What is the definition of a true omnichannel customer experience? The answer is consistency. Customer today are more powerful than ever before. They demand greater degree of personalization, wider choices in communication channel and quicker response time. However, in the absence of cross department or cross-channel communication, omnichannel channel customer experience can be dampened. This is mainly because of poorly integrated systems.
For example ,in order to achieve operational efficiency of the loan department of a bank, all back-end system that includes CRM, customer service software, marketing automation tools etc. must be carefully integrated. Only then banks will be able to offer consistent customer experience which is vital to sales and efficiency of the department.
Consider the following -
Customer A is an avid social media user and customer B does not have much presence on the platform. Both are customers of XYZ bank. Incidentally, both have a loan requirement at the same time. While customer A chooses to communicate the bank through its Facebook page, customer B decides to call the banks loan service department. Although both customers have chosen distinct channels of communication, they have a common expectation which is fast and personalized service.
Now, if the XYZ bank is backed by a sound and well integrated omnichannel customer experience solution, agents can get a quick overview of customer information. In this case information related to credit score, loan eligibility, personal customer information etc. Thanks to this, agents will be in a comfortable position to offer fast resolution to both customer A and B, resulting in positive customer experience (CX).
IT Decision Makers Must Brace Up
Given the customer trend, there is a growing need to transform contact centers into customer engagement hubs (CEH). For this, it is vital that IT decision makers of enterprises must prepare to undertake massive integration of applications and products from various vendors. As per a Gartner report - “by 2018, 60% of large organizations will design a CEH, yet only 20% will select the correct technologies to make it work.”
For smooth transition to omnichannel customer experience, it is therefore crucial to pay attention to the following -
# 1. Pick Up Signs Of Silos
Precursor to integration is identify all signs of silos. We know that a customer can arrive from anywhere - social media, call, text, in app message, chatbots etc. A good customer journey is one wherein he or she has a similar and consistent experience across these touchpoints. But sometimes there can be gaps. Here is a classic example. The below screenshot taken from the in app chat window of leading application. So, even when logged-in, the app demands name, phone and email address of the user before he or she can initiate chat.
The plausible reason for this is a possible non-integration of two separate applications. Such small yet significant gaps can have a negative impact of customer experience. Therefore an internal audit to identifying any such lapses is a must.
# 2 Initiate Cross Department Visibility
Here the role of technology is paramount. Cross department visibility is the most crucial step in ending siloed and flawed infrastructure to achieve improved business outcome. It is relevant that IT leaders adopt technology in a way that not only improves business processes, but also offers analytics and insights to measure and improve results.
# 3 Discover New Opportunities for Improvement
Once the existing structure is fixed, it is time to identify new avenues for improvement. After all, customer experience is a constant exercice. Brands are fighting for it, as it is going to be the sole differentiator between organizations. Therefore, organizations will have to be on toes at all times.
Cross department collaboration is the next big step. For example, the IT department will be have to work closely with customer facing departments and for inputs to further improve omnichannel experience. All digital innovation must be initiated in collaboration with cross functional teams and departments.
# 4 Picking the Right Technology
The backbone of a robust customer service department is the use of right Technology or Solution. Here are some key considerations in that respect -
- What is the right solution for customer portal ?
- Where should all customer interaction and record be saved?
- What is the best workflow management system?
- Which is the best Chatbot to handle all non-human interactions?
- What is the best unified desktop experience
- Which is the best platform for real-time reporting and analytics?
A clear answer to these questions is imperative for picking the right technology for handling day to day interactions at customer engagement centers.
Omnichannel customer experience is about access to complete interaction history across all touchpoints. In addition to that, the agent should be able to catch escalations and highlight open tickets from a single window. Only then the agents will be able to efficiently handle customer queries in a personalized and proactive way.
But before that, it is important to plan for the “big change”. There are two levels of consideration. First, mitigate the stress of transition by picking the right technology and vendor for the job. Second, prepare every department of the organization for this change.
For more on this, join Sachin Bhatia, Founder and CX evangelist from Ameyo at the 7th Edition of the BIG CIO Show at the Leela Mumbai on 14th & 15th March 2018 where he will speak about the “Top technology Challenges of Omnichannel Customer Experience (CX).”