The Customer Is Always on the Right Channel

Stop and think about the numerous ways you communicate. Just this week, I called for a vet appointment, texted my orthodontist about payments, messaged a colleague on LinkedIn, used web chat to get help with my taxes and used the Zöes Kitchen app to order dinner. And, as we all bounce across these different channels, it seems some channels simply work better for the task at hand.

The key to providing a great customer experience is making it consistent, timely and relevant. The challenge is doing it across multiple channels in a way that meets the goals of your customers and your business.

That leaves many companies in a predicament. If the customer is always on the right channel, does that mean your contact center needs to support all channels? And if so, does it become exponentially more difficult to deploy, integrate, train, manage, supervise and report — with each additional channel? From the customers’ perspective, you need to make each interaction easy, fast and relevant while keeping it consistent, personal and making sure it feels like a single journey.

Let’s break this down into five steps.

  1. Map

The first step is the most time intensive as you’ll need to map out and baseline where you’re at today across each channel you offer — voice, email, SMS, web chat, mobile apps, messaging apps and social channels. This includes an internal view of people, processes and technology, as well as a better understanding of your customers’ experiences and journeys as they are today.

Assign team members to fully engage with your organization as if they were a customer. Start by calling and interacting with the IVR; complete forms on the web; walk into your store or branch; and reach out via functionality on your mobile app.

For each interaction you’ll want to:

  • Measure the duration of tasks from start to completion, i.e., opening new account, fixing an issue via customer support, answering a question.
  • Note all gaps in the journey, for example, never received a call back; could fill out the form, but not submit it; agent couldn’t see the form when I called in, etc.
  • Then determine if each gap is due to people, process or technology.
  1. Imagine

Envision how adding new channels or expanding current functionality to new use cases could make steps in the customer journey easier, faster, more accessible and better overall. If the goal is to check the status of a claim, can your customer see it on the mobile app, email, call or send a text? If the goal is to open a new account, would web chat make it faster or help you reach more completions?

  1. Match

Now that you have a data-driven understanding of your customers’ ideal channels, match that with the use cases of why people contact you across sales, service and marketing. The key at this step is to start with your ideal end state, based on customer preferences.

For instance:

  • New customer applications could be found and completed:
    • On our website, including web chat to answer any questions
    • On our mobile app, including messaging or click-to-call to address any questions — and to show where data from the half-completed form pops to the agent
  • Customer support can be provided by:
    • IVR self-service with speech recognition
    • Web chat on our website
    • Messaging from our app
    • Voice call to an agent (7 AM to 10 PM ET)
  1. Compare

Compare this information to your company’s goals as well as which channels make the most sense from your perspective. For example, SMS might not be secure enough for certain types of transactions you handle.

Reminder: If you want to add channels, be sure you understand how this affects the agent from both a training and a usability standpoint. This is where a consolidated desktop that can handle all different channels in one view is highly valuable.

  1. Plan

Start small and intentional. Pick a channel and the use case(s) that best balance:

  • Time to value (fast or easy to install)
  • Level of training required
  • Level of cost
  • Impact to the customer journey
  • Other business benefits or goals

As you move through each of these steps, you’ll find that if the customer is always on the right channel, you’re there to join in the conversation. Learn more about omnichannel and customer engagement in this white paper. 

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