Get in Bed with Embedded Communications
Fall in Love with Your Apps Again
What would your work life be like if you could reach exactly the right person at exactly the right time, and have your questions answered in seconds, not minutes, hours or days?
Work would get done a lot faster, stress levels would decrease substantially, and the speed of doing business would flow instead of ebbing and flowing.
For most of history, communications have been asynchronous, and even synchronized communications has often required people to switch from one application to another.
Here’s an example of what happens when an everyday business application is enhanced with embedded real time communications (which simply means accessing other humans immediately using text, voice and video interactions made possible with one click, one swipe, or one touch).
You’re working to close a contract with an awesome prospective client, and it’s getting close to the end of the quarter. The pressure is on to fine tune the language, complete the last minute negotiations, and get the contract signed, sealed, delivered and on the books.
Before the advent of embedded communications, you would be at your desk, with one or two monitors open, your desktop phone, your mobile device, a stack of “print outs” several inches high, and a very large cup of caffeinated coffee.
But then along comes communications built into your workflow; let’s say you’re reviewing the latest mark-up from legal and have a quick technical question – just tap on the attorney’s profile picture and initiate an immediate 30-second voice chat. “What do you mean by expensive license?,” you simply say (instead of typing and waiting for a reply) and the attorney says, “oh sorry, I meant exclusive.” You both have a good laugh, the word is fixed and you keep flowing.
Then you get to the pricing table and it appears somebody in finance changed a few of the percentages. Just tap on the contract manager’s profile picture to get in touch, and he or she can easily open up a window with the image of the approval email from the prospect. Hopefully soon all three of you will be at the bar celebrating getting the deal closed instead of up all night hoping to be able to get through thousands of disjointed emails.
Embedded communications works beautifully for consumers, too. Let’s say your company puts up a new e-commerce site, with hundreds of exciting high end products. A $2,000 jewel-encrusted smartwatch has some features that may intrigue a prospective buyer but that’s a lot of money to spend online, so the consumer simply touches a “concierge” button and based on the product the conversation is routed to THE product expert who can guide the consumer to the close.
Since when did we prefer typing to talking? We’re starting to see evidence that the millennial generation actually does like to talk – check out the surge of voice messaging apps! Talking is just easier, more interesting, and now with better and better voice recognition software, can even happen with a friendly bot.
One touch to talk – vs. hundreds of letter to type? No contest.
But voice is just one channel – video continues to grow as more and more devices and networks support high definition and more and more applications are being adopted, making video selling and support second nature.
So how hard is it to improve applications with embedded communications? That depends on how sophisticated you want to be, how much you wish to integrate, and how important being able to actually hear people speak and see people engage is to your business.
From simple one line of code APIs to stick click to call on a webpage, to completely enriching a CRM platform serving tens of thousands of team members, the options range as they always have from basic and cheap, to premium and worth it.
For those readers who wonder – Isn’t this just “click to call?” – it’s not. Click to call has been around for about a decade; embedded communications are much more flexible, sophisticated and intelligent.
Easier and more convenient than simply dialing an existing number by clicking the mouse, embedded communications can trigger anything from text chat to voice chat, from interactive video to shared media – because it happens in the browser. WebRTC and other technologies make it possible to embed experiences – for example, touch “video chat” as an option on a social network profile, and if the receiving party is available, the conversation can start immediately. No need to download special software, as long as you are using one of the many most popular browsers globally.
Embedded communications projects are sprouting up all over the place, being led by any number of people inside organizations – marketing, product management, finance and legal, operations, HR, sales and sales operations, e-commerce teams, and more. Embedded communications is becoming a natural inside both mobile and enterprise apps, and is skyrocketing in social media, as evidenced by Facebook messenger and the new ability to touch to talk to Facebook friends.
Sometimes the calls can happen browser-to-browser and sometimes browser-to-phone, which makes it very important to consider the interconnections between the web and telco (“PSTN”) if you want to deliver a perfect experience to any end-point, including “phones” on cellular networks.
Many different industries are innovating in embedded communications with field service, healthcare and e-commerce in the lead. That said, government, education, hospitality, transportation, public safety and many more are also taking advantage of simply making it easier for teams to get work done, for business partners to connect, and for consumers to connect with each other and businesses.
Here are some thoughtful questions to ask if your company is looking into opportunities to improve results using embedded communications:
- Which of your existing business applications (workflow, ERP, CRM, financial, HR, etc.) can be made better by adding the ability to immediately connect people to get work done faster?
- What are you spending today on multiple communications channels including voice systems?
- How will you support extremely reliable performance, particularly as the reliance on embedded communications grows as you roll out one, two and then three embeds to enhance applications?
- What level of security do you need?
- For which specific applications? For example, building access may be more stringent than access to a help desk to answer a simple question.
- How will you approach the project – who will provide the service and complete the integration, test it and roll it out?
- Who in the company is needed to participate on the team to bring embedded communications to fruition – finance, operations, IT, devops, marketing, customer experience, and more?
- How will you decommission old communications as embedded real time communications continues to address the gap and enable people to communicate more easily, intuitively and cost-efficiently compared to multiple legacy systems?
- How can your customers and partners benefit?
- What kind of data can be collected and analyzed based on embedded communications transactions, contributing to your improving how you operate and communicate?
Consider metrics when putting together a business case – how will your investment in a smarter way to communicate “inside the apps” pay off in the near and middle-term future?
By Sacha Gera, Senior Vice President, Cloud Products, Kandy.io