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Sending Outbound Webio Messaging Campaigns:
What You Should Know?

Paul Sweeney | Head of Product at Webio
For years, proactively engaging with customers was a time-consuming activity but now with the introduction of customer engagement platforms, preparing outbound campaigns is more efficient. Getting organised to send outbound messages seems like it should be a simple drag and drop action. It is just a big list, right? But it turns out that it is a bit more complicated.
 
The good news is that Webio conversational customer engagement platform takes care of the 'under the hood' intricacies involved in setting up customer messaging campaigns through workflows, capacity management, and other processes that keep you on the straight and narrow (by which we mean, keep errors and unintended consequences under control).

But what are the issues that can arise? Well, in this post I will give a fuller understanding of what kind of complications must be managed when preparing outbound campaigns and how to overcome them.

File Formats Set-Up

Getting customer numbers into an excel file or CSV file is the most common format for people in credit and collections. Naming columns so that the importer can understand what it is looking for is important, but it is also the place where you can import custom data that you can use later in the customer interaction process. This is a basic step, but it is the one that initially causes a little pain if the correct pre-planning hasn't taken place.

File Size and Combined Data

Some of our customers like to include customer segment descriptions, or product area definitions, that can be used to sort campaigns later. You may have one big file with information from different departments, with different product areas, and all of them associated with separate campaigns, each with different rules, conversational logic etc.
Using this approach is much more efficient where you know in advance what your daily campaign activity should be. , Our larger customers save an hour every day using this approach. Large files put strains on non-elastic processing power, so Webio has completed specific development to make campaign processing very elastic.

File Transfer

Files need to be either sent from your servers to the vendor's system, or the vendor's system must be able to reach into your platform and pick these files up. This is usually accomplished via something called SFTP (secure file transfer protocol).
 
Being able to set this up as either push or pull process is something that each company will have its own preferences for. This will require the availability of, or the establishment of, an SFTP server. Your IT department may also want to be able to specify a timeframe within which each transfer will occur for security purposes.
 
In some circumstances, an IT department may wish to trigger a batch file transfer process using an API call. Webio has seen this used very effectively where you are dealing with a big report like a daily data export, you might set up an API call that triggers that report to be generated and then sent to an SFTP server. It just would not be possible to achieve this at scale with a regular restful API call.
 
Some businesses require the ability to generate multiple ad hoc daily campaigns, and these require a manual "drag and drop" process. Getting data into the customer engagement hub is the absolute baseline in being able to run a sophisticated communications campaign. SFTP, API, and manual drag and drop are all required.

File Transfer and Data Checking

Most people working in operations are transferring many different files over the course of a day. We have a few small pieces of advice for you:

  • Always make sure that the correct file is uploaded, for the correct campaign. We all fear making a small mistake that turns out to have big implications. It is human nature.

  • It is important to make sure that a good naming convention is used. Names should mean something to those that must work with them.

  • Sometimes numbers or names are not exported in the format that the file process is expecting. This happens a lot with phone numbers.

  • If possible, the file transfer and importation process should have some number format checking, should be checking that all the data that is expected in the campaign is present in the file being uploaded, and of course, you want to be sure that this file has not been corrupted in some way.

Importation and API

When you have matured your campaign strategy, and know what you want to achieve, most clients need to move to a real-time API. With this, they can see the current balance amount in a customer's account, and they can look up the next payment due date for this loan repayment schedule.
 
Think about your own behaviour. Don't you tend to look up your balance before you draw money out of a cash machine? API data exchange is important if you are to achieve higher levels of automation. Webio has paid an extraordinary degree of attention to the specific needs of the credit and collections departments and companies with regard to the data, events, and processes that need to be connected and imported into your current and future environments.

Conclusion

Everybody is talking about the digital transformation of credit and collections processes. It's a massive trans-organisational effort with many moving parts. Once you have your data in Webio there is a lot we can do to help you with this automation but being able to get your data into the platform is often your first step.
 
There will be different importation requirements depending on your specific context. Our advice would be to pick a partner that facilitates all the different data import strategies you need over the lifetime of this digital transformation programme.
 

 

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Webio, The Conversational Middleware Company™ brings true AI driven customer conversations to the enterprise. Webio's channel agnostic conversational AI  platform uses the power of AI driven chatbots, machine learning and NLP to introduce a 'blended AI' approach to customer engagement that lets AI agents work alongside human agents to seamlessly engage with customers.

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