December 3rd, 2012
The Omnichannel Approach: An Upgrade to Customer Relationship Management (Part 2)
By Andrew Kokes, Sitel As Published by Global Services
Integrating the Self Service Channel
A few short years ago, self-service typically meant one of two things - optimizing your voice IVR and developing a state-of-the-art web environment. Today, the fastest growing channels of self-service typically have either a mobile or social component - or both! So, in addition to managing IVR and the web, businesses should ensure that their self-service strategy works across a range of Android and Apple platforms and can integrate with a range of downloadable mobile applications. Another concern involves the rapid proliferation of social channels - definitely Twitter and Facebook, but also rapidly up-and-coming platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. While companies have traditionally looked to these social channels as a marketing opportunity, the reality is that a fundamental shift in how people communicate is taking place, and we have only scratched the surface on what is possible. In terms of enterprise businesses, we are seeing a rapid shift in focus away from monitoring and presence-building to how we might engage customers within these emerging channels as a legitimate means of interaction and problem resolution.
A properly constructed self-service approach starts with the customer in mind and positions itself in front of the customer's desired channels of choice. Today's preferred strategy typically starts by optimizing the online experience and incorporates a robust IVR for phone interactions. Ecommerce tools should be platform agnostic - meaning they work well on a range of rapidly evolving mobile devices, tablet computers or traditional PCs. The better and more consistent the self-service experience is across platforms and interaction channels, the more likely customers are to embrace self-service en masse. It's no wonder enterprise businesses are willing to invest heavily to deliver a robust self-service experience; many clients report that it's among their highest rated in customer satisfaction and lowest overall cost channels to deliver and maintain.
The one consistent challenge we see in self-service is companies struggling to "build the bridge" for customers who are attempting to self-serve but cannot finish the transaction they started - oftentimes, there is no clear escalation path for customers to escalate to a human-assisted transaction when the self-service experience proves inadequate for whatever reason.
This is easily solved. First, map the service experience to get a good idea of all probable scenarios where a customer may fail while attempting to self-serve. We then typically recommend the creation of a unified agent queue for text-based customer interaction. It may be through intelligent deployments of social response monitoring, escalation to proactive live chat, email support or other text-based methods of support interaction focused on enhancing customers attempting to self-serve. The idea is to offer people a seamless way to obtain support in their chosen channel, in as close to real time as possible, without having to explain their problem over and over again at every step in the escalation.
Click here for the original article: http://www.globalservicesmedia.com/global-services/analysis/122670/the-omnichannel-approach-an-upgrade-customer-relationship-management-part