Part-1 Are your self-servicing channels supplementing your Customer Index?

Customer at the center

Now it is the end of the year lot of conferences lot of year-end studies are available covering the last year, so I was doing my reading on multiple topics related to increasing customer index. At the same time how we can increase customer index. Some facts came to my notice which triggered me to write this article. With the COVID situation everywhere more emphasis was given to virtual interactions which began giving more attention to self-servicing channels. Last year IT leadership in most of the organizations was occupied adding such new channels to their platform. This was done for multiple reasons as the entire world was adjusting to new normal. The customer service providers were adjusting to virtual workspace, for them, this entire telephony experience from home is different as well as difficult for CSR. It also made it difficult to train Customer representatives. The extended benefit of federal employment even made it further difficult where people are not willing to turn up to work. This entire situation put a lot of stress on the existing customer service-providing industry as well as on agents also. This also caused to explore multiple self-servicing channels to reduce that stress on the live channel like the phone.

The common channels that industries add on top of their regular channels. It lot of times gives a multichannel experience. This causes multiple channels on multiple platforms as these are added in chronological order as needed. There is an intresting study on these channels by Gartner,

Since its inception, self-service has had the potential to handle the vast majority of live calls. Based on studies of more than 8,000 customer journeys, Gartner finds that 70% of customers are using self-service channels at some point in their resolution journey. Unfortunately, only 9% can fully resolve their issues via self-service channels. 

That number 9% is really shocking, so what could have possibly gone wrong? If you look further into customer journies of these 8000 customers, you will find that customers were switching from one channel to another channel. The majority of them ended up communicating to an agent on the live channel which was certainly not expected. This was a failure in multiple ways where there is spending on both the channels, customer frustration was another major cause of concern.

Sample Customer Journey

In the situation mentioned above, an online customer purchased an item on a multivendor marketplace site. The customer didn’t receive the email with order confirmation from the seller, Seller selling his items in multiple locations. The communication between the seller system & marketplace site is not real-time. It is a batch process that runs periodically & updates the order as well as inventory with confirmation in the orders section after the batch completion. The customer can see the transaction on his credit card account. The customer was not sure whether his order was placed or not. He tries first on the marketplace site order confirmation page but doesn’t see confirmation. Later he tried to chat on the chatbot, but after 5 minutes of interaction, a chatbot couldn’t confirm his order as it was looking at the exact location as a website. Finally, he tried to resolve it through a live channel where he went through the IVR channel, but again it couldn’t confirm the order as IVR looks into the same database as web & IVR. He was presented with an option to which department he would like to talk about by mistake out of his six IVR options. By mistake, he makes the selection for billing dept & gets connected to billing dept agent, he explains the entire situation. Still, the billing department confirms there is no issue with its payment, but the billing dept wants the customer to talk to the order department for confirmation. The customer gets routed to make IVR option selection place & this time he made appropriate selection to order department. The order department was aware of the issue & they did confirm the order as they could see through the system all pending transactions & had a way to manually trigger that confirmation before the periodic batch. The customer needs to move from channel to channel during this entire process. Still, none of the self-servicing channels can confirm the customer’s order & his whole order journey resolution ends in the live channel at the order department. This is pretty much experience when multiple systems are involved & a lot of bolt-on solutions are involved.

Why do you think would have happened?

It is mostly the channels that are newly introduced that were done as projects there was no fine-tuning done further to the customer response. This is the biggest problem when it comes to the addition of these channels. When any channels are added it needs to be constantly studied for the journey of the customer on that channel and based on learning. We need to address why it is causing customers to switch & what can be done to stay on the same channel with successful addressing customer problems.

It is a two-step process and before we move on to improving the individual channel we need to understand what is causing it to happen. For that, we need real-time analysis of data. Is it attainable with current data analysis tools or do we need something else which can provide that level of insight?

The real difficulty is channels are added over a stretch of time and executed at different levels in diverse infrastructures as well as using seldom mixed products. This caused disparate, disconnected infrastructures and huge data siloes.

You need to have centralized visibility in real-time across infrastructure & platforms. You need an integrated data architecture pattern which in it’s heart has principles that are adaptive, flexible as well as assure security. It can reach where the existing pattern doesn’t reach in real-time to a different platform like on-premises, public and private clouds, and edge and IoT devices, at the same it remains centrally governed.

I am sure there must be a lot of questions about how it can solved but stay tuned for Part 2 of this article till then Happy New Year.

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