Want to be known for a good customer experience? Offer a single digital channel
Notions of what constitutes a good customer experience can vary from person to person and from industry to industry. But whatever the variables, in most cases it will often come down to speed and efficiency of service – how quickly (and how well) can issues get resolved, and how little effort can the customer make to get there?
If a brand can answer ‘very quickly’ and ‘with minimal effort’ to the two questions above, then broadly speaking the customer experience it is providing is probably of a pretty high standard. But what is the best way to go about this in 2016? In my opinion, the Single Digital Channel (SDC) should be the ultimate aim for any brand to address customer requirements effectively. It’s something that all brands will one day operate and should be getting the process started now, if they haven’t already done so.
New technologies / traditional service
Of course, different generations place different emphasis on the customer experience and have vastly different expectations about service. They generally want the same outcomes but set about achieving these in very different ways. Traditionalists may well still want a human touch, the chance to speak to a person to get an issue resolved. Yet younger generations – the Millennials – are far happier to use Chat, social media or indeed any channel that best suits their own requirements and situation.
Offering such omnichannel service has become something of a holy grail in the customer experience industry. It provides a seamless and consistent experience and allows a brand to address customer queries speedily, effectively and via the channel that the consumer wishes to deploy. When omnichannel is deployed properly, the channel is almost irrelevant – the customer will receive the same service levels irrespective of channel.
It’s easy as SDC
Ok, well perhaps easy is the wrong word, especially if a brand is stuck in the customer experience dark ages and is still focused on transactions or products, instead of the customer. But omnichannel is worth striving for. According to McKinsey, it boosts customer satisfaction by 33% while reducing contact center call volume, and generates savings of 25-30%. It can also provide a brand with data relating to a customer and their likely intent – incredibly powerful insight to have at your disposal.
This data will include a breakdown of what the customer has done previously, what they have bought, what issues they have had, how those issues were resolved and much much more – effectively knowing and understanding the person behind the click. This allows the frontline customer service staff to offer an infinitely better experience to that customer, resolving issues quicker and offering help at the right time and via the right channel.
Using SDC gives a customer service agent access to all media types from their desktop, with all contact interaction taken by customers - voice, email, chat, social media – waiting in one queue to be addressed by the right agent. The ‘right’ agent can mean the next available agent, one with a particular skill-set or area of expertise, or even one with a prior history with that customer.
SDC empowers the agent to offer a memorable experience to the customer. And demand for such services is only going to grow. We will one day find ourselves in a situation where SDC is used by almost every brand, and it is about time organisations started preparing themselves for that. SDC is the future but it is also feasible now.
Mike Hughes is MD at PeopleTECH and one of the UK’s foremost customer experience experts, having worked for and consulted companies such Thomas Cook, BskyB and France Telecom on how best to deliver a first-class experience to their customers.