Implementing multichannel service requires planning to be successful, just like any other project. Below are some basic requirements that are actually a good business model, not just good for multichannel:
A successful multichannel initiative must be:
Access to multiple channels increases the likelihood that customers will request assistance, offer feedback, and complete sales. It also offers a greater chance that customer support will be able to resolve issues since the customer will be using a channel most comfortable to him. In some cases, channels other than the phone are easier for customers to use.
For example, live chat provides the customer with written instructions he can refer to as he works the problem. With web-based self-service, examples and images can enhance troubleshooting efforts (agile knowledge). The system is contextually aware and can offer the appropriate level of assistance and information according to customer input.
The multichannel support experience must be seamless to the customer. If a transition from one channel to another is necessary, customer support should be able to pick up the threads of the conversation without hesitation. Customers expect that everything that has been discussed will be documented so that he will not have to repeat the story upon calling back or when switching between channels, such as from live chat to phone, or self-service to phone (agile channeling).
This seamless experience begins with a single view of the customer across all channels. All customer information such as the account profile, order and billing history, and a universal history of interactions must be included in the customer record. Interaction history is extremely useful during problem escalations where the issue is transferred to a different channel. With seamless multichannel service, the transfer should be transparent to the customer.
To aid seamlessness, multichannel service must be consistent between channels. All information given to the customer, no matter the channel, must match to avoid confusion and frustration. This is where it makes sense to consolidate all channels of support and to use common workflow processes and knowledgebases to assure accurate and timely information is given in every interaction. Customers perceive each contact to be with the company as a whole; inconsistency between different channels will give the impression that the entire company is disorganized.
A channel is useless if unplanned downtime occurs. As the customer base grows, each channel and the knowledgebase must be able to scale up to meet the demand both horizontally and vertically without creating silos. Not only does this keep information consistent, it also gives the system the ability to change channel distribution to match traffic.
The next post will show the top 5 improvements you need to become a best in class company with multichannel service. Coming next week.
Don’t miss it!