In conversation with Ian Mitchell,
CEO of Digital Yonder Group
How would you describe what Digital Yonder Group does?
We’re really split into three businesses. Our Yonder Contact business offers a full omni-channel contact centre service – we provide services to more than 1,000 customers including many well-known brands with a turn-key outsourcing solution. Then we have Yonder Tech, which provides technology and consultancy to clients who want to operate contact services for themselves in-house. And finally we have Yonder Insight, which works with clients to help them extract value from the data they’re collecting with descriptive and predictive analytics tools.
Tell us more about Yonder Contact?
Clients want to offer a value-added customer journey. They want to grow the customer experience and the opportunities to do that are widening all the time – phone and mail have a role as they always have done, but there’s also social media, SMS, web-based services and bots for example.
Many clients struggle to create a joined-up approach to the customer journey and to engage in a timely, poignant and engaging manner. Customers are then left feeling isolated and misunderstood, and outcomes are slow and laborious. Yonder Contact removes this problem as we have the knowhow and technology to engage our clients’ customers at the right time, with the right information and via whichever communication channels they wish to use at any time of the day or night. Customers feel understood, engaged and outcomes are fast and simple.
Where does the technology come in?
One of the big problems standing in the way of businesses aiming to offer a better service across multiple channels is that they have to operate so many systems. If you’ve ever been put on hold in a contact system, chances are it’s because the call handler is having to switch from one system to another to deal with your query. Our Synergy software layers over the client’s existing systems, pushing and pulling all the relevant information needed to deal with a customer and then displaying it in a single user interface. That enables clients to engage with their customers much more effectively in an omni-channel environment and also has huge productivity benefits – staff don’t need to be trained on whole range of different systems, for example, and customer interactions are accelerated significantly, optimising workflows and improving consistency.
And where do you see this heading?
In many ways, the third arm of the business is the most exciting as it takes Yonder Contact and Yonder Tech to another level. We believe that while we now live in the age of information, we don’t yet live in the age of true business insight. Companies have huge amounts of information about their customers and markets but they’re not extracting the insight they need from that data to look at their business through a different lens.
We can provide the insight required to see the emerging trends that will help clients transform their strategy, as well as to identify ailing trends that are rotting the core of their businesses. We use descriptive and predictive machine learning, artificial intelligence and behavioural analytics tools to drive insight by triangulating multiple data sources from within and beyond the contact centre.
How is this changing the industry?
Forward-looking companies increasingly recognise that their contact centres aren’t simply there to provide a positive customer experience, crucial and increasingly difficult though that is. Their contact centres can also be a valuable source of insight, providing them with some of the key intelligence they need to develop their businesses for the future.
Why is providing a positive customer experience more difficult?
Because customers are more demanding and expect to be able to reach you at any time and across the channel of their choice. It’s about the technology and the human interaction. You need to have systems that can deliver sophisticated, always-on service, but also operators with the skills and experience to provide the best possible interactions. And your operation has to be both stable and scalable, which are often conflicting needs and expensive to deliver in-house. That’s why we think outsourcing will increasingly be the model customers choose.
And do you have a vision of the future?
So many different things are possible and the rate of change and adoption is increasing all the time. To give just one example, I can imagine customers being able to log into a virtual shopping mall, where augmented reality tools enable them to travel through shops with a digital concierge avatar who knows everything about their sizing and style, and who can guide them to the items they’ll want and can afford. The avatar’s advice will even adapt to reflect the customer’s mood or changing shopping requirements. Artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, customer deep learning and bot-based services are definitely going to become more and more prevalent.