Today, customers follow discrete disconnected journeys that unsuccessfully span departments and company touchpoints like the website, mobile app, social sphere and contact center. These journeys pause along the way and resume when the customer is ready, taking place over time and across multiple touchpoints – and even different channels within the same touchpoints.
The challenge with these disconnected journeys is that to companies, they look random and are costly to serve. For customers, they are inefficient and often frustrating. Leading companies design optimal customer journeys that benefit both the customer and company. Journey design includes cross-touchpoint activity (moving from web to contact center, for example), the usage of channels within each touchpoint (multimodality and channel selection, for example) and the usage of proactive notifications (reminders and status updates) – all to reshape customer behavior and lower customer effort, while improving company efficiency.
Designing the experience is important but customer journey management is also critical to achieve the results. Journey management includes not only design, but also the orchestration of the designed journey and monitoring and tuning to further optimize it. Orchestration manages the steps before, during and after each interaction, and the transitions across interactions and touchpoints – while step by step persisting the customer experience along the way.
This allows for customers to start, pause, and resume their journeys without starting over. Orchestration maintains the persisted customer context, and uses this information as input to a business rules engine – providing a dynamic and personalized experience for each customer. Orchestration is used for self-service, no matter the touchpoint – routing omnichannel interactions, agent-assisted interaction flows, and notifications for a particular interaction, or for the next step in a journey.
Monitoring is used to observe and evaluate the journeys of individuals, customer segments or of all customers – providing insights of successful and unsuccessful multichannel customer journeys, bringing in outcome data from third-party systems to aid in the analysis. Tuning then takes those insights to iterate the current designed customer journey mapping for better results.
While best practice is to understand and design the end-to-end journey, sometimes impediments get in the way of this ideal approach. Companies can start by optimizing the interactions with one touchpoint, such as the contact center, or by addressing common cross-touchpoint scenarios such as web chat to contact center, or web to IVR. In these situations picking the highest volume interactions and optimizing them is a great start. These will likely include activity on the website escalating to IVR, or to the contact center either through chat or the phone.
Future of Multichannel Contact Centers and Customer Journey Management
The traditional contact center is rapidly evolving under the pressure of omnichannel transformation and the related rise in importance of customer experience. The next generation of customer engagement goes beyond single touchpoints and interactions that are handled by today’s contact center to include all the centers of customer engagement: websites, mobile apps, social, marketing, sales, front office and back office. The new approach to customer engagement engages customers consistently and personally across all touchpoints and channels throughout the customer lifecycle. This new system of engagement is an “always on”, perpetual engagement engine, where random journeys are redesigned, orchestrated, monitored and tuned to provide efficient and effective engagements for the company and satisfying and low effort engagements for the customers.
To achieve this style of engagement, companies must move beyond standard practices of customer interaction and create a center of customer engagement. In centers of customer engagement – the contact center, web, mobile, social, marketing, sales, front office and back office – are all combining into a single customer engagement hub. This hub spans multiple – and previously siloed – touchpoints, to manage the end-to-end multichannel customer journey.
Today’s modern company is proactive in engaging customers to move them along their lifecycle in a low-effort and supportive manner. Companies need to implement a new system of engagement to complement their existing systems of process management and record. The engagement must span touchpoints to provide a seamless consistent experience – which meets their expectations using the journey context and dynamic personalization for each and every customer.