We all know that customer experience transcends channels and devices. And while many brands over the years have invested in clicks to go with their bricks, many now have launched and grown in a digital world of only clicks.
So while for the former you can order a product online and pick it up or return it to store – where you can speak to real humans – online brands, by their nature, often lack the organisational infrastructure to offer 1:1 support.
And when they are supported by a contact centre, there are few that have the necessary skills to alter dramatically the nature of these enquiries. The experience delivered in one channel can affect another, for example a poor website experience can increase call volume, or poor positioning of contact information can result in frustrated callers.
So how do you truly understand the impact each enquiry can have on customer value and the effect on important metrics such as advocacy, persistency, repeat purchasing and cost to service? In other words, what science can you apply that will help you achieve improvements, such as the impressive 20 per cent reduction in cost per contact we’ve realised for one client in just a few short months?
First, measure and evaluate the nature of current enquiries. There are many and varied tools and data sources, from NPS to website data, where statistical analysis will help you identify customer segments with different demand behaviours. Then look for where those enquiries might be sourced from. Consider whether things like your search results are drawing the right crowd through a technical SEO audit. A user experience (UX) audit of your online presence and the devices customers use can also identify problems that become service issues. Review the whole customer
journey, for all channels, developing an understanding of processes and the role of each and identifying the good bits to preserve.
Often, subtle changes can reduce enquiries and allow customers to resolve issues themselves or, better still, not experience them in the first place. This could mean adding extra boxes or fields to a form, pre-filling it or changing the order and size of lists to improve conversion or reduce queries. Perhaps adding new channels such as web chat will allow you to provide a personal service more efficiently, while also suiting
the customer. It’s important to monitor, measure and review the effect of your changes on enquiries. Don’t forget, it’s not just about reducing the overall time spent dealing with them, but the opportunity it affords to divert effort from low or no value interactions to where most value can be added.
Once the basics are in place and the obvious improvements have been made, it is important to embark on a cycle of continuous improvement. Remember, what may seem like minor improvements can often deliver the best returns. However, sometimes your ideas need a clear business case. One technique we’ve employed is a 'model office', bringing together creative, analytical, technical and digital specialists to understand and deliver what customers want in a test environment to prove the case.
When we took this customer, rather than product, centric approach for Aviva, we saw an impressive 67 per cent increase in crosssales from ‘sales through service’.
Managing customer service and the extended brand experience across multiple channel and devices is challenging, especially when trying to achieve those all-important efficiency and effectiveness targets.
And while successful online brands strive to create the perfect online experience, there will always be the occasion when something doesn’t go to plan or someone requires that little extra support.
Getting the balance right between the different channels means the customer experience will be better for all. And this gives you the opportunity to deploy resources as effectively as possible to deliver the best outcome for both your customers and your business.
Chris Hancock, managing director contact, Jaywing
Tel: 0333 370 6500