Wynand Smit, CEO of INOVO
“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” - Steve Jobs
Channel integration and consolidation is a concept that requires examining all the silos in isolation as well as how they’ll work together. Your customer may not need to see the entire pizza to enjoy one slice, but the flavour of the entire pizza must work well as a whole for one slice to be palatable. Breaking down Customer Experience success should involve five aspects, or slices.
Simplified, cohesive engagement
CX, between the front and back office, has so many layers, touch points and potential pain points that it can be difficult to manage. Your customer may feel intimidated by too many touch points. Reducing the steps that it takes for a successful interaction to happen, whether that’s in sales or customer service, can only enhance the customer experience.
For a start, you should be aiming at a streamlined, simplified channel environment, not a complex one that has so many channels that your customer becomes confused by the range of choices and none of the channels are interconnected. They’ll wonder why voice interactions don’t offer the same levels of service as email interactions or chat, for example. This can result in multiple contacts being necessary, and more room for the customer to feel let down, since it may mean interacting with different departments on independently managed channels. It’s a confusing communication loop, for both the customer and the business. This could be a point of frustration for the customer, and the loss of data could inevitably hold the business back too.
Where’d our data go?
If you’re not storing your data for use in a centralised place, you can be guaranteed that you are leaking important information. Channelling data into one place means that you can access it for process and customer analytics, providing enhanced insights that will help you optimise processes, build advanced customer profiles, run more successful marketing campaigns, and boost operational efficiency.
Remember the consumer
In certain contexts, a marketplace shift to the use of digital devices will influence how you interact. In tourism as a sector, BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device can give you unfettered access to your customers while on the move. They’re researching, booking and then paying for trips and experiences. When they get to their destinations, they’re utilizing their devices to record their holidays, and, occasionally, using them to interact with brands. Keeping this in mind when providing opportunities for customer engagement is crucial to fostering a positive brand experience.
Only use what works
Just because Snapchat, Instagram and other social media channels are available, this is not to say that your business should set up profiles and be active on them. Knowing your target audience and your engagement goals are important, as well as what channels really provide an opportunity to enhance your product, service or support offering. Using only relevant channels is a great means of optimising ROI on channel implementation and avoiding mistakes such as introducing a chatbot or an app that has very little uptake. This does, however, take some research to ascertain which channels will be most used and most cost effective.
Let the customer feed you
Working from the customer experience backwards, feedback tools allow you to monitor how effective your communication channels are. You can hear the voice of the customer, respond, adapt and improve. Feedback also gives you insights into operational effectiveness and team performance. This, in turn, allows you to take corrective measures where necessary, such as introducing training or adjusting processes. When evaluating CX, it is also crucial to not just assess the business, but also to understand the role that humans play in the whole process.
All these “slices of pizza” are important on their own and as part of the whole; when examined together and addressed, your customer will have a more palatable, inherently positive experience.