How to Direct Customers to the Right Service Channel?

multi-channel customer service

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In the age of multi-channel customer service, many businesses find delivering the same quality of customer satisfaction via each available customer service channel, quite challenging.

Let’s face it, it is quite impossible to deliver the level of customer satisfaction that a customer gets using an age old communication channel via a channel that has been launched yesterday.

Also, it is quite difficult for a business to use every communication channel that is being launched.  It takes a lot of research, time, and investment to run a fully functional customer service channel that only a small fraction of your customer base uses.  Also, doing the same for every communication channel will take the focus off the customer service aspect, as well as their main service offering.  Now you wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?

And so, you may want to come up with a customer service channel strategy for your business.  Study the channels most of your consumers prefer and optimize them for your customer service delivery.  And when you’re unsure about whether your customers are getting a best in class quality experience from each channel,take the initiative to direct them to the right customer channel.

Proactive intervention

While a company can offer multiple service delivery channels, it is also necessary to proactively intervene and identify the channel of choice for each transaction. It helps control costs and boost revenue. For example, a customer may prefer speaking to a customer service agent rather than interacting with the IVR system. But if the IVR can handle the situation better, then a company should proactively offer consumers the choice.

Designing the channel architecture

Often companies have a vague idea of things like transaction volumes and revenue from each service channels. When it comes to the cost of service, customer preference or perceived quality of each channel, most companies do not have a clear idea. To design a strong and profitable channel architecture, a business has to segment customers based on their preferred service channel, learn the current transaction mix of each channel and its cost per activity in each channel. Analyzing the average revenue realizations and customer loyalty level for each channel might also be a good idea.

Data analysis, at a granular level, is an essential step in creating channel architecture for a multi-channel service organization.  Cost, revenue and customer preference often play important roles in this.  Fusion believes, analyzing the data the right way may lead a business to find cross-sales opportunities, and ways to control the cost without affecting customer satisfaction levels.

Incentivize the right choice

One of the best ways to encourage customers to migrate from one channel to another is to incentivize the right choice. Incentives include a positive benefit (discounts or improved customer service) associated with the right channel and a negative effect (additional fees or late service) linked with the other channels for a particular transaction.  For example, a telecom company that wants its customers to use their IVR system will offer IVR option first when someone calls its customer care number and talking to a live agent will cost them money.

In some situations, companies may need to guide special groups of customer to special channels for the same transaction. For example, a credit card company may let its platinum level customers communicate directly with a customer service representative while all the other customers have to navigate through an IVR menu before they can speak to an agent.

Companies may also incentivize their staff when they help customers choose the right channel.

Change management

Successful channel migration is possible through a well planned “change management” strategy. There are three things to take into account to ensure that the channel migration is smooth:

  1. Timing it Right:

It is easier to introduce a new channel when the demand is strong or when your existing channel is overcrowded. Try to offer some continuity to your customers to help them migrate easily to the new channel. For example, if you used telesales and now want to move to chat; using the same persons for chat support for the initial week is a good idea.  Fusion points out that it will not only offer continuity but also will help you keep the cost in check. Fusion always cross-trains its agents to aid its clients when they introduce a new channel for service.

  1. Reducing the Risk of Failure:

Once the channel migration strategy is in place, a company needs to ensure that there are adequate provisions such as training and pilots to reduce the risk of failure. For example, if they are not satisfied with the new channel the customers may want the option to switch back to the old ones. Training the staff and customers will dramatically reduce the chance of failure.

  1. Communicating the Change:

If a company manages to create a buzz around a new channel highlighting its advantages, the customers are more likely to use it. This can be done either through media advertisement the existing service channel. For example, by having your email support service ask the customer, “Have you tried our chat for customer support? It is twice as fast.”  Client testimonials may also create a buzz.