For allowing your users to easily contact you when they want to, using a method they are used to.
What it does
A communications platform brings all the communications from your users into one portal, allowing your staff to manage and correspond more efficiently. Users can still contact you using their preferred method but staff save time and confusion jumping from one platform to another.
For example, users can contact you via email OR voicemail OR text OR Facebook Messenger OR What’s App etc. Staff log into one communications platform to action them all.
- Twilio Flex
- RingCentral Connect Platform
- Amazon Connect
Things to consider
Contact information and privacy
Handling and processing contact information requires careful planning. You should understand how the tool will manage this information. This includes how the data is kept accurate, safe and secure. You should also be able to communicate this to your users in simple language.
Quality of platform
Communications Platforms have seen a massive growth in recent years, commonly now called CPaaS, or Communications Platform as a Service. Make sure you chose a quality one by investigating it provides:
- Stable and reliable service, with round-the-clock connectivity
- Responsive support, available 24/7
- Guarantees your data will be safe and secure
- Robust fraud prevention strategy to limit exposure to cyber attacks
- Supports your current inbound communications methods (eg. Voicemail, SMS text, Messenger, etc). This is commonly now called APIs (i.e. application programming interfaces).
Try to think ahead when choosing your platform. Are you likely in future to want to be able to
- Link to your CRM (customer relationship management system)
- Allow users to switch seamlessly between channels during their conversation with you
- Are there extra channels you may want to add in future. If so, this is easier on modular platforms.
Ask potential suppliers questions about these areas, so you can make an informed decision.
Some platforms have a cost to them. It can be worth investigating what benefits are included in each package. Some packages includes help and advice about best practice. Some platforms offer assistance from a developer to set up your new system.
Charities using this tool
- Citizens Advice Manchester use Twilio Flex to manage voice + SMS text + Facebook Messenger + WhatsApp
- Carefree use Front to manage email + live chat + social media + voicemail
Many digital services will require a combination of more than one tool. As part of the Catalyst initiative service recipes are being developed– these practical guides describe how charities have used tools in combination to deliver digital services.
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