As organisations aim to leverage digital channels to transform their business, one of the biggest challenges they wrestle with is that of driving customer adoption to new channels and features.
The assumption that “if you build it, they will come” is flawed; companies must successfully marry digital capability with effective channel migration strategies to unlock the business value of their investment.
Creating an Intentional Experience
When it comes to doing this, I’m a big believer in the principle of what I call an ‘Intentional Experience’. This is a strategy whereby an organisation will intentionally drive its customers to complete specific transactions in particular channels (in direct contrast to the trend for ‘do anything, anywhere’ omni-channel strategies).
One key benefit of an intentional strategy is greater efficiency – always desirable, particularly in markets where margins are tight and services commoditised. A common goal of an intentional experience is to use digital to drive high-volume, low-value interactions away from the most expensive channels (ie.reducing face-to-face and voice-to-voice interactions).
Of course, this needs to be achieved without compromising the customer experience. As long as this is the case, intentional sales and service experiences can provide powerful foundations for business transformation initiatives.
While there are still relatively few examples of large established organisations innovating at scale to deliver new revenues, using intentional strategies to protect existing margins via channel shift can still prove to be transformative in markets that are already being disrupted.
So what does an intentional strategy generally entail? Invariably, it will require you to do one or more of the following:
- Balance customer insight with analytics – to reveal those key interactions, the “Moments of Truth” when you should focus on meeting and exceed key customer needs.
- Provide differentiated service experiences to your most important customer segments;
- Drive channel migration via intentional actions (to shift high volume, low value transactions away from expensive contact points);
- Provide clarity on sales and service expectations to your entire organisation, via clearly defined channel migration targets.
A strategy that pays off
Designing and delivering an intentional experience can provide organisations with many benefits. In offering a more useful and timely service, the opportunity is there to deepen the customer relationship. Over time, this enables cross-sell and upsell opportunities too, enabling you to maximise revenue opportunities.
It’s also the route to industry-leading, tailored service – since the strategy is built around providing the relevant action for customers in the most immediate, simple way possible. Customers get what they want more quickly (‘Right First Time’), which lowers complaints and raises key measurables like customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Another benefit (mentioned briefly above) is that of efficiency. Intentional experiences allow you to make the best possible use of contact centre and retail resources, dedicating them to those areas that need it most (i.e. the most complex transactions and issues that customers struggle to deal with via self service). These are the high-value, high-revenue opportunities where customers are won or lost – and where the personal touch really counts.
Conversely, as long as you can still ensure a great experience it just makes sense to direct lower value interactions to self-service, low cost-per-use digital channels.
In short, intentional experiences can deliver the best of both worlds. You get more control over the customer experience, by using insight and data to optimise journeys and design out the need to contact; you get lower costs thanks to effective self-service; AND your customers are more satisfied. Speaking of which…
Intentional Experiences benefit customers
Crafting an intentional experience won’t only benefit your organisation – it’s the path to exceeding your customer’s expectations, too. It helps you provide them with:
- A more tailored experience – in segmenting customers by their intention and/or value, you can serve them with more appropriate, relevant responses;
- A clearer, quicker, easier experience – by taking customers straight to the best place to achieve their desired outcome;
- New, better ways of engaging – by introducing and embedding new services and features that continuously improve the experience over time;
- Reduced frustration – by removing opportunities for failure and subsequent reasons to complain
Of course, it’s vital to measure the results of any changes you’re making. Using conversion funnels on all sales and service interactions will determine how many customers were able to successfully complete their transaction first time. The resulting data will provide the insight that allows you to ruthlessly optimise the customer journey and drive incremental improvements to reach your channel migration targets.
Success here is measured by Goal Achievement. The higher the goal achievement score is for your digital interactions, the more likely your customers are to migrate to the channel over time.
Obstacles to effective digital channel migration
There are 4 key challenges to consider and overcome in order to effectively drive the adoption of digital channels:
- Increasing complexity – Product and service complexity is increasing as technology becomes more advanced. This results in increasingly complex customer issues to solve, in turn making successful resolution via self-service more challenging.
- Failure to predict new call types – Business cases are based on the reduction of existing call types. New digital self-service implementations will drive new types of call (e.g. password and PIN resets, web services support) which may increase use of voice-to-voice channels if not anticipated.
- Sustainability of the self-service model – Increasing usage of digital channels is usually consistent if your digital implementation is stable. However, achieving a consistent reduction in call volume rarely appears to follow, because taking out the calls altogether is difficult. The percentage of active customers with active online accounts is typically less than 50%; providing digital options may lead to more contact, unless services like credential reminders to recover your username and password are simple and effective.
- Demanding customers – Customers want more personalisation and the ability to tailor their experience. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to digital self-service may work only for the most simple queries.
It’s not easy – but it can be done
The only reliable way to reduce expensive voice-to-voice or face-to-face contact is to rigorously design out the need to make contact in the first place.
It follows that designing an intentional experience that relentlessly optimises your customer journeys – with a laser focus on goal achievement and channel shift volume – is a key step on the path to success.
Keep your policies and processes simple; listen to what your customers are saying about you, what they are doing and where they are succeeding/failing. Ensure your supporting technology and infrastructure is stable for the issues that drive the highest number of calls, and educate your staff and customers to become digital advocates. Get all these ingredients right, and you may just have the winning formula.