Customer behavior has changed. Customers today use significantly more channels of communication to engage with companies. When they shop, the convenience of online access has led them to be more demanding because they can go elsewhere with a few clicks. They expect service to be personalized and their issues to be resolved fully at the first contact. In addition, they often prefer to deal with companies through their mobile devices and are more willing to use self-service than in the past.
To respond effectively, organizations must view customer engagement as a multi-channel, enterprise-wide issue. Our benchmark research on next-generation customer engagement shows companies now use, on average, eight channels to engage with customers. Overall, 17 employee-assisted and digital self-service channels are being used. The research also shows that at one time or another, every business group except IT handles inbound interactions.
However, the most significant business response to this change is not in merely accommodating the increasing number of channels but in strategy and orientation. Increasingly, forward-looking companies are working to provide an omnichannel experience in which customers not only determine their channel of choice but also receive the same infor¬mation regardless of the channel they choose.
To provide this, organizations must focus not on internal processes and systems but on the customer’s perspective, preferences, expectations and experiences. To do this, organizations need advanced analytics systems to help identify how to improve their customer experience management and workforce optimization processes.
An Array of Challenges
Our benchmark research on customer engagement identifies three primary challenges companies face in providing an omnichannel experience: disparate business systems, stand-alone communication channels and disconnects between internal business groups. These issues prevent companies from providing easy, personalized and consistent experiences at every touch point.