Providing retention winning Customer Success is about making customers see value in your product(s). The real product you are actually selling though is your company, as the value customers attribute encapsulates the entire experience. From the moment of first contact, to product education, account management, collaborative problem resolution and even ending an account with a company – all of this and more is what creates value.
Throughout this journey though customers will use multiple channels to engage and communicate with companies. Crossing channels, pausing communication and resuming at a later date is a very normal customer interaction journey.
So, do you have a way to track this communication and provide a seamless conversation for both you and the customer?
Multi-channel engagement is useless if your channels don’t talk to each other
Present day b2b companies provide many modes of engagement such as contact centers, IVR, account managers, email, chat and helpdesks. However a typical interaction journey for the customer within many companies is a frustrating process. For customers that need to have multiple interactions with a company for a problem or query, find themselves continually re-explaining their situation as they change channels.
So customers that have a problem or query that cannot be answered by self-service will move onto assisted service, only to have to start the whole process over again when calling a contact center or using a chat function. If the problem is thought to be resolved but later arises again, the customer will make contact again and may do so through a different channel. If so, the customer will once again have to re-explain themselves as information between different channels is not shared.
Shifting channels in this manner creates an experience that is disconnected and time consuming for both customer and company. This translates into customers that are less successful with your products, causing loyalty problems and high operating costs for companies. While the poor experience also means opportunities for upselling are weakened along with chances of creating customer advocates.
The Omni-channel Approach
What is needed is a customer interaction strategy that provides a seamless experience for the customer and is tailored to their specific needs. This is known as the omni-channel approach.
Creating an omni-channel experience for any customer interaction is comprised of three necessary factors:
Multimodal – this is the ability to support multiple channels within the one interaction. So while offering information or assistance in one channel the customer can be presented with information or assistance in another channel, all at the same time. For example, a customer on the phone with a customer service agent can simultaneously have information emailed or presented in a browser to understand all options available.
Interaction Workflow – link interactions such that no matter the channel a customer previously made contact through the information or outcome of those interactions is known. So while the factor above goes beyond customer expectations, creating an interaction workflow alleviates that annoying need for customers to continually re-explain themselves.
Management – Beyond a single problem or query, a customer’s interactive experience with a company should be monitored and tuned according to each customers needs. The longer the relationship the more this is achievable as companies learn more and more about their customer’s preferred means of interaction, and are able to create a customer journey that is personalized and context appropriate.
Don’t Forget: Quality over Quantity
While having multiple channels is needed, 84% in a recent study said they value ease over choice of channel. So while customers want multiple channels to interact with a company, what really matters is the effectiveness of channels. Whatever channel they choose, customers want to be able to resolve their problem or query in the easiest way possible. And if a channel is hindering this, then that is far more of an annoyance than not having a desired channel of communication.
So, if you find some channels are not able to get customers from point A to point B in the easiest way possible, don’t keep such channels just because it provides a wider range of channels. For while turning the multiple channels a company provides into an omni-channel experience is a must do, the quality of each channel is just as important as providing an unbroken interactive experience.