Customers use a variety of channels to interact with organisations to purchase the goods and services they want. They expect their experience when dealing with a brand to be seamless and personalised to their needs. The biggest challenges brands face in delivering seamless omnichannel customer experiences are internal silos and disconnected customer journeys, according to a recent industry report by CXFocus.
The report Customers do not think in terms of channels – They expect a connected journey highlights how siloed approaches to managing channels are a major contributor to disconnected customer journeys that frustrate customers. It’s common to hear customers complaining about:
- Why do I have to remember my booking or confirmation number?
- Why don’t you already know what the last contact centre agent told me?
- Why can I do some transactions online, but not others?
- Why do I have to give you the same information I just entered into the IVR?
- Why can’t you help me here and now?
Jamie Romanin, Director, Webex Customer Experience Practice, Cisco, says, “Many organisations utilise a variety of channels, but each channel is run by a different department. Outreach to a customer might come via marketing on one channel, while inbound calls via voice are handled by a separate customer service team”.
“Most companies have been successful in giving customers plenty of options to communicate and interact via a variety of channels. What a lot of companies are failing to do is connect those channels as part of an end-to-end customer journey”.
A customer journey is the set of experiences that a customer goes through from the moment they start interacting with your brand. Whether the various touchpoints the customer encounters on that journey provide a seamless experience or a fractured one, depends on how well your organisation can identify and respond to customers at any given stage of the journey.
Phil Murphy, VP of Operations, TTEC, explains what a connected customer journey looks like, “A connected customer journey delivers streamlined, simple, and delightful experiences to customers. When a customer interacts with a brand through any channel of their choice, the brand responds to them in a customised and personalised way that feels right and shows an accurate understanding of their intents or needs”.
Brands that can deliver the best experiences for their customers from start to finish along a connected journey can expect to enhance customer satisfaction, improve sales and retention, reduce end-to-end service costs as well as strengthen employee satisfaction. Many organisations, however, struggle to consistently provide seamless and personalised experiences for their customers.
Aaron Fadelli, Senior Global Leader of Contact Centres for Flight Centre, says, “A connected customer journey ensures that all customer touchpoints and channels are considered – digital, telephony, face-to-face, along with self-service and knowledge base. Each of these interactions plays an important part of your CX (Customer Experience) but should not be treated in isolation. If deployed correctly, customers will not feel like they are dealing with departments or silos within a business”.
A successful omnichannel strategy is about offering personalised and consistent experiences that resonate with your customers across all digital and physical channels. Customers will jump from one channel to another and back again, as part of their journey. Customers become frustrated when there isn’t a seamless handoff from one channel to the next or when they feel like they are being forced to change channels.
The problems can stem from a lack of data and system integrations, breakdowns in process, misguided focus, and inattention to key aspects of the customer experience. To overcome these difficulties, the following areas, according to the report, need to be addressed:
- Lack of insight and understanding of the customer’s journey
- Unstructured and siloed data
- Lack of a customer-centric culture.
- Poor Employee Experience (EX).
- Legacy systems that manage different channels.
The ability to identify customers and connect with their preferences as well as their past history across multiple channels and touchpoints is a significant challenge for most organisations. Providing customers with a connected and frictionless experience requires a full understanding of the end-to-end customer journey. Where does it start, where does it end, and what happens along the way? What are the customers’ goals, needs, and pain points at each stage of that journey?
Recently, the pandemic accelerated the shift to digital channels, making customer journeys increasingly complex. As we move forward, companies that adapt to the changing needs and behaviour of customers will recover and grow more rapidly than competitors that don’t. It’s now more important than ever to provide customers with a connected journey to improve the experiences they have with your brand.
For more information you can download the report https://www.cxfocus.com.au/download-industry-report/