Embedding service at every stage of the customer journey by Stuart Dorman, Head of Apps, Sabio
We know onlineservice and dedicated mobile apps can deliver real benefits in terms of reduced customer effort and more cost-effective interactions.
However it’s essential to have clearly thought-through the customer journey to ensure user support is available should things go wrong.
Poorly designed self-service processes not only frustrate customers, but can also easily result in thousands of unnecessary calls into the contact centre – with significant costs.
That’s why it’s important to provide customers with true embedded service support at every stage of their digital journeys. Organisations need to take an integrated Digital Customer Service perspective here, intelligently deploying context-sensitive embedded online service applications that can play a key role in resolving queries and enabling customers to interact with significantly reduced effort.
This may be as straightforward as embedding options such as ‘click-to-call’or web chat on all web pages or on each new app screen. This can provide powerful real time analysis of where exactly the digital engagement strategy is falling down, effectively providing a powerful dataset for ongoing customer journey optimisation.
However, organisations will have to go further if they’re to address the fact that their customers are increasingly engaging in extended sessions. Numerous studies show that anywhere between 50% – 70% of customersgo online before interactingwith an organisation’s contact centre. Was this because they were researching, or is it because their self-service engagement broke down?
That’s why Digital Customer Service teams need to be designing for more extended engagement. So, for example, a web-based digital self-service interaction wouldn’t need to end if the user couldn’t progress further. Instead it could be escalated to chat before potentially adding voice or video to complete an individual session – with each part of the extended interaction supported by relevant customer context.
Getting this right will be essential as the potential number of Digital Front Doors to your service operation multiply. Knowing where the customer is arriving from is critical – have they been on your website, on your Facebook page, responding to a Twitter post, acting on email? This will become even moreimportant, particularly with technologies such as WebRTC opening up the possibility of truly intelligent embedded service provision. With audio and video communication built directly into the web browser, itbecomeseasier to support ‘click-to-call’ or ‘click-to-video’ chat directly from apps, as well as more advanced features such as live product demos or remote video support.
Customer Engagement teams also need to think about the different ways that customers are finding their business. Look for a retailer on Google today and you’ll immediately get details of the nearest store, opening times and contact details, as well as ‘click-to-call’accessibility via Google Hangouts. How are you currently influencing the information that appears here? And are you ready for these interactions?
Similarly, with organisations recognising that customers are much more likely to be on Facebook rather than browsing their own web pages, we’ll see a continued shift to businesses establishing a presence on the Facebook Messenger Platform. Here customers can now communicate with businesses in the same way they interact with their friends, and if they engage via Messenger their whole history with that company will stay in the message thread. According to Facebook: “you never lose context – it removes all the friction.”
With platforms such as Facebook Messenger already supporting voice, organisations need to be ready to support those customers who want to engage directly from their social messaging environment. And with analysts such as Activate suggesting that there will be 1.1 billion new users of mobile messaging platforms such as Messenger and Snapchat by 2018, messaging is clearly set to play a key role in customer engagement.Whether it’s a messaging environment, virtual assistants such as Siri or Facebook M or other emerging platforms, the reality is that organisations will need to adjust to other entities engaging customers on their behalf.
Embedding service into what could be an increasingly granular, yet still federated, customer journey will require a very different mindset. Digital Customer Service teams will need to think hard about breaking their service tasks and components down into distinct APIs that, in turn, will become exposed to other external service resources. At the same time, customer service specialists will become much more expert at session design – creating the key service delivery components that will be critical to success in this evolving Digital Customer Service world.
Stuart Dorman is Head of Apps at contact centre consultancy Sabio