If you’ve ever called a call centre and been passed between departments or had to give your details multiple times to the same person, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to deal with businesses that have separate systems that don’t talk to each other.
We can all think of industries that fit the bill:
- Banking: current accounts, savings accounts, loans, mortgages.
- Insurance: cars, houses, holidays, pets.
- Communications: landlines, mobile contracts, broadband, TV packages.
The siloed system approach is still common, and it’s often the consequence of service offerings building over time.
As companion services are bolted on to a core service, complexity increases and the ability to manage the operation becomes more challenging, as there are more backend systems to maintain. As a business scales, there seems to be ever more chance of customers becoming frustrated when they need help.
So, how can this be fixed? It’s all about control.
In IT, we have a concept called the “single pane of glass”. At 345, we describe this more accurately as a “single pane of control”.
Think of this as an enhancement to the traditional dashboard. Rather than just viewing and reporting on what’s going on, the single pane of control provides the means of controlling an arbitrary number of systems from a single interface.
This might sound reminiscent of IT consolidation projects, many of which are known for how long, expensive and ineffective they turn out to be.
How is single pane of control different and how does it help?
Where the single pane of control approach differs is that it can give businesses a single method of interfacing with their disparate systems without requiring those systems to be rebuilt or changed in a way that compromises their existing strengths. It’s like the way smart homes are controlled through a single-screen app instead of requiring people to run around the building to change settings for heating, lighting, air conditioning and other systems.
Instead of an expensive, risky rebuild, our method delivers the benefits of transformation in a relatively quick, cheap and low risk way, using systems that have been tried and tested for years.
The key that enables our single pane of control approach is APIs. We use these as shown in the diagram below:
Crucially, the single pane of control approach puts the customer at the forefront of the way the system operates. This gives your customer service staff the power to find and control everything they need so as to serve customers as quickly and effectively as possible.
Imagine that: no need to shunt customers between departments. No need to work out how to get systems to work with each other. No need to duplicate data and ask customers for all their info over and over again. No need to handle complaints when customers have wasted a lunchbreak on hold while the CS team tries to make everything hang together.
The person-focused approach of the single pane of control gets rid of all this, giving businesses a competitive edge and breaking the silos.
Think about how much better your customer service operation would be if your staff could serve customers quicker by looking them up and editing their records in only one system. If you’re looking to reduce complaints and increase your Net Promoter Score, the single pane of control approach could be just right for you.
We’ve now done some proof of concept scoping work to demonstrate how a CRM (provisionally based in Microsoft Dynamics) can provide a single customer view, with an integration solution sitting behind it to marshal the information exchange between the line–of–business systems and other APIs.
This approach can apply to financial services, insurance and in fact any business that needs to use multiple systems.
Need better control over your systems?
Marshalling lots of systems that don’t talk to each other is a common problem that we can now solve.
With our single pane of control approach, you can deliver a service that will delight your customers instead of frustrating them. And you can do it while avoiding the pain, expense and risk of rebuilding your systems.