Good relationships with customers, partners and suppliers are a fundamental requirement for successful business. Competitive pressure and the growing ubiquity of mobile technology mean that the demands imposed upon the quality of interactions with external groups of partners have been increasing for some years.
All possible channels of communication, from smartphones to the web, from telephone to over-the-counter transaction, must work seamlessly.
The underlying processes and ICT systems must enable fast and reliably correct reactions. In addition, innovative solutions from specialist technology start-ups also raise the bar when it comes to user-friendliness.
To enable the potential of customer and supplier relationships to be fully exploited, all possible forms of contact must be integrated directly into processes by means of suitable interfaces. This can be achieved, for example, by means of a uniform, user-friendly customer portal for information, sales and support, accessible via various communication channels such as the web, a mobile app or over the telephone.
Used correctly, tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) help optimise the contact with and integration of customers, partners and suppliers as well as improving the quality of service in the form of the "customer experience". At the same time, efficiently organised processes and the strategic deployment of self-service facilities can also generate significant cost savings.
How things work at Swisscom
Private customers used to have to contact Swisscom in different ways. Device sales, subscriptions, the fault reporting service and support were separate. For some years, Swisscom has been employing a cross-channel strategy, which has generated benefits such as a time-saving self-service portal and company-wide processes such as online ordering of devices with the ability to then collect them in a Swisscom Shop. Customers benefit from much faster reactions that are not dependent on individual channels and from superior service quality. These improvements probably contributed towards Swisscom being a recipient of the Pegasus Award for years, recognition of its being the most trustworthy mobile provider in Switzerland. For its part, Swisscom saves support time with its cross-channel strategy, thus enabling it to cut costs.