Gartner Conference: Going Mobile to Fix What’s Broken in Customer Service




“Who’s in charge here?”

It’s a question that longtime Equinix customer Contact Solutions wants businesses and public agencies to ask about their customer service interactions. And if the answer is anyone other than the customer, then it may be time to do business differently.

Contact Solutions helps a host of prominent businesses, from Xerox to the New York Times, provide customer self-service through the cloud. The company says customer service is broken because, too often, the corporation – not the customer – is in control when a customer reaches out for help. Customers can end up trapped on hold, or bound to the line until someone, somewhere extracts whatever information the company needs to address customer requests. God forbid the call gets interrupted. That means the whole process must start over.

Research shows 71 percent of consumers have ended a business relationship due to poor customer service.

But Contact Solutions says it can fix what’s broken, and it’s taking its technology platform mobile to do it.

On Tuesday, Vice President of Operations Chris Sussman of Contact Solutions joins Lou Najdzin of Equinix for a presentation at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas. Sussman will talk about his company’s pivot to mobile technology and its My:Time mobile solution, which puts customers in charge of their own customer service interactions.

He’ll also talk about how Platform Equinix™ is a critical part of the transition. It’s a place to find partners to meet the coming challenges, as well as a dense selection of mobile and cloud service providers, ensuring he can operate as efficiently and dependably as possible.

“We are turning control of the customer service experience over to the customer,” Sussman said. “We would not be able to do this without having the reliability of the platform that all of this is built on.”

Contact Solutions, an Equinix customer since 2003, is seeing 20 percent annual growth and expects to handle more than 1.2 billion customer service minutes this year. The company says the time is now to turn to mobile technology because that’s where the customer is, given how essential tablets and smartphones have become to people’s lives.

My:Time was introduced last month with customer service features that enable it to react intelligently to what the user is experiencing and find the best way to solve the problem. It also allows a customer to start, stop and resume any customer service interaction whenever he or she wants. Tim Sloane of the Mercator Advisory Group wrote that My:Time provides “a seamless transition between self-service and contact center agents without having to leave the app, re-authenticate, or repeat personal information.”

The move into mobile means a heavier reliance on cloud-based storage, backup and infrastructure. Sussman knows the change will come with unforeseen demands, but he’s found help from business collaborators within Equinix’s global ecosystems before, and he anticipates finding future business partners in the Equinix Ethernet Exchange.

“I have a partner in Equinix that I can lean on to help put me in touch with the vendors and/or the business to business relationships I need to help me get over the hurdles that I face every day,” he said.

Sussman said his company also expects to take advantage of the diversity of cloud and mobile providers available in Equinix data centers to cut costs, increase speed and reduce latency. It’s the same way his company capitalized on the broad choice of network providers within Equinix data centers when it was building its telephone customer service platform.

“Being in the house where 90 percent of the Internet is already traversing is critical to my needs,” he said.

Sussman said he’s looking forward to Tuesday’s presentation for the chance to highlight his company’s offerings and new direction. But he added he may plug Equinix a bit.

“They’re more than just HVAC systems and diesel generators,” he said. “They’re a true partner.”