Offer Customers a Channel Choice – Why it’s worth making the effort!

11th Jul, 2016
Read time: 2 minutes

Organisations believe they understand their customers. In fact 81% of consumer brands say they have a holistic view of their customers (IBM) but only 22% of consumers feel their retailer understands them (IBM). In your dream contact centre, do transactions occur seamlessly across multichannel contacts?

Failure to match tasks to appropriate channels will impact your success

Routine tasks that require more than simple answers or need essential expert advice are far more effectively handled by an advisor. While this statement sounds obvious, results show that channel ‘shove’ can result in increased complaints or reduced first contact resolution. (Channel shove refers to moving customers to a new channel without an option to choose a previously used channel)

71% of contact centres say driving operational efficiency and cost savings are priorities for 2016. Supervisors need solutions to meet their productivity and cost savings targets.

Finding the best channel for each transaction may feel too complex and time consuming. But, your marketing team is likely to be hard at work on this task and will have good data to share with you.

Marketing’s focus is to enable you to:

  • Customise your products and services for each segment
  • Aim messaging at each particular group
  • Focus on your most profitable customers or company objectives.

Understanding channel preference by customer segment will enable you to take channel shift forward and successfully resolve the majority of contacts first time, enabling you to meet productivity and efficiency goals.

Your focus is on which demographics prefer which forms of communication rather than how to broadcast marketing messages to each group. The reality is that unless you tailor the transaction to the channel, success is hard to reach and channel shove may deliver unintended consequences.

Selling luxury holidays or wines will appeal to a different demographic of the one that buys “pay as you go” mobile phone contracts - and the channels used for transactions are typically different too!

Analyse your customer contact by segment. Consider:

  1. Segmenting your customers. Who do you sell your products and services to? What are their channel expectations? Research shows that digital contact preferences change by age group. (Dimension Data).
    • Generation and Baby Boomers = Telephone
    • Generation X = voice, email or SMS and web chat
    • Generation Y = non-voice channels
  2. The most effective channels for each type of service you offer
    • Are your transactions routine or complex?
    • Assess routine transactions, do they lead to up-sell/cross-sell opportunities or are they transactional?
      • Move transactional to the most appropriate self-service channel by demographics, which may be either web or voice self-service or even social media.
  3. What happens when it goes wrong…
    • What is the impact of repeat contact or complaints when specific channels fail? Where is that traffic channelled, and what is the inbound contact impact?
    • Understand if you could have prevented this by offering more appropriate post-transaction care to the customer.

Whatever the initial contact route, when the journey fails 50% of customers reach for the telephone, as “talking to a person is the only way to get a problem resolved”. And 42% will immediately ask for the supervisor (Netcall 2014) which accelerates the cost.

Understanding customers and the motivation for their channel use is complex. Set yourself up for success. Understand the channel need and match it to the transaction type for the highest customer satisfaction and lowest cost to serve. In the next blog we consider the costs to transact.

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