Disparate Channels in Silos will Cripple Firms
Engagement and Experience are make-or-break digital phenomena in an era that has come to be described as the Age of the Customer.
This should offer greater clarity on what businesses need to do to stay clear of the ominous “Go digital or die” prognoses that luminaries from the world of technology have been making over the last couple of years.
Disparate channels in silos cripple firms by exposing them to high costs, a lack of agility and inefficient use of resources.
According to a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) report released by Forrester last week, a digital / Omnichannel solution will enable firms to lower their operating costs, improve employee satisfaction, increase sales and remain nimble to accommodate the changing demands of business and customers.
But just what does “Going Digital” mean? Simplistically, it may mean going beyond voice and having the necessary digital infrastructure in place for doing business online or through mobile Apps that are all the rage now.
Enabling business success goes much beyond that. It is about proactively engaging with the customer to deliver personalised services across multiple channels (email, chat, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, mobile Apps, video, etc.) without losing context. Put crisply, effective customer engagement leads to a rich, positive Customer Experience (CX).
IoT and Multiplying Contact Methods
Contact methods are surging even as the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming real. IoT marks Phase 3 of the evolution of the Internet. The communication revolution started with Fixed Internet, with the subsequent incarnation being the Mobile Internet, accelerating adoption of ecommerce and mcommerce.
Reports indicate that 25% of consumers use more than four channels to consume a service. A Dimension Data report takes this even further, suggesting that companies may soon have to contend with at least seven digital channels to interact with consumers.
Omnichannel Journeys and Disconnected Interactions
Digital-savvy consumers are clearly giving engagement a new dimension. When they are making Omnichannel journeys they are unlikely to condone disconnected interactions. They expect organisations to keep pace with their shifting digital preferences, so a strategy rooted in silos will impair the potential businesses can otherwise exploit to their advantage.
IoT, Big Data, the rise of the empowered customer, search for a great CX (Sales, Service and Support) platform and transitioning focus from a system of record to a system of engagement are some of the factors spurring the adoption of digital channels.
Fading Loyalties Will Lead to Churn
Firms that fail to keep pace with their customers’ digital leap will see the loyalty factor diminish, inevitably leading to churn in a crowded marketplace.
The answer lies in embracing a consumer-centric digital business to avert any unpleasant commercial fallout.
Dimension Data minces no words when it says: “Incorporate digital channels into your overall engagement strategy, or face extinction.” Its 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report substantiates the need for this approach by pointing out that “Digital contact (in the form of email, web chat, social media, and self-service channels) continues its explosive growth as a popular engagement method.”
Gain Competitive Edge by Transforming CX
Forrester strikes a similar note with the assertion that “a customer-obsessed enterprise focuses its strategy, energy, and budget on processes that enhance knowledge of and engagement with customers and prioritises these over maintaining traditional competitive barriers.”
Forrester’s blueprint amplifies it further by highlighting the following imperatives:
- Transform the customer experience to gain sustainable competitive advantage.
- Accelerate your digital business with new technology strategies that fuel business growth.
- Embrace the mobile mind shift by giving customers what they want, when they want it.
- Turn big data into business insights through innovative analytics.
These are factors that can crystallise when they enhance their infrastructure to be digital-ready through applications that centre around:
- Web Engagement
- Mobile Engagement
- Social Engagement
- Chat, Email, and SMS
- Co-browse, for personalised assistance to users to boost loyalty
- Callback, to help you deal with high abandonment rates
- Knowledge Management, to capture information and provide accurate answers to customers as quickly as possible across channels.
An integrated solution from a single vendor to equip you with all of the capabilities above will be ideal in an environment where the technology-shrewd customer is in control and impatient with suboptimal service.
G Joslin Vethakumar