By Jeff Oskin, President and CEO, Jolt Consulting Group
Optimization of the customer experience carries with it a plethora of opportunities and challenges for an organization. One challenge is managing omni-channel communication with customers, which savvy service organizations leverage to manage customer conversations to reduce friction for their customers and outpace their competition. In fact, 51 percent of companies surveyed by Aberdeen use at least eight channels to interact with customers.
However, one challenge with an omni-channel approach to customer communication is the difficulty of consolidating all interactions into a single view on a customer-by-customer basis. Companies may store data gathered from the web in one tool, feedback from social media in another, and customer data in a third. With a lack of synergy between systems, the risk of delivering inconsistent and disjointed messaging to a customer increases. This is where best-in-class organizations integrate their systems and build a single view of customer insights.
Enhanced Customer Experience
By connecting the various communication channels within an organization, firms can improve customer experience and drive operational efficiency. There is a positive impact to customer loyalty and satisfaction rates since employees across the organization will have access to the same information and can communicate with customers utilizing consistent messaging.
By streamlining and integrating omni-channel systems, it’s also easier to extract metrics, enabling service leaders to quickly identify issues and make adjustments to meet company goals. Understanding customer satisfaction across each channel is important to ensure interactions are viewed positively from the perspective of the customer. If satisfaction wanes in any channel, organizations must remedy the issue; if other channels are not being utilized, they might be eliminated. Both of these insights are gleaned from aggregated analytics that provide visibility into the pros and cons of each individual channel.
Integration of omni-channels enables customer-facing employees to work more efficiently and effectively. By allowing employees to access the right type of information via systems integration when engaging with a customer, less of the employees’ time is spent searching for information, which leads to better customer interactions and a better financial impact for the company. In fact, best-in-class firms are 38 percent more likely to enable access to customer insights through a single screen.
Customers prefer to interact with companies in a method of their own choosing and companies must provide current and prospective customers with their preferred channels of interaction. Some top channels include email, phone, web, social media, text, live chat, mail/fax, and in-person.
Impact of Social Media
Let’s examine how social media — a channel that 51 percent of best-in-class organizations utilize and monitor — affects customer communication. By actively engaging through social media, including monitoring comments, organizations can quickly gain insight into their customers' preferences, obtain feedback on their experiences, make changes internally, and immediately respond to any missed customer expectations.
Connecting Customers with the Right Resource
Another way companies optimize interaction is by routing customers via entry channels to the appropriate personnel, and doing so the first time. This might be accomplished via an interactive voice response (IVR) system, live chat feature, or other business intelligence (BI) tools, which help match the customer with the resource that can best manage their needs. This process also leads to higher first-contact resolution rates and customer satisfaction.
With a half dozen or more channels implemented to interact with customers, a service organization must optimize and align interfaces to ensure that they make a great impression during every customer touchpoint. Using various channels is not enough by itself; best-in-class organizations strive to provide interactions across a diverse set of channels, integrate those channels, and expose consolidated information to employees in order to deliver consistent and personalized customer interactions. Leveraging powerful omni-channel platforms and integrating those platforms into your CRM and service management package are a fundamental building block to establishing the best-in-class infrastructure used by leading service organizations. The resulting business benefit is improved service revenue and profit, coupled with an elevated customer experience as a result of reduced friction in the service process.
Aberdeen Group, Omni-Channel Customer Care: How to Deliver Context-Driven Experiences, October 2017.