unified Agent Workspace for agents to handle all newer digital channels as well as traditional voice channel.
Says Mr Nayak: "The deployment of TMAC has played a pivotal role in realisation of
digital and omni-channel customer eperience transformation for our clients." In Asia, the likes of United Overseas Bank, Development Bank of Singapore, Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Press Holdings have chosen Tetherfi to help them realise digital transformation in customer service.
Mr Nayak adds that beyond omni-channel transformation, Tetherfi's strength lies in being the only vendor in Asia who can deliver a digital-only or digital-first contact centre with any combination of these digital channels, while its competitors are still focused on voice-centric strategies.
At the core of this is an Interaction Workflow Engine (IWE), a web-based software module that allows companies to modify how their customers are directed during voice and textbased interactions, without making changes to the contact centre's software.
Says Mr Pajwani: "Anything you can do by self-service voice, you can do on other non-voice channels using our multi-channel virtual assist platform." With such innovations as voice and text based interaction steering - the ability to say or type what you are looking for, and be directed immediately to the correct help area - IWE can reduce tedious waiting spent listening for options, along with the need for intervention by human customer service agents.
Beyond this, Tetherfi is looking on machine learning as the future. This strategy is playing out now on the company's Omni-Channel Management (OCM) software platform, a complete suite of customer support products that works across multiple channels. It is able to suggest answers for human agents to respond with, and even offers scores to help them choose the most appropriate answer.
Adds Mr Nayak: "Over time, the software will 'learn' the best answer for every situation, giving us the potential to develop a future multi-channel virtual assistant which will respond to customer queries without any human intervention."
Above all, companies from banking and insurance to healthcare, telecommunications and transport stand to gain by getting on board with Tetherfi's innovative services. "The simplified architecture of our products reduces companies' capital expenditure, making it quicker for them to roll out a contact centre which allows their customers to reach them on various channels, and runs on tried and- tested platforms which cost less time and money to run and maintain."
"It's time for new advancements in callcentre services," adds Mr Nayak. "I'm passionate about our products, and believe we have the potential to be a winner in this area."
Visit tetherfi.com for more information.