To move customer interactions beyond current limitations and optimize the customer experience, businesses must create digital synchronicity across the entire organization. This can only be achieved with a single, coherent digital customer experience strategy that enables multichannel interactions using a variety of mediums. And, that strategy must also measure performance to improve future connections.
With an effective strategy, customers, employees, and the business as a whole can expect a variety of benefits:
- Customers are empowered with flexible communications options to use as they see fit
- Customer patience is preserved through intelligent, integrated, automated self-service options available 24/7
- The needs of VIP customers are satisfied through skills-based or preferred agent routing
- Customers are served through informed interactions that fully exploit all institutional knowledge to address challenging queries rapidly
- Employees get immediate and long-term gains in efficiency from breaking down silos, eliminating duplication of effort, and improving productivity
- Employees get more job satisfaction and are less likely to churn from unlocking collective knowledge
Business as a Whole
- Leverage digital customer habits and the appetite or new communications channels, while benefiting from significantly reduced cost per interaction
- Improve economies of scale as agents multitask and deal with multiple communications at once
- Enjoy increased competitive advantage through the delivery of excellent service levels
- Stay ahead of the curve on future customer communications preferences, such as continually advancing mobile apps
- Get a return on investment with a real-time dashboard of comprehensive, accurate customer experience metrics and key performance indicators
- Achieve data compliance on a cost-effective, predictable, and measurable basis, consistent across all communications channels
- Embrace change with a flexible and future-proof customer engagement platform that is ready to address the evolution of customer preferences
Ultimately, all these benefits will have an impact on both revenues and costs. From a revenue perspective, an effective strategy will create more satisfied customers, which will lead to repeat business, positive referrals, and increased loyalty. It will also enable a greater conversion of prospective leads into new customers. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that top performers in customer experience achieve more than double the revenue of laggards.
On the cost side, a digital customer experience will generate significantly greater efficiencies than maintaining a siloed approach. Employees will be provided with the proper tools to respond to all queries in a consistent and professional manner, irrespective of the medium the customer is using. They will have the ability to escalate queries to internal experts and allow supervisors to review responses before being sent. This will enhance productivity, improve staff retention, and eliminate duplicated effort.
Turning theory into practice
This approach has been applied successfully by many businesses. For example, Red Funnel Ferries in the UK recently transitioned to a multichannel contact center to improve its customer service operations. The company operates 30,000 sailings annually between the UK mainland and the Isle of Wight. When its legacy voice system reached its end of life, Red Funnel Ferries opted for a new contact center system that enables it to interact with customers via multiple channels, including social media.
Red Funnel’s contact center handles inbound customer service, support, and sales via voice, email, and social media interactions. To date:
- Customer complaints decreased by 16%
- Customer compliments increased by 116%
Red Funnel’s contact center now handles inbound customer service, support, and sales across a wide range of interactions that include enquiries, bookings, holiday packages, and more.
Going beyond voice-only interactions, the contact center also routes and queues email enquiries as well as social media interactions. With its new system, Red Funnel delivers proactive social customer service via Twitter on the company’s @redfunnel and @rf_travel news feeds. To “promote a customer-orientated support system,” contact center agents handle all interactions — regardless of channel — and are fully trained and able to handle a wide spectrum of enquiries, including phone calls, email, and social media. This makes the agents more productive and ensures customers get the interactions they need via the medium most comfortable for them.
For example, many Red Funnel customers have taken to social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook to post questions and comments about the ferry service. Red Funnel agents now actively monitor the social media streams and respond to customers using these channels.
Chris Elliott, Red Funnel’s Contact Center Manager, notes that:
“We used to get inundated with enquiries when we experienced delays and cancellations due to weather conditions. Our contact center has up-to-date information on all of our vessels and can proactively publish when there are delays or cancellations to notify our customers. A customer may post a tweet asking why the service is delayed, and get a response from the contact center team that provides information on the current service status in real time.
"We can be more proactive and notify customers of issues, which cuts down on the number of calls we have to handle.” —Chris Elliott, Contact Center Manager, Red Funnel