In the Chat’s Innovative Social and SMS Solutions
Mar 02, 2015
I had an interesting conversation the other day with John Huehn, founder and CEO of In the Chat, a customer contact solutions company based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada’s tech hub.
John’s company’s flagship product is ITC Enterprise, which has two very innovative solutions that meet key customer contact needs:
- ITC Enterprise Social Media. This application listens for, gathers, analyzes, and intelligently routes social media comments and posts to the right agents. Agents respond to customers with general answers, or with invitations to chat, email, call (with embedded call links), or SMS/text. A case management feature allows issues to be tracked and updated independent of channel. It also enables companies to build and manage customer social profiles, and to see if there are matches with named customer profiles built from interactions in other channels.
- ITC Text Messaging. This platform smartly routes SMS/texts to the right agents. It utilizes efficient “short code” SMS which companies publish on their Web sites, in mobile apps, and which they can post (to Facebook) or Tweet. In the Chat has built secure web applications through which agents and customers can exchange confidential data. Agents can also send links to the apps in the texts. SMS provides a level of personalization, confidentiality, and security that falls between social media, chat, and email. For example, (and coincidentally) TD Bank Group became the first major Canadian bank to offer SMS customer service.
(I’m not surprised with TD Bank’s launching the SMS service. TD has long had a reputation for great, personable, and leading edge customer care. My wife and I are TD Bank customers in both countries. Other banks would do well to emulate TD Bank.)
In both solutions In the Chat is making SMS and social function much like “traditional” contact center IVR/voice, with the goal of improving the Customer Experience in these channels. These applications use text mining and analytics software for routing and they also connect to CRM applications.
There is an excellent reason for In the Chat’s strong Customer Experience focus. The company’s roots are in the contact center industry. After graduating from Queen’s University, in 1997, John started out as an agent for Rogers Communications, which is one of Canada’s largest (and famous) multimedia firms. He worked himself up to become vice president, client management before leaving in 2009 to start In the Chat in early 2010.
For too long social and SMS in particular have been underutilized as channels. In the Chat has the potential to stir up the industry with its solutions, enabled by its deep understanding on how customers interact with companies through their contact centers.
Brendan Read is Senior Industry Analyst with over 25 years’ experience covering business, communications, staffing, and technology. He has worked in, prepared reports, and blogged on a wide range of topics including customer contact, CX, CRM, IoT, social media, supply chain, and BC/DR. He also has backgrounds in construction, manufacturing, materials, resource extraction, site selection, and transportation. He examines the broad economic, environmental, innovation, political, and social mega trends, and their impacts on businesses, markets, and society.