Organisations are reaching their customers (inclusive of the prospective ones) via a multitude of communication channels, fuelled by technological advancement and trying to cater to the customers’ needs at lower costs than ever before. Though this premise, be it omni-channel or multi-channel, may seem to present a golden opportunity for businesses by transforming the customer experience and operations to become a fully digital business with overall satisfaction of the quality of service over all communication channels trending upwards, it is also the source of digital disruption.
If you are a unit head with P&L accountability, you would be able to relate to a situation where your marketing guy has persuaded you to allocate an extended budget as a part of company’s digital strategy and at the end of the meeting you would still be asking yourself – “I am not sure if I understand the ROI”. If this holds true for you, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one! The real deal for smart marketers and unit head is to be able to justify the digital investment as a core strategy with tangible return on investment instead of hiding behind the common phrase – it’s a long term investment for the digital savvy consumers.
Large scale adoption of digital technology by consumers have bombarded businesses with questions to decide on which mode (web, phone, social media, email, and in-person) to use combined with a choice of available platforms (mobile, web, offline) and whether all those are integrated or not to a centralised CRM, which receives the most queries, and how to monitor the key business metrics and so on and so forth.
The mushrooming of channels has created perplexity within organisations on how to design, align and implement their strategies for communication to and from customers, whether they are in their path-to-purchase or path-to-loyalty.
To elucidate, smart FAQs, self service channels and virtual agents can be used to tackle low value and low complexity customer queries as these are relatively lower cost channels and that positively impact cost per contact of the CS unit. According to Forrester’s Channel Management: Core To Your Customer Service Strategy (2015) Report, help/FAQ pages on a company's website, speech and mobile self-service channels, use of virtual agents has increased by at least 10 percentage points since 2012 as customers are seeking out time-saving and easier approaches to resolve their difficulties than waiting in queue for service agents to answer or go through the tedious IVR processes. However, on the other end, high complexity interactions and high value queries which demand personalised and more interactive communication should be addressed using proactive chat, call and co-browse, and even, in person visitation and consultation. Although, as per the same Forrester Report, phone interactions have remained constant at a 73% usage rate since the last three years, however, an investigation by CXAct (2015) found that consumers still prefer traditional lines (phone and in-person) of contacting support when they encounter problems during the usage and ownership stages of their relationships with companies and brands of products/services. Somewhere in between the ends, online community forums, virtual agents, email response and live chat are also being used when it comes to medium value and medium complexity inquiries as this bunch falls into the medium cost interaction channels.
Therefore, it is imperative for organisations to be able to choose the right channel that best suit their and their customers’ requirements due to the proliferation of channels for communication and business transactions.
There are many other factors that the CS unit can explore, for instance, digital customer segmentation, increase customer stickiness, et cetera which I shall discuss on my upcoming blogs.
Author: Debaleena Debnath
Debaleena is a digital media consultant @ speradigital.
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