We are in an age of computing evolution. IDC has talked for many years about the ongoing shift in the ICT industry, where we see a new platform that enables organizations to adopt new innovations and create continued growth. IDC calls this the 3rd Platform.
The growth of the 3rd Platform rests on core technologies such as cloud, mobility, big data/business analytics, and social business. These four areas represent the big transformational pillars on which customer service is also being transformed.
With this in mind, we see many changes coming in customer service and contact center solutions. Traditionally, these solutions focused on meeting the needs of the masses by adapting to the situation at the moment of contact. However, the consumer market is driving rapid changes in how end users prefer to interact and how they expect customer services to be provided. Organizations are continually adding both self-service and assisted service channels (such as video, chat, e-mail, social media, etc.) in order to meet customers’ expectations and improve their experience. Customers now expect consistent support and cross-channel knowledge of their earlier interactions, irrespective of when they communicated, how they communicated, or from where they chose to do so. They expect to “hear” the same company voice regardless of the channel, they expect to receive the same level of service, and they expect that the organization will be aware of their situation even if a service starts in one channel and ends with another.
To be able to provide customers with a seamless experience no matter what channel they choose, organizations need to create an omni-channel experience for their employees as well. Whether it is the IT manager that needs to operate multiple systems, the compliance officer that needs to ensure compliance no matter the channel, the agent that needs to handle interactions, the supervisor that needs to ensure his agents are knowledgeable and have the skills and tools they need to perform at their best, etc. Whether its recording, quality management, work force management and performance management – your systems need to be able to support you on YOUR journey to becoming a customer centric, omni-channel organization.
Several digital channel developments are improving online multichannel interactions. WebRTC enables instant communication through the web browser, with no downloads or plug-ins required. Messaging bots will broadly transform customer service and can act as a virtual concierge to the digital experience your customers have when engaging with your brand.
Key transformation challenges are designing a customer journey that matches your customer's needs, maintaining consistency across all digital avenues as well as efficiency in responding to customers.
To enable this journey requires you to first understand its dimensions. Quality management and analytics can provide you with the context of each interaction as well as any recent history in all the channels available to your customers. A well-defined system enables you to monitor, measure, and improve your customer service representative's performance by focusing on the interactions that drive cost and impact your business.
To begin your own journey into transforming the customer experience, you need a holistic view of your customer and their needs, behaviors, and drivers. Staying customer focused is critical. As you explore potential solutions, IDC offers the following recommendations:
Move from siloed technologies and processes to more holistic operations. By transforming operations, you can deliver a better omni-channel customer experience and gain the desired business insight.
Define the timing aspect of your solution.
Do experienced and new customers have the same need for careful explanation, or should you provide an adapted response depending on how well your customer knows your services?
Leverage your technology, processes and employees to operate internally in an omni-channel manner. By operating in an omni-channel environment both externally and internally, you can have significant and direct impact on improving the customer experience with increased efficiency and a more focused strategy
The NOW customers – customers today lives in the NOW. Everything is rapid, everything is happening in real time. You need to be ready with real time capabilities, real time analysis, real time agent guidance, etc.
Customer care is individual.
A customer's needs and experiences are personal. Customers are social and share their knowledge of your products and services. Be where they are and join them proactively on their journey.
Create your solution together.
Ensure the team includes IT, line of business, and your customers, if possible. Allow them to share feedback with you as the solution develops over time.
Do not be afraid to measure the success of your projects.
Measure key metrics before, during, and after a new feature is launched. Define those metrics ahead of time and follow them carefully. Tell customers about your improvements.