The customer journey isn't confined to digital. When it is easier than ever to connect digital and analogue, why don't more companies do it? The customer experience industry needs to make this happen!
It isn’t difficult to create joined up experiences. We use mobile apps for so many tasks, yet when we need to speak to someone, it is so hard! Whether we're servicing our bank accounts, paying utilities, tracking our mobile phone usage and purchasing goods and services, we have to leave the app and are forced to use the dreaded telephone system. As a result we usually have to start from scratch.
In one example, after spending 20 minutes troubleshooting a technical issue online, it took customers on average more than 4 minutes from picking up the phone to convey their story to the tech support agent. All because of the hoops they had to jump through to get telephone support! That’s 20% more time for customers and 20% more time and cost for the company than is necessary.
All that extra time and energy expended, but customers were no further forward!
Image credit: Joseph Barrientos - Unsplash
We’re all familiar with this story, it’s repeated time and again. As customers, we are increasingly frustrated with disjointed experiences. Plus, the poor call centre agents bear the brunt of that frustration and as a result are also frustrated. Everyone is on the back foot at this point. With the rapid commoditisation and increasing lack of differentiation in products, service is often the most important driver of customer loyalty - yet so many fail even before the first step.
Think about it. This is often the very time we as customers need the company, we need them to step up - way above and beyond only its products. It is the opportunity for the company to create a relationship beyond the initial purchase with us. If it's a struggle at this point, it colours the entire interaction. And, it is completely and utterly unnecessary.
Telephone calls are dumb. But even so, there are some simple hacks that can bring context to simple phone calls - hacks that have been around for 10+ years. Better still, communications can be easily embedded into apps and this is getting simpler all the time, from a user experience perspective it can be completely transparent. Yet, still it is incredibly rare to see these things done and even more rare to see them done well enough.
Consider for a moment the power that we carry around with us every day. Our mobile devices have equivalent computing power to NASA when they put man on the moon back in the 1970s. Our devices are always connected, and by simply talking to a virtual assistant such as Siri, we can order transportation or find the nearest store without even opening an app. With these devices we can be closer to friends who are thousands of miles away, we can teach and entertain our children, not to mention transfer thousands of pounds and buy things with the tap of a finger. Oh, and they make telephone calls too!
Digital technologies promise better engagement with customers. Yet, so often delivery of Digital initiatives is solely focussed on how to enable customers to self-serve, what happens after the digital journey is completely ignored. The digital folks often don’t understand comms and the comms people typically don’t get digital. In some respects, fair enough. Historically these are different domains. The operations for digital are separate, if they exist at all, whilst comms and contact centre operations are mired in decades of ‘this is how we do x’ and so-called best-practice. But, even with these barriers for entry, there are still are huge benefits to joining things up.
Your mobile device establishes your identity better than anything else, it has your precise location and can even assess you and your environment through audio and video. The results of all of this data are available to any app on the device. Think of what that could mean for reducing fraud, real-time settlement of insurance claims or remote clinical assessment, let alone something more mundane such as picking up with a customer services agent where we left off in self-service. By failing to embrace something as simple as point-of-need journeys from end-to-end, companies are failing the lifeblood of the company - their customers.
The game has changed, with the rulebook was torn up long ago. Together, we must demand joined up thinking from the companies and organisations we deal with.