An Escalator can never break: It can only become Stairs

An Escalator can never break: It can only become Stairs

When I heard this joke years ago, it really struck a note with me. In addition to being a good laugh, it also caused me to really think about how I go about designing software solutions for customers. Building systems in Pega, we are always looking for the best ways to automate and streamline processes, this often entails pulling data from multiple systems, running complex business logic, and presenting users with exactly the same information they need to complete their tasks. Though the end goal is always a powerful and efficient system, I have found that almost every project I have encountered has run up against issues with automation. Be it waiting for partners to deliver interfaces or even identifying sources for key information, there always seems to be some key piece of the puzzle that goes missing until the 11th hour.

Whenever I run into this type of situation, I think back to the escalator joke and take it a step further and compare an escalator to an elevator. When an elevator breaks down, at best everyone is stuck where they are. If an escalator breaks down, you simply start walking and you can keep going where you need to be, it might not be as fast or as easy as planned, but it will work. If a system is built well, with this type of thought process in mind, even though a key component might not be available or working, the system can still be fully functional, even if not operating at 100% efficiency.

In projects, I have always tried to add the ability to manually enter data that would eventually be provided by services, or in some cases give a user the ability to choose the path of a work object when in the future a complex business logic might make the final decision. By including these backup plans for when a service isn’t available or there are outstanding questions on logic, we can ensure that though a solution may not be running at 100% efficiency it will run and provide value on day 1.

Though our goal is always to provide the most advanced and efficient system possible to our customers, it is important that we never lose sight of the need to build a robust system that can operate even when conditions are not perfect. There will always be the possibility of show stopping exceptions, but whenever possible we must make sure that even if the escalator is not running, you can still get where you are going.

Next Gen Customer Communication Solution

Next Gen Customer Communication Solution

It is a well-known fact that it costs six to seven times more to get a new customer than to retain an existing one. Customer service plays a pivotal role in customer retention, and it depends completely on customer communication because, ultimately communication is what differentiates between a poor, mediocre and great customer service.

But how far has customer communication travelled? We still find desktops and telephones cluttered at a customer representative’s desk. So when a customer’s call comes in, the agent fidgets between the desktop and the telephone before attending the call. It is then followed by the popping up of all the available menu options on the agent’s screen irrespective of the reason behind the customer’s call. The agent does not even get to know if the customer has tried multiple times through IVR and Web Self Service before getting connected to the agent. All these gaps lead to just a poor or mediocre customer service, but never a great one.

So, what if things were different? A great customer service requires a great customer communication, which can only be attained by digital transformation. Wouldn’t it be great if the gaps in customer communication are bridged using a transformational technology like Pega? That is exactly what we have done. We have designed a solution that smoothens the whole customer communication process, has minimal hardware requirements and handles Omni-channel interactions between multiple devices over voice, video and text.

The Pega Customer Service application has proven to be hassle free and intuitive for agents as well as operation managers who manage the scripting. Our solution enables the application to extend the same features to configure and manage IVR. Here IVR is not integrated with CRM but IVR is built directly on CRM and configured within CRM. Both the agent interaction and IVR interaction can now be managed from a single application. The dynamic IVR incorporated in our solution understands the data in the CRM, and thus an agent gets the context of the customer’s problem along with the call request, and the agent’s screen too will only present the options relevant to the customer. This facilitates quick and correct responses from the agent to the customer.

Our customer service solution puts together both mobile and web applications to enable better communication between end-users and agents. We have enabled Browser-Mobile/Browser-Browser/Mobile-Mobile/Mobile-Browser calling in our solution using WebRTC, and this eliminates the need to have a traditional telephone system. Henceforth, the interactions need not be restricted to voice and text alone, as we have also enabled video calling in our solution. Let’s assume a customer who has difficulties in installing a hardware and requires assistance from an agent. In this case, a video communication will be helpful and time saving which is possible using our solution.

We have integrated Pega data and processes in a mobile application so that an agent always stays updated with the tasks assigned. It also enables customers to get in touch with an agent from anywhere with just a mobile device in hand. This solution benefits not only the customer service agents and end-users but also the field service representatives who are on the go. All that they require is a smartphone to connect with an expert on a video call, to display the problem at the customer’s end and receive expert advice over the call.

The Next Gen Customer Communication solution provides a 360-degree  view of the tasks assigned to a customer service agent/field service representative, along with the details of the customers and their respective issues. This eliminates the need to look into multiple systems to obtain detailed information on the customers.

While video calling from mobile applications, dynamic IVR and centralised load balancer for interactions across channels are the highlightable features of our solution, it should be noted that it also eliminates the need to invest heavily in the communications infrastructure. This way, it greatly reduces the overhead cost while preserving the features of a traditional phone system.

Where does the Serendebyte Pega ALM Integration Toolkit (PAT) Fit?

Where does the Serendebyte Pega ALM Integration Toolkit (PAT) Fit?

ALM, or Application Lifecycle Management solutions are a vital part of development projects. Properly used, the ALM solution provides clarity into a complex process for testers, developers, analysts and project managers, and can give project sponsors the high level dashboard type view they require to maintain visibility into a project’s health. There are many ALM solutions available, many with features specifically designed to work with specific methodologies. When considering an ALM solution for a Pega project there is one major drawback to third party ALM solutions, they are not made to leverage the native ALM functionalities built into Pega.

Pega PRPC, offers some truly revolutionary features, the ability to capture requirements, user stories/use cases and flows in the system during DCO sessions and then providing these gathered specifications to system architects in real time in the system they are working in is an extraordinarily powerful tool. With the addition of Pega’s Project Management Framework, Pega can provide a full scale ALM, the only drawback to this is that in most cases a customer already uses an ALM solution and has several projects outside of the scope of Pega.This is where the Serendebyte Pega ALM Integration Toolkit (PAT) comes in. Serendebyte began development of this tool based on needs expressed by both System and Business Architects. The ability to tie requirements and user stories stored in third party ALM tools directly to Pega gives the project team the visibility they require while still using the powerful tools provided by Pega PRPC.

PAT allows us to close the gap between project managers using existing ALM tools, business architects who often need to work in both existing ALM tools and Pega, and System Architects who are responsible for building a system and reporting status across ALM and Pega tools. With PAT it is possible to utilize multiple tools all in the way they are meant to be used, without forcing resources to duplicate work and effort. By giving System Architects and Business Architects a one stop shop for requirements and specifications within

Pega, we give a project team a truly unique  360-degree  view of tasks assigned and of the complete project. This is particularly powerful in distributed team models where Business Architects are not co-located with development teams and communication is not always immediate. When traditional ALM artifacts are separate from the Pega development environment it is very easy to miss key requirements and descriptions and end up reworking tasks that could have and should have been completed correctly the first time.

Serendebyte has seen a tremendous amount of interest in just the first release of the PAT, and we are very excited about some of the functionality we plan to add in future releases.

To learn more about PAT feel free to contact us.