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In the modern organisation, everyone works for the customer

Business leaders talk constantly about putting the customer above all other considerations. It sounds like the right thing to say, but for many businesses only a small percentage of their workforce engages with customers on a regular basis, and even fewer use the knowledge gained to improve products and services.

In essence, business and government organisations exist to serve customers, and customers' expectations are accelerating. They are seeking services that are tailored to their needs, less intrusive, and make a positive difference to their lives.

Great relationships and business build from great customer experience (CX). Customers give an organisation more than just a contribution to the bottom line; they provide valuable insights that can be used to improve products and services to strengthen their brand.

Such insights can be critical in a world where new competitors appear regularly. While customer experience analytics solutions are advancing at a staggering rate, sometimes nothing beats talking to a customer to really understand their needs.

So why is it that so much of the responsibility for engaging with customers often rests with the contact centre team alone?

Working with customers does require a specialised skill set and everyone probably does have a lot on their plate already. But that shouldn't mean that other employees should never interact with a customer. Nor should it ever mean that customers are not provided timely service because the contact centre can't meet demand.

There is a pathway to transform customer engagement, however. Over the past 18 months Optus has partnered with many organisations who sought to leverage cloud enabled CX solutions, as a response to the radically changing workplace conditions enabling many of us to work from anywhere on a Wi-Fi network.

If the organisation's role is to benefit the customer – and the tools now exist to make online collaboration easier from any location – then what does that mean for the traditional contact centre?

Welcome to Hybrid Customer Engagement – service has no boundaries

It's time to say goodbye to the old idea of the contact centre as a physical place with a fixed organisational structure and welcome an approach where everyone can engage with customers from any location and in seamless collaboration with other parts of the organisation.

The emergence of cloud CX solutions was a gamechanger through the COVID pandemic when employees worked from home for their own safety and the safety of others. Cloud-based solutions meant employees could connect with the organisation's CX platforms from home as easily as from their old workplace – all they needed was a laptop, phone - and a reliable internet connection.

The pandemic proved that the model works, but now organisations are seeing the advantages of having a more flexible service workforce that no longer needs traditional structures such as location and corporate workspaces. It also means that more employees  can engage with customers to meet both volume demand and customers' service expectations.

Of course, there is more to creating Hybrid Customer Engagement than just training people to use location independent technology. Optus recognise that successful customer engagement organisations design for high performing and diverse teams that really care about service and relationships. Such high-performance service organisations are supported by intelligent real-time data that enables rapid adaptability and customisation to drive desired CX outcomes.

This means that lines of communication and workflow need to be re-designed to allow unprecedented levels of internal collaboration to deliver exceptional customer experience. This is possible if company leaders and have a clear set of CX guiding principles underpinned by an innovative cloud based CX solution.

The new ways of working - Enterprise Customer Engagement

This concept is brought to life by the latest release of Webex® Contact Center, a Cisco® solution built for the future of customer experience. This cloud-based solution supports the work-from-anywhere model, providing employees with the same experience no matter where they connect from.

Being a part of the Webex portfolio, Webex Contact Center also incorporates all the collaboration features that high performing employees expect. This empowers any employee in any location to be a customer-engaging employee. Cross functional teams can collaborate across the organisation to serve customers aided by effective automation, workflow and knowledge management - reducing employee effort and improving CX outcomes.

As an intelligent customer engagement solution, Webex Contact Center also provides access to advanced capability for customer management, including integration with popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Content Delivery Network (CDN) tools.

By design Webex Contact Center is also highly extensible, meaning it can be customised to the needs of the individual user or the entire organisation, and changes dynamically based on what is known about the customer or the nature of their service need.

And being a Cisco product, Webex Contact Center is also built to the highest standards of security, reliability and user identification.

A new era of cloud-based customer engagement

Exceptional customer experiences and customer service is now more than ever the driver to performance. We need to delight our customers in ways that meet their immediate needs and exceed their long-term expectations.

Achieving this means ensuring that employees have access to the best possible technology to service customers. Furthermore, such technology must be reliable and accessible to any employee who has knowledge or capability to resolve customer needs.

Organisations who can work across silos and verticals, who can build diverse teams, and who can design for collaboration – enabled by intelligent and adaptable technology – will win the hearts and minds of customers for the long term.

In a hybrid world, the future of work truly is collaborative by nature. Whether that means workers collaborating with each other, or workers in collaboration with customers – we need technology that makes collaboration easy for all.

As a challenger organisation in the Australian enterprise and consumer service provider marketplace, Optus truly understands the value of positive and innovative CX. It has forged its place as a start-up organisation to one of Australia's best respected brands through these ideals in customer service and engagement. Optus' DNA for building success and solutions is aligned significantly with that of one of its oldest partner organisations Cisco.

That is why when it comes to the era of hybrid customer engagement, the combination of Webex Contact Center and Optus is the collaboration that every organisation needs.

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