I am attending the Varolii customer conference today. The company makes proactive unified communications tools that are used by call centers to manage their customer communications. Big companies like airlines, banks, Staples, UPS and others use their products. I’ve met some of the IT managers that have deployed this service and find it interesting to hear what their challenges are and how they are using the Varolii tools. It is all about being proactive, and reaching out to their customers before someone has a problem, or is behind on their payments, or is about to go to the airport and find out that their flight is delayed.
The company makes 4 million outbound calls on behalf of its customers daily. That is a lot of calls. Their system works across voice, email, and text messages and an upgrade is in the works to manage customers’ preferences (for example, Gen Y folks like to get texts as their primary touchpoint).
Staples for example, lets people order online and pickup from the closest store. Varolii does the automated notification to the customer that the order is available for pickup.
Southwest Airlines even has a “proactive customer service manager”– Fred Taylor Jr. — who’s job it is to develop these outbound communications tools. During the early March snowstorms in the Northeast, they sent out about 19,000 messages in a matter of a few minutes to tell passengers about the delays. They are working on expanding their system for gate change announcements too. “We want to do a really good job with following up with our customers after they fly us to make sure they continue to fly with us,” said Taylor. One of the reasons Southwest picked Varolii was because their voice messages didn’t sound robotic and were therefore more likely to be listened to than competitors’ products.