Innovation: Thinking Beyond The Idea
Just because something is referred to as innovation doesn’t mean it actually is in practice or usefulness.
When thrown around as a buzzword, the concept of what might be innovation can become watered down — and things that could actually qualify as it, risk becoming discarded with a roll of the eye.
So how do companies tailor their organizations around innovation as a value, and actually have it mean something?
Mainly, what separates an idea from actual innovation is whether there is an inherent usefulness.
Making a button blue is an idea. Understanding human activity and creating a system for increasing engagement is innovation.
In my experience, I have seen products and companies come and go.
Evaluating whether an idea is a good one depends on the jobs to be done by the user and the objectives of the company that purchases the product.
When I think of innovation I frequently think of Apple. My first iPod was a far cry from the earlier USB song players of the day. One is a great idea. The other is an innovative approach that changed the way we listened to music.
Another example of innovation in the B2B space was the way HubSpot approached content marketing processes and met market needs in a new way. Innovation doesn’t stop because a market has shifted, or because a need has been met.
I’m driven everyday to make sure that we are focused on creating more value for our customers. Like no other time in my career, the pandemic provided an enormous amount of clarity with our client’s objectives. As Plato once wrote, “necessity is the mother of invention.”
True innovation is a relentless pursuit of excellence that never stops.
As the second installment of a three-part series on the concepts we see as key to bringing customer interactions into a true customer engagement platform (CEP) landscape — beyond what we’ve seen with contact centers as a service (CCaaS) to-date — this post will focus on innovation as a driving force to establishing a dynamic and healthy customer journey.
Check out our first installment on trust, which lays the foundation for innovation to thrive on.
More Than a Blue Button
For me, and admittedly my competitive nature, I view innovation as a marathon – who can reach the next milepost while also being the most strategic along the way.
Innovation is a driving function, keeping our heads up and eyes locked on what’s ahead.
So how does innovation come to be? At its core, it begins with an idea: big or small.
Through a cycle or two of iteration, development, testing and refinement, you can achieve innovation status.
How is it done successfully? Well, anyone can innovate, however, finding the secret ingredient that separates ideas from innovation has proven to be the true test.
We are always asking ourselves how we can empower customers to achieve more in less time — giving them back the minutes and hours to do what they love most: provide an incredible human connection.
With LinkLive, it’s our job to make sure that Agents and Customers are set up for successful communication sessions no matter the channel, the device, the media required, or if there’s a Bot or Intelligent Digital Assistant involved with or without a human.
Innovation for the customer experience differs from simply improving the customer experience. The process requires futureproofing, or staying two steps ahead to anticipate customer needs in a changing world.
In the face of COVID-19, we saw companies challenged with one of the toughest obstacles to date: how to innovate for the now and forecast what impact such unprecedented times will change the way we live.
According to a McKinsey report, 84% of business executives agree that innovation is critical to their growth. But while innovation has been a hot topic for the C-suite since I can remember, traditional practices of innovating products or services are not enough.
Feeling the impact from the global pandemic, that influx has grown as even some of the most stable offerings were found spinning on the ice with ideas and unable to gain traction.
With the rise of on-demand and self-service options, for instance, customer needs for personalization and immediate communication rose and many companies have gone all-in on chatbot innovation and investment. Same with AI-infused experience.
Innovating Now, Evaluating for the Future
In every great playbook, you’ll find careful thought and evaluation integrated into each page. When it comes to innovation in the customer engagement space, evaluating whether an idea is a good one is dependent on the needs of the user and the company that purchases the product. Here are a few I see as vital:
- Overcoming Staffing Issues While Driving the Highest Quality Experiences: A forward-looking customer engagement platform (CEP) provider doubles down on AI to offer the best possible joint employee and customer engagement continuously over time. In many ways, AI serves as the glue for smooth and rapid transfers in one solution. As a result, AI not only addresses staffing shortages and increased digital demand, but it also enhances customer expectations known to put pressure on customer facing teams, serving efficiency and relief.
- Creating Trust and Value with Cautious, Apprehensive Customers: The answer is rooted in trust. Trust is gained in two ways. The first is through experiences that build trust. Being there, predicting needs, creating memorable experiences, and showing you care are just a few of the many solutions. Second, trust is generated by keeping critical information secure and impervious to breaches.
- Retaining Customer Relationships: There is a true need for human connection. To achieve more together, the solution for strong, impactful customer engagement goes beyond transactions and endpoints, exploring the customer journey. Through innovation in experimental digital architecture, organizations must grow to meet and engage with customers where they are.
Innovation is in our DNA
At LinkLive, we run on innovation.
We brought the first cloud contact center to market and have followed with many industry firsts.
Innovation, for us, isn’t for the sake of innovation, but with the goals and needs of our customers in mind.
To create LinkLive as the most trusted and secure customer engagement platform in the market, with over 750 customers across the U.S. to prove it, we had to innovate — and never stop.
We are committed to continuing to deliver trusted, modern customer experiences and engagement for secure, regulated industries that require deep vertical expertise.
If you are interested in learning more about how LinkLive’s innovation can benefit your company and customers, take a tour and let us show you what is possible for customer engagement in 2022 and beyond.