Channel shift projects are complex, and need you to consider business benefit and customer outcome. We continue to explore alternative decision frameworks for you to use on a 'pick and mix' basis to suit your circumstances. Perhaps you will use the four tools in your tool kit or base your decision by considering task complexity, cost and the need for reassurance?
However, any digital / multichannel strategy that you recommend will only be successful if it takes into account the 'metrics that matter for your organisation'. Providing solutions that run against your organisation's strategic initiatives or goals should be carefully deliberated and supported with a compelling business case.
Every transaction has a handling cost, including trained staff to deliver a quality service while using the appropriate technology to handle queries. Customers invest time and effort into reaching their desired goal. A review of multichannel practice, research and experience over the past 18 months highlights that there are several implications other than handling a transaction, when more communication channels are opened. When organisations open a new channel, the channel has shown it creates its own demand, often significantly increasing the need for team responses.
Ensuring 'metrics that matter' are taken into account
When building the cost to serve component it is tempting to reduce the calculation to a simple cost per transaction based on 'cost per agent hour' and 'average handling time' or technology costs.
Repeat contact on failed transactions impacts productivity and poor process design leads to manual fixes that negate the channel shift efforts. Netcall research showed only 42% of contact centres asked their customers if the query was resolved, 19% do not measure or know how much of their demand is repeat contact is due to the failure of prior support.
First contact resolution
Customers have low expectations of gaining an answer the first time, only 5% say that this is their experience. 95% say resolution not always achieved after first contact and the implications are that irrespective of the initial contact channel, 50% will then phone the contact centre and 42% will ask for the supervisor. Before implementing any change programme, managers are advised to review essential key performance metrics such as first contact resolution, customer satisfaction and customer effort for each transaction type.
Understanding the digital cost impact
Research together with the Public Sector Customer Service Forum confirmed that more than 75% of contact centres understand cost of voice transactions, however less than 35% understand the costs for email, web chat and social. While the majority measure customer satisfaction (CSat) on the voice channel, less than 40% measure customer satisfaction on other channels.
Digital strategies may need to change
Organisations that have opened many channels prior to 2015, have begun to limit or are exiting from channels where their opening of the 'the tap' resulted in a significant increase in demand and costs without diminishing overall demand. Evaluating costs means that they choose to withhold service on a temporary or permanent basis, for example, only offer web chat on certain pages and only after a calculated delay based on average time on page / or for e-form completion.
Meet your most important key performance indicators (KPIs)
Ensuring that your plans support and enhance the department's KPIs will refocus your digital planning and ensure that tactics are built in-line with business goals. This is helpful when you need to make difficult decisions and tailor transaction handling to deliver the desired corporate outcomes.
In the next blog, we consider the role and impact of a business case.
Refresh your thinking on the four tools in your tool kit in the article 'Design a digital and multichannel strategy by evaluating transactions and choosing channels' or consider 'transaction cost versus a customer's need for reassurance'