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David Meintjes, Telviva CEO talks: 6 intelligent business communication platforms trends

David Meintjes, Telviva CEO talks: 6 intelligent business communication platforms trends

Written by Staff Writer

25/11/2021

By Charndré Emma Kippie

 

David is a qualified Chartered Accountant who holds a Masters degree in Business Management from the University of Johannesburg. He has been a key Internet business player from the start, serving as FD, Commercial Director and CEO of UUNET SA, the first commercial ISP in South Africa in 1996. After serving as COO of software development company Korbitec Holdings, David became Chairman of Connectnet and Connection Telecom. From January 2010 he took up an operational role in the business to support its rapid growth phase and changed the name to Telviva to support the company’s international expansion.

 

Please could you tell us a bit about your leadership style and work at Telviva?

The internet industry has taught us how rapidly technology changes, and how to manage a fast-growing business and build a winning team that embraces change. This is crucial if we are to manage the ongoing challenge of introducing new technologies, getting rid of technical debt and keeping customers satisfied.

Getting this right requires maximum engagement and output by a smart leadership team which requires a special culture that adopts a “customer first” approach, embraces differences of opinion, and promotes transparency, honesty and acting in a way that builds trust. All of this has to be led from the top.

Cloud services, both globally and locally, have accelerated and this is the new frontier driving change in our personal lives and business models. Telviva helps business customers navigate these changes by providing market-leading solutions that synchronise voice, video, chat and data, in order to provide context that helps improve the customer experience, from the first point of contact to customer service and onwards.

 

What sparked your interest in intelligent business communication?

We are faced with an avalanche of communication channels, which brings along with it a factor increase in the amount of time it takes to work through it all. Having the ability to get to the point quicker becomes critical to navigate the day and to get rid of the noise.

 

What is your vision for the future of Telviva?

To enable better quality conversations with all the channels of communication in and out of a business. This is the new frontier: to enable more contextual communication through working with the identity of a person (either through CLI, voice authentication or login credentials), history of prior engagements and the content (mostly captured in a customer relationship management system either via a voice recording, transcription thereof and or simply notes).

 

What valuable tips do you have for those working in your line of expertise?

  • Keep learning because things are changing rapidly; be “change fit”.
  • Leverage yourself by learning from others and taking the time to teach others.
  • You can’t possibly know everything – ask a friend/colleague who knows answers. Build those relationships.
  • Even if you are smart, stay humble. Being the “smart ass” negates the two previous points.

 

What trends are you seeing in South Africa regarding intelligent business communication platforms?

We are likely to see several trends that are already gaining traction to gather even more momentum over the next few years.

 

Breaking down silos

Historically, various systems were handled in silos. Many customer relationship management (CRM) systems can deal with various channels elegantly, just not audio, whereas cloud-based PBX solutions can deal with all channels but still need to communicate effectively with CRM solutions, so there is a balancing act. The thinking over the next few years is going to be around fusing these silos.

Until now, most business communication was over voice and email. Those days are gone, and to be relevant today a business needs to have the capacity to handle voice and email, but also the high-pace environment of video and chat functionality on social media and the web. These channels all need to work in harmony.

 

Head in the cloud

The pandemic has accelerated cloud adoption. This allows companies to leverage more of the applications available in the cloud, such as high-end analytics, including transcriptions and voice sentiment analysis. This powerful capability immediately enhances a business’s intelligence.

 

Mobile-first

Traditional office-based working models were disrupted by the pandemic. There will likely be increasing permanence of working from anywhere, where companies look at a full-time blended, or hybrid, working model. This necessitates an increased reliance on mobile-first applications and so as businesses seek to develop intelligent platforms, this thinking needs to be considered at the get-go, from the planning phase. 

 

Automation

Automation, which is crucial for scale, could be self-help, easy-to-use applications, or bot-aided assistance for customers, and it may well be that a business needs to automate its business-to-business processes simultaneously. The key, though, is allowing the functionality – at any stage of the process – to hand off to a real person when the user has a complex issue to solve. 

 

Increased reliance on integrated systems inclusive of the communications platform

Over the next few years, we will see an increased reliance on operational support systems to enable a seamless digital journey for a customer. At the moment, this function is limited by historical and on-premise legacy architectures. A technological leapfrog needs to occur for businesses to truly unlock the power of these support systems.

That leap forward to embrace technology, and specifically the cloud, will see high-end cloud feature sets democratise the customer journey landscape and reduce reliance on premise-based contact centres. Cloud applications allow businesses to enjoy the types of features in general communications solutions that were previously the preserve of high-end contact centres. 

 

Increased reliance on cloud security 

There is an ever-increasing reliance on the cloud provider to ensure:

  • Strong cloud security, which includes secure authentication and all the tools to deal with Malware;
  • The ability to integrate with other enterprise systems with accessible, yet secure, API’s; 
  • An internal user management policy to guide staff to ensure safe service delivery; and
  • Ongoing vulnerability, penetration and intrusion detection testing

 

How are intelligent business communication platforms poised to put businesses ahead as we prepare for 2022?

A high focus on consuming a secure cloud service from a trusted provider. 

One of the most important considerations for businesses, as they strive to squeeze out efficiencies and become more competitive, is understanding that to be truly relevant and appealing for customers and staff, they need an intelligent business communication platform. This implies the ability to adapt and react based on real-time insights.

Ensuring the customer journey throughout the business is easy and that the touchpoints are pleasant are at the heart of having an intelligent communication platform. 

Where does an intelligent business communication platform start? It begins with the identity of the person – you’d like to detect your customer’s identity as soon as they contact you, and greet them by name, accurately. This simple move changes the tone of the engagement. Then, if you’ve had past conversations with that user, you want to be able to have immediate access to that context to ensure you have all the insight you need to delight the customer.

Many customers prefer digital interactions in the first instance. One can reference findings from research around the world where people are happy to deal with self-help and bot assistance until they have a complex issue that needs addressing. Here, they want to be transferred to a human – immediately. There’s little use investing in FAQs and automated chatbots, but when a complex issue arises, the customer must insert text and wait – the issue is present, they have invested the time, and they need the problem to be dealt with then and there.

As time goes on, we will see more and more of this capability emerging. Some sectors, such as financial services, have made great strides in their self-service models but few allow an instant transfer to a human agent. This is due to a systems gap, and it requires a host of backend investments not least leveraging the capabilities of the cloud, but the result is an automated process, with the option of human touch on demand, all by design.

 

 

*Check out the latest edition of the Public Sector Leaders publication here.

For enquiries, regarding being profiled or showcased in the next edition of the Public Sector Leaders publication, please contact National Project Manager, Emlyn Dunn: 

Telephone: 086 000 9590 |  Mobile: 072 126 3962 |  e-Mail: [email protected]

 

 

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