Virtually everyone has received a ‘your delivery is on the way’ text. But these messages can do be much more. In this MEF Connects webinar, execs from UPS and Syniverse talk about how they are deploying CPaaS to transform the ‘delivery experience’ for millions of customers…

Delivery companies occupy an interesting position in the new digital economy. On the one hand, they are in the most ‘old school’ industry of all. They move physical things from one place to another.

But shipping is also one of the legacy sectors that stands to gain most from the digital revolution. As commerce moves online, the demand for logistics will keep growing.

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You can’t virtualise shipping. So, until we have matter transporters, we will need delivery companies.

That said, there is plenty that these businesses can do to digitise key aspects of their operations. Not least, how they communicate with package senders and recipients. Or, to put it another way, they can upgrade the ‘delivery experience’.

UPS is one of the giants of the logistics space. The company’s 125,000 drivers deliver 5.5 billion packages a year to 11.5 million customers.

This is clearly a huge and complex operation. And now, UPS is working on re-imagining its delivery experience. In short, it wants to give customers a more personalised service, to move from one-way alerts to conversations and to provide instant answers to questions such as:

  • Where is my package?
  • Has it shipped?
  • Is it in transit?
  • Have there been weather delays?
  • Can I change the delivery destination?

It’s easy to see how adding video, maps, carousels and images to delivery messages can radically improve what’s possible. Yag says: “We’re excited about this. It gives us to many ways to solve problems.”

To achieve this, UPS brought in specialist provider Syniverse, and moved its systems over to communications platform as a service (CPaaS).

CPaaS turns communications (voice, video, messaging etc) into software and hosts it on the cloud. It means that companies such as UPS can manage all their comms from a simple dashboard.

In the latest MEF Connects webinar ‘The Future of Messaging and Customer Experience’, we talked to executives at the two companies about this project. The two speakers were:

  • Bryan Yag, Global Retail and eCommerce Strategy Manager at UPS
  • Jeff Bak, Vice President Product Management at Syniverse

They addressed topics such as:

Why is CPaaS the key to digital transformation for ‘legacy’ companies?

According to Bak, CPaaS has been around a while, and was adopted first by digital natives such as Uber and some fintech companies. Legacy companies came later to the digital transformation party because they’re not coders at heart.  These bricks and mortar companies need support to understand what’s possible. They need partners that can help them digital transform what can be ageing proprietary business software.  Integrating APIs into these systems is a challenge that a more hands-on partner like Syniverse can help with.

But they have to do it. Bak says: “Digital native companies trained users to expect a great digital experience. They’ve raised the bar.”

Yag agrees. “We’ve focused on transactional messaging so far. We want to switch that to something much more personalised – and to give customers control of their delivery experience.”

How does improving the ‘delivery experience’ drive financial benefits?

For a company as large as UPS even the smallest improvement in performance can make a significant impact. When package recipients personalize their delivery experiences, UPS can capitalize on improved operational efficiencies and reduce environmental impact.

What is ‘orchestration’, and how can it bring even more CPaaS benefits?

Orchestration lets an enterprise weave communications APIs into value-added solutions so that it can handle a number of tasks intelligently at the same time. These tasks include validating a mobile number, checking for signs there may be a fraudulent user behind that number, and choosing the most appropriate channel depending on the outcome of that check.  With orchestration, the enterprise can rely on a partner like Syniverse to handle these complexities instead of programming them into their own applications.

Additionally, enterprises can leverage SaaS platforms to digitally transform their businesses. Specialist partners like Syniverse offer a library of turnkey connectors and integrations with these SaaS products. As a result, mobile engagement becomes ‘plug and play’.  In other words, enterprises can connect their newly created mobile engagement solution directly into their core business.

How will rich messaging enhance delivery comms?

It’s easy to see how adding video, maps, carousels and images to delivery messages can radically improve what’s possible. Yag says: “We’re excited about this. It gives us many ways to anticipate and solve problems.”

What impact will AI have on CPaaS?

Every customer has a preferred channel – or one that suits them best in the moment. What if the system could simply infer this? Syniverse is now working on artificial intelligence tech that will make this possible. “We want to say to clients: don’t worry, just send us your content and well send it down ideal channel,” says Bak. “It’s the holy grail.”

Tim Green

Features Editor, MEF Minute

  

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