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Encouraging customers to interact with your business through internet portals and mobile apps is no longer just an emerging trend. It has become the dominant paradigm in today’s digital economy.
For large institutions such as banks, providing online services instead of maintaining a large, fully staffed branch network seems like a no brainer, and it’s definitely helping reduce operational costs.
But something is being lost. If customers never meet their bank manager or financial advisor face to face, your company won’t have a chance to build a personal relationship with them. That’s a big problem, because loyalty and trust, not to mention business growth, are built on human interactions.
If you don’t spend time getting to know your customers, how can you expect them to stay with you? If customer service is totally commoditized, customers will start choosing their preferred suppliers solely on price, sparking a race to the bottom among competitors.
Face-to-face meetings also create another big advantage: they put salespeople in direct contact with customers, which makes them the most effective way to upsell and cross-sell your products. If you are not meeting your customers, you are depriving your sales teams of their best opportunities to make deals and win new business.
Capitalizing on every opportunity
Businesses can’t, and shouldn’t, turn back the tide. Online and mobile channels are cost effective, convenient and popular. Nobody wants to go back to a world where you have to visit your bank just to cash a check.
But since opportunities to meet with your customers are now much rarer, when they do occur, businesses should seize them with both hands. That’s why TimeTrade decided to rethink the traditional appointment-booking process and launch a service that makes it easy for organizations to book meetings with their customers, with no emails, phone calls or risk of scheduling issues.
As our service has evolved, we realized that offering it through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model would be the most cost-effective and flexible option, both for our company and our clients. However, finding a cloud provider capable of meeting all our requirements proved difficult until TimeTrade turned to IBM.
Making it happen
We’re harnessing a combination of IBM Cloud bare metal servers, IBM Cloud Virtual Servers and IBM Cloud Object Storage to provide a platform that can support over 100 million appointments annually for more than 500 enterprise clients.
In addition to its scalability and cost-efficiency, IBM Cloud helps solve a key issue: regulatory compliance. To book an appointment with a customer, we need to store personal information about them, such as their name and other relevant details. As a result, we need to comply with a number of complex privacy and data protection laws in different countries around the world, such as the Privacy Act in Canada and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU).
IBM Cloud enables us to specify the precise location of each of the servers that run our appointment service so we can ensure that all Canadian data is held within Canadian borders, all information on EU nationals is held within the EU, and so on. The level of control that IBM provides is a key differentiator and something we haven’t seen from many other cloud providers.
Lifting customer satisfaction levels
With IBM Cloud powering the TimeTrade solution, we can scale quickly and cost effectively to support new clients while ensuring that we remain in full compliance with all the relevant regulations in each local market.
By providing a highly available and responsive service, IBM Cloud also helps us deliver seamless appointment management workflows and analytics to clients. They can be confident that their customers can always book an appointment when they need one, and that each appointment will be assigned to a customer service agent with the right skills to serve the customer effectively.
The result is fewer missed appointments, faster issue resolutions and improved satisfaction levels. Looking at the big picture, we’re helping to re-establish those personal relationships that foster trust between our clients and their customers, unlocking new sales opportunities and increasing customer loyalty.
Read the case study for more details.