Predicting CX success
The customer experience is best when it's up close and personal.
One doesn't need to be a prophet to see the opportunities that exist for enhanced channel communication, but common sense is crucial. It's a little more complex than "keeping it simple", but a similar principle applies: reduce channel noise by integrating services so more seamless operations can be achieved.
Customer experience (CX) is best when it's personal and up close: between the front- and back-office, a company may have so many layers that affect CX that the many touch points (and pain points) can create a wall of noise that's difficult to penetrate. If customers have to go through 50 touch points to get the service they're looking for, it becomes intimidating just dealing with the business. The fewer steps it takes to achieve successful interactions (sales, customer service), the more likely the company is to retain its customer base.
Instead of simplifying the channel environment, companies may make the mistake of making it more complex by adding channels to existing ones without integrating processes. This can result in mystified customers wondering why services offered over voice calls are not the same as ones offered over e-mail or chat, for example, leading to the customer having to contact the company multiple times, repeating requests to different departments. This loop of communication is confusing for the customer, and the company is also haemorrhaging vital data if its channels aren't integrated.
JoJo tank of data
Think of data as a resource that's as essential to communication channels as water is to human life. If it's not stored in one place, its uses are limited.
Not all customers are entirely digital.
Taking all data and storing it centrally means the company can then work more effectively with it. Accessing the data for process and customer analytics can provide far better insights that in turn lead to enhanced processes, optimised efficiency and the resultant CX. It's not a finite task; data can find ways of 'leaking', so for the sake of the customers, centralised data must be secure.
The marketplace has shifted to digital, which provides fantastic opportunities to reach customers right where they are. Take the tourism sector, for example: travellers are using their devices across their travel experiences, from researching to booking and then paying for trips and experiences. When they get to their destinations, they're utilising their devices to record their holidays, and occasionally, to interact with brands.
Bring your own device is becoming almost essential, but bear in mind this comes with a caveat: not all customers are entirely digital. Again, using the travel sector as an example, those travelling may opt to leave devices at home, lose devices or contact the company while on the go; can they still go old school and reach a company by voice calls to get what they need done? Access is important to bear in mind and improving this via the company's channels is a necessary task.
Everybody's doing it...
Some customers' needs are highly specialised; they won't necessarily require 12 channels to get their customers what they want. The costs of implementing a new channel may not see a return on investment that makes that channel worthwhile. Rather than have a chatbot just because it's a current trend, for example, why not look at working with an app that mirrors the company's Web site, only with increased interaction options? App development, depending on the complexity of the interface, can be costly, so extensive research should be done to forecast the potential uptake of a new channel that's being introduced into the communications portfolio.
The goal, or at least the ideal, of omni-channel, is useful in theory, but the reality most companies achieve is a multichannel environment with multiple moving parts. The flow between these is guided by processes that must be efficient, allowing for fewer pain points. Reducing pain points takes painstaking analysis, but it yields value in creating a more seamless channel environment.
Think like the customer
Feedback is a great tool for monitoring effectiveness in the channel environment. It allows the company to hear the voice of its customer and respond accordingly. It also gives the company insights into the operational capabilities and performance of its team, providing an opportunity to adapt processes and give training where necessary. It also ensures, in general, that CX isn't limited to mechanical, digital or technological processes, but allows for human development and understanding of the role humans play as the face of CX.
A complaint can lead to customer-driven service in the contact centre, if the company walks the complaint back through the processes that led to the dissatisfaction and takes steps to remove the pain points.
There are changes that can be made with relative ease to achieve enhanced CX. A little like that lightbulb that has been out for a year, all a company needs to do is pay attention to the problem and replace it, and the outcome is brighter. In the same sense, CX requires attention, but depending on the changes made, the company could be delivering enhanced services within a short space of time.
With over 10 years of operational and strategic experience in the South African contact centre industry, Wynand Smit's understanding of technology and its application to business has benefited multiple organisations across a variety of industries. As CEO of contact centre solutions provider INOVO, he is passionate about using the contact centre as a platform to drive positive change in a business.