Speaking at Sabio’s recent Transforming Customer Contact event, CCMA UK’s Chief Executive Ann-Marie Stagg spoke about how most organisations were struggling to master the move towards omni-channel engagement.
She went on to describe the average customer journey as ‘lumpy’ at best, and posed the question: ‘why aren’t channel owners spending more time in workshops figuring out how to deliver a more consistent multi-channel service offering?’
Service providers are clearly finding it challenging to deal with the shift in power to consumers, as well as the explosion in digital interactions. At Sabio we’re constantly working with organisations as they work to address these issues. To help simplify the task, we’ve come up with our Digital Channels Checklist – a quick guide to six key factors that we believe can help drive successful channel adoption.
- Ensuring a joined up customer engagement strategy – All too often contact centre owners and their digital counterparts don’t have a truly joined-up strategy backed by shared KPIs. Decisions affecting the online journey don’t take account of the potential impact on the contact centre, or mobile apps are introduced that don’t take full advantage of embedded customer service options such as voice webchat, virtual agents and smart ‘contact us’ options. This invariably leads to unplanned and unnecessary customer demand levels into the contact centre. Organisations also need to provide agents with an integrated view of contact histories across all channels, particularly as customers expect this kind of visibility. A poor performance here will have a direct impact on customer frustration
- Applying the right governance to new channel initiatives – Organisations frequently trial new technology and channels because they’re easy to deploy and seem like a good idea. However these initiatives can often fail, as they’re not aligned to specific business goals. Key steps here include linking digital channel deployments such as chat and social with core WFM platforms – avoiding incorrect staffing problems as channels take-off quickly
- Managing demand levels effectively – Contact centres and digital owners need to work together to get a view on traffic on the website or mobile devices etc. and assess online drop off on particular pages such as the Contact Us page. This will give a fair indication of potential traffic levels and the likely impact on voice. Organisations also need to be smarter about how they address Grade of Service situations. Often, as soon as GOS is impacted on voice, agents are taken off digital – which of course leads to GOS issues on digital channels.
- Taking poor usability seriously – Because developers don’t necessarily understand the cost and service impact of broken user journeys, poor usability can have an impact across the whole organisation. Customers get particularly frustrated if they can’t complete the same transaction on different channels. If you offer a service on voice, you should endeavor to offer the same experience on chat. If that’s not possible, make sure that your web content effectively communicates this to customers so that likely outcomes are clear from the start
- Optimising customer interaction points – It’s no use playing at digital, organisations have to focus on optimising customer interaction points. Deploying Text or Speech Analytics can play a key role in identifying issues with online journeys, allowing you to implement change quickly and change messaging and engagement strategy accordingly. It’s also important to act on what customers are actually saying, as they provide the best barometer of where journeys are starting to break down
- Removing the fear of failure – It’s all too easy for organisations to get stuck in a mindset where they’re not prepared to consider new technologies or new channels because of perceived timescales or the potential impact on existing customer service levels. Here it’s worthwhile considering a ‘hot house’ approach – where they can encourage a trial fast/fail fast mentality so that they won’t get left behind