There is no longer any doubt that the clear majority of customers in most developed geographies are strongly leaning towards a preference for self-service and the utilization of digital channels. As a consequence, many organizations are scrambling to deploy a plethora of what are seen to be ‘quick-fix’ digital offerings in a parallel quest to both increase customer satisfaction while simultaneously reducing operational costs. And herein lies the danger; taking the on-ramp to the digital highway at great speed and with scant regard for the actual journey, the consequences or, for that matter, the final destination.
At the outset, it is important to recognize recent Gallup research2 clearly indicating that the majority of customers want and prefer to have access to multiple channels when interacting or engaging with their various providers. In the retail banking environment, for example, Gallup’s research confirms that US customers use at least four different channels on a regular basis, not only for routine inquiries but also for more complex interactions such as account openings or additional or incremental sales.
One of the many dangers associated with inappropriate strategic thinking or planning in the digital space is that it is seen to be far easier and therefore faster to market, to attempt to deliver services across all available channels; building Multichannel and Omnichannel platforms that theoretically allow customers to do just about everything they want in every one of the offered channels. In most cases, the results are lackluster solutions, poor customer experiences and far lower NPS® and CSat scores. This syndrome, in turn, drives channel-hopping and a decline in digital containment rates.
Customers’ inherent frustrations born out of the inability to access the information quickly and easily, or to find the answers or the specific service that they need at that time, will frequently trigger channel-hopping. Poorly designed and executed cross-channel digital solutions frequently require customers to repeat information already provided in the preceding channel and this leads to even further frustration and dissatisfaction.
What many corporate solution developers fail to address from the outset is to clearly identify the customer’s characteristics and intent as early as possible in their initial engagement or interaction. A great deal of these insights can, in fact, be gathered from records of customers’ historical interactions or astute data analytics and customer segmentation. By way of example: Few organizations use previous calling data and customers’ ANI3 or CLI4 to identify and route callers? With foresight and the appropriate platforms in place, organizations can have an accurate idea of any given customer’s channel preferences, their individual characteristics and more importantly, their intent. These insights can be effectively utilized to steer or route the interaction not only into the most appropriate or the customer’s preferred channel but also towards the answers or solutions that the customer wants.
By providing the ability to effortlessly channel-pivot from self-service to assisted service (and vice versa), digital customers are adequately supported and guided in their interaction experience.
One of the most effective and practical ways that organizations can deploy highly efficient self-service while simultaneously routing callers to either the information that they are looking for or, to the most appropriately trained or skilled agent is to use a Visual IVR5 solution. Visual IVR solutions are quick and easy to deploy as they utilize existing IVR flow designs and VXML scripts. What’s more, Visual IVR doesn’t require the additional development of a complex App and the added challenge of enticing customers to download and install “Yet another App.”
When calling the organization’s normal 0800 or call center number, a simple text message is sent to the customer and this triggers an attractive and highly intuitive Visual IVR interface on the caller’s smartphone. Scanning and clicking through a smartphone screen is faster and more appealing than listening to mundane IVR instructions and options. What’s more, the self-service Visual IVR interface can also be easily deployed and integrated into your existing website or app. Now customers can quickly and easily click through the options and be routed to their information requirements or assisted agent services.
Visual IVR drives customers to use far more intuitive interfaces. This leads to lower IVR abandonments, significantly higher digital containment and overall, an infinitely better customer experience.
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.
1 Highway to Hell. Australian rock band AC/DC 1997. Written by Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott. (title)
2 Gallup® October 2016 ‘Struggle for Banks: Migrating Customers to Digital’
3 ANI Automatic Number Identification
4 CLI Calling Line Identification
5 IVR Interactive Voice Response