2017 Trend 3: The Beginning of Channel Guidance

Posted by Parikshit (PK) Kalra, Senior Vice President of Solutions and Capabilities

Earlier this year, HGS released a whitepaper on this year’s top 10 trends in customer service. Over the next few months, we’ll dedicate a blog to each of these CX game changers. Here we dissect CX Trend No. 3, The Beginning of Channel Guidance, highlighting strategies designed to reduce the burden on the customer for an improved and frictionless CX to ultimately drive a higher CSAT and NPS score for your business.

For the past decade, new communication channels have been emerging from phone, to email, to chat, to social. Now mobile, messaging, and SMS have entered the scene. In 2016, customer service professionals continued to work hard to figure out how to best integrate and connect all of the disparate communication channels. Additionally, there is a need to find a solution to integrate all of the back-end data structure, to personalize and reduce effort along the customer journey.

2017 Trend 3: The Beginning of Channel Guidance

 

In 2017, companies are starting to switch from offering a wide array of channel options and letting customers choose their preferred channel, to strategically guiding customers in their online help centers to the best channel for resolution, depending on the reason for contact. In some complex cases, the best channel may be a phone call. In simpler cases, it may be text or a how-to video.
According to Matt Dixon, author of The Effortless Customer Experience, “Channel choice was an idea companies invented. Customers don’t want choice; they want channel guidance.” To Dixon’s point, today’s customers want customer service to help them get the right answer, fast. They don’t care if it’s a phone call, or live chat, as long as that phone call and chat are fast, effortless, and able to resolve their issue in one contact and with as few clicks as possible.

Channel Preference to Channel Guidance

The shift is from preference to guidance—today’s customers want help to get to channels that will solve their issues and provide them with the right answers, fast. Companies can build channels based on ease of use depending on the nature of the customer issue and guide customers to those channels for fast and easy resolution.

While guiding customers towards channels, the key focus point of companies will be to reduce customer effort. With wanting the right answers fast more than ever, customers also want to use the least amount of effort. Knowing their channel guidance paths, brands can ensure absolute capability of that channel in being able to solve the particular customer query.

In 2017, companies are starting to switch from offering a wide array of channel options and letting customers choose their preferred channel, to strategically guiding customers in their online help centers to the best channel for resolution, depending on the reason for contact. In some complex cases, the best channel may be a phone call. In simpler cases, it may be text or a how-to video. For customers today, it’s not the channel that’s important – getting their solution with minimal effort is.

Success in channel guidance depends, among other factors, on your understanding of the channel the customer would’ve chosen if given the chance. Using analytics to assess customer queries will help you determine the nature and complexity of the problems customers typically face and then focus on the channel that can most effectively support a solution. For example, with a product failure issue, with proper channel guidance, a customer could get routed to an auto chat that prompts them to enter a serial number, which then pushes videos, and manuals, specific to that product. If the issue still isn’t resolved, the customer could be prompted to send a photo or provide additional purchase info which would allow the company to initiate the process of sending a replacement.

HGS has employed our Smart Channel Selector to significant ROI for our clients. For a leading consumer electronics manufacturer, we designed and now manage a consumer self-service portal branded as “client” USA. Our multi-channel support services cover FAQs, Downloads, Auto Chat, Video, and Live Chat. This device-agnostic platform is designed with a mobile-enabled customer in mind, leveraging company knowledge and bridging channels of interaction with an emphasis on empowering self-service while seamlessly integrating agent assistance.

Comprising knowledge management, CRM, and analytics capabilities, our solution addresses this client’s customer queries at the earliest touchpoint, for optimized customer experience. HGS helped this client to achieve significant results in less than a year. As a real outcome, a 97% resolution rate was achieved and 92%–93% of customer contact traffic was managed by the self-service solution. The client  now has diverted contacts for 20,000 fewer calls/month. And average handle time (AHT) has been reduced to 477 seconds from 683 seconds. HGS reduced costs by nearly 70%, employing the self-service portal. This is just one of our proof points—showcasing how exceptional and optimized customer experience is getting your customers the right answer fast, prioritizing reduced customer effort

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