Customer Service Week has generated many articles with long lists of tasks that companies must do to improve their customer engagement. Micah Solomon gave advice in the Forbes articles, “24 Ways to Improve Customer Service” and “Two Dozen Opportunities to Improve Your Customer Service.” While all this advice is good, it is overwhelming and makes it hard for companies to figure out what they should do first.
If the customer service genies are listening this week, I have narrowed down the choices to one big wish—to give customers an omnichannel journey.
In industry language, that means offering a continuous journey across channels and devices where context is maintained. In “customer speak” that means an end to “starting over.” If I start to book my flight to Aruba on the airline’s website, where most people start, and have issues, I go to the phone. I don’t mind talking to the IVR—I just don’t want to start over. It is inexplicable to me as a consumer, that with all the data that companies collect on me, they can’t seem to pass that data to the other channels.
Digital transformation does not come easy for large enterprises with legacy, siloed infrastructure and complex organizations. Forrester’s Kate Leggett says in her blog, Go Digital or Die, that customers are increasingly using self-service channels (web, mobile, IVR) as the first point of contact and escalate harder questions to a live agent (chat, email, phone agent). But contact centers have been unable to deliver the seamless omnichannel journey that customers expect. According to Leggett, only 36% of contact centers have integrated channels to provide consistent experiences across touchpoints. What that means is that most of the time when customers cross channels, the journey breaks.
Companies may have tens to hundreds of projects going at one time all to improve the customer experience in some way. But companies need to stop working on all those projects that cannot possibly get done and worse of all, lead to very little, incremental value. Work on a few projects that solve the big customer problem.
Work only on the projects that:
- Integrate channels to maintain context and provide a consistent experience
- Train chat and voice agents to use analytics and tools to manage omnichannel journeys
So in honor of Customer Service Week, let’s all make one big wish for customer service and humankind. Give us all an omnichannel journey.
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