Smart Sourcing for the Customer Journey

Today we’re interviewing James Waite, General Manager UK for business matching service, AboutMatch, to find out which customer experience (CX) products and services are hottest in the UK right now. AboutMatch is well placed to share these insights as they have become the go-to site for trusted vendor recommendations in the Customer Space.

James, first of all please can you tell us a bit about AboutMatch and how the business came to fruition?

Quite simply, we saw a gap in the CX market to help buyers find their ‘perfect match’ supplier when they have a business need. Our research showed that many people looking to source a new product or service would start with search engines and rely on time-consuming research and enquiries to find a supplier. This made us think there has to be a better way. Therefore, we developed a sophisticated online matching platform, a dating website if you will – but for businesses! Anyone can simply enter a requirement and get matched with a shortlist of vendors who best meet the requirement. Under the mantra, Smart Sourcing for the Customer Journey, AboutMatch covers seven product/service categories, including outsourcing, technology, data, digital and consulting.

From the companies that are using your website to find suppliers, what outsourcing and technology trends are you seeing?

Within outsourcing, contact centres is our most popular category. That’s not just phone and email - we see rising demand for web chat, social media, SMS and even video services delivered by third party experts.  The talk has been around “omnichannel customer experience” for some years now, but the market is finally catching up and technology solutions that deliver to that remit are booming. While India and the Philippines were the traditional bastions of offshore, we are seeing a rebound in demand for onshore, perhaps a by-product of Brexit and the weaker pound.  With the same time zone as the UK, and the world’s 5th largest pool of native English speakers, South Africa continues to be a popular choice.

RPA (robotic process automation) is the technology solution everyone seems to want to get their hands on. It has delivered us driverless cars and monitoring of the sick and elderly, and now it’s sweeping the world of customer operations! Companies are seeing big cost savings though RPA intervention in simple customer transactions and processes.  However just as important are the benefits around lower risk (mitigating human error), faster and more consistent customer service, and increased productivity.

You touched on RPA, what other technologies in the customer world are high in demand right now?

Number 1 is the surge in demand for virtual agents and chatbots, which serve as a computer generated online customer service representative. In addition to automation, 2017 is all about analytics, for example text analytics and call analytics. People are looking for technologies which enable them to interpret customer feedback at the speed of light, so they can react immediately to consumer demands or problems. Voice of the customer systems and social media management solutions are a must for any mid to large enterprise as well.

What CX technologies do you see as “up and coming”?

While automation takes centre stage, it’s almost every week that we hear of a new technology reinventing some other aspect of the customer experience. One of the latest is the concept of ‘Crowd Service’, allowing brands’ customers to help other customers, in return for credit or other incentives.

For more information on AboutMatch or any of the products / services discussed, email James.

James Waite spearheads AboutMatch in the UK, and is a subject matter expert in the field of customer management, business process outsourcing (BPO) and B2B demand generation.