Introducing Custom Tasks: Sometimes Actions Speak Louder Than Words
A couple of months ago, I was on a call with a customer who said “Regal is the best task management platform we’ve ever used.” Of course as a founder it’s always awesome to hear positive customer feedback, but what actually struck me about their statement was the term “task management platform.” As opposed to customer engagement tool or contact center software (CCaaS) or even CRM. We’ve never thought of ourselves as a task management platform, as our aim has always been driving more revenue from customer interactions across the customer lifecycle. So how did the customer come to think of us like that?
One of the first arguments my cofounder and I had 3 years ago when building the v1 of the Regal product was what to call the “units of work” Agents are presented with on the Regal Agent Desktop – Tasks or Conversations? (At the time, the only channels we supported were calls and SMS.)
- My take was semantic: Regal is not like other CCaaS which primarily handle inbound – in our case most conversations originate proactively based off of a customer action on a website, and in those cases when the Agent is placing an outbound call, it’s not always answered - it may result in a voicemail or a follow up text for example. Therefore, it’s not always a conversation.
- Alex’s take was: “tasks” feel too much like work (ugh) and “conversations” are the goal anyway, so let’s just call it that even if not every one of them actually results in a conversation. If you haven’t already guessed, I studied English in college while Alex studied Psychology.
At the time, I dismissed our conversation as one of those annoying arguments that co-founders have over copy that don’t really matter, so it fell to the bottom of my to do list and never happened. Tasks, it remained.
Introducing Custom Tasks
Fast forward to today, we're excited to announce the launch of Custom Tasks into General Availability. Managers can use the Custom Task node in Journeys to trigger a task for Agents to complete with custom instructions on what that task entails. A Custom Task is still meant to relate to a particular customer and in most cases be triggered by a customer-related action (though it can be triggered by a schedule); however, importantly it doesn’t require an Agent to have a customer conversation such as placing a call.
We built Custom Tasks because after my call with the customer who casually referred to us as a “task management platform,” we noticed two interesting trends in how many customers were broadening their use of Regal:
- They were putting non-customer facing teams into Regal such as Operations or Billing teams. They wouldn’t start with those teams. They’d start with Sales or Enrollment teams, next Retention, Support or Customer Care teams as expected, but then expand to include those other operational teams.
- They were triggering outbound call or SMS tasks in Regal where the call for example was never actually placed and the call task was canceled by the Agent with a reason of “Done”. When we dug deeper, we found the descriptions of these campaigns included things like “DON’T ACTUALLY CALL, DO X INSTEAD."
We realized that for many of our customers, in order to sell, serve, and retain their customers, there were many actions that needed to be taken across the customer lifecycle (not just conversations), and potentially even coordinated across multiple teams or different systems. Customers had figured out how to “hack” Regal, using our Journey Builder, Routing Rules, Agent Desktop and Reporting Dashboards to coordinate, execute and track all those actions alongside their calls, texts and emails. So we wanted to make that easier with Custom Tasks.
Use Cases for Custom Tasks
Since releasing Custom Tasks in Early Access, most of the use cases we’ve observed fall within 3 buckets:
1. Take One-off Action in an External System (i.e., not Regal):
- A home services company needs its Agents to update lead records in a partner portal (e.g., Lowes, Home Depot) that's not integrated with Regal and therefore can’t receive automated updates.
- A wealth management company wants its Agents to send a LinkedIn request to customers.
- A mortgage servicer reminds its Agents to upload documentation and execute signatures through Docusign.
2. Conduct Multi-Step Processes:
- A subscription eCommerce company gives its Agents instructions to verify latest pricing and update the record for a customer's selected plan before placing a call or sending a message.
- A health care company nudges its Member Experience team to execute internal work in a timely fashion (e.g., reach out to Care personnel, verify about care package).
- An IoT health monitoring company reminds its Clinicians to review a record after an alert from the patient's device has cleared; then only if necessary, reach out with a call.
3. Reinforce Process Compliance:
- An insurance company reminds its Agents to schedule a callback if a “Call back later” disposition was used after a call, but the Agent forgot to actually schedule the callback.
The most creative use of Custom Tasks we’ve seen is Periodic Affirmations. Talking to customers all day can be exhausting (especially if they’re GenZ ;-), so one education company is using Custom Tasks to send its Enrollment team periodic reminders throughout the day – “you’re doing a great job”, “stretch your legs”, and “we appreciate you” – before getting back on the phones with prospective students.
While we still don’t see ourselves as a general purpose task management platform (our north star remains customer conversations), we are excited by the use cases we’ve seen this new feature set unlock, and its potential to help our customers deliver better overall customer experiences – whether that’s connecting with a customer on channels we don’t currently cover or taking faster action in other systems so they can get back to the customer sooner – which is very much in line with our vision.
Learn more about how to set up and use Custom Tasks.
Reach out if you have more ideas for ways you’d like to see Regal expand to help you engage more of your customers and hit your revenue goals.