Technology continues to evolve at an ever-increasing pace. Never before has technology—the architectures, networks, operating systems, applications, processes and even the people designing, developing, operating or using it—been such a driving force. Digital transformation is no longer a buzzword but a reality, and the race to deliver a perfect customer experience the first time has never been more important.
We’ve moved from single channel communication (typically voice), via multichannel (typically voice, email, fax, video, SMS etc), to omnichannel, which incorporates even more channels (voice, email, fax, video, SMS and web applications—webchat, chatbot etc) and expects seamless handoff between each. In this setting, every company needs to be ready for their customers’ preferred way of making contact.
Digital Transformation and Customers Contact Channels
Whilst this progress is positive, a recent event we held for key decision-makers from some of the UK’s leading institutions highlighted the impact digital transformation is having on their efforts to reach customers.
A globally recognised bank told us they had tried extending their opening hours to 10pm so that customers with 9-5 jobs, who did not want to use their mobile devices for banking, could still go to a branch for an in-person experience.
Another executive said she no longer used email as a means of communication, instead looking to social media and mobile messaging applications to access and send information instantaneously.
We also heard that the more traditional methods of updating customers, physical mail and email, were not effective for their younger customers; this demographic would typically respond to an ad on Facebook instead. Meanwhile, the ‘middle aged’ demographic tended to respond to ads in magazines and leaflets.
Attendees from traditional services like banking, whilst having an extensive customer base across many banking sectors, talked about the importance of facilitating contact and providing the same level of customer experience to all customers, regardless of how they engaged. They relayed that many of their customers don’t engage with mobile devices or any other form of digital technology to manage their banking needs. This applies typically to the older generation, who prefer to visit a bank or make contact by telephone. At the other end of the spectrum, another executive said social media alerts were the most effective way to promote special deals to their audience.
Looking to Omnichannel
To me, the question is not about what other media channels to invest in, but how all organisations across all verticals globally can continue to support their ever-growing and diverse customer range. There is no perfect answer of course, but every effort should be made to be ready for any customer, whenever and however they choose to make contact. Operations and networks need to offer stability, and interaction channels must be responsive.
The one thing that cannot change, and which is a priority for us, is that CX Assurance is becoming a necessity. It’s more important than ever to assure your customer journeys from end to end—whether discovering and documenting your CX in the design phase, ensuring systems perform under stress before roll-out, or monitoring to find issues in production. All media channels and choices—from voice to chatbots—need to be included. And these channels will continue to be as important as any new interaction channels that are introduced. You need to ensure that the experience offered on every channel works as you intend, and delivers the best customer experience possible.