Insufficient integration between customer communication channels is depriving consumers of positive experiences.
Posted Nov 9, 2005
A recent ATG study reveals that 75 percent of companies surveyed say insufficient integration between customer communication channels is hampering the companies' ability to deliver satisfying, profitable customer experiences. ATG surveyed 50 companies in its customer base, and found that 55 percent of customer service and support interactions are managed over the phone, 24 percent are handled via Web self-service, and 17 percent of interactions take place in email. Eric Hille, product marketing director for ATG, says it is crucial to maintain interaction continuity consistently to deliver great customer experiences across all channels.
"Being able to track somebody across multiple channels is a big challenge," Hille says. "A customer can be proactive, look at a company's Web site for an answer, not find it, and then have to call up a call center. Being able to track those interactions to provide a personal customer experience in the future is important. Consumers want to be treated like individuals. Businesses must integrate the customer information across channels to start delivering relevant and valuable experience at every customer touch point."
"The results reveal a significant problem with the way most organizations approach their customers," says Sheryl Kingstone, Yankee Group program manager for the Customer-Centric Strategies decision service. "It is well known that there is tremendous value associated with a consistent, cohesive approach to customer interactions, but businesses have not yet found the right strategy and supporting technologies to realize this value. A new strategic approach is needed to break down the organizational silos currently standing in the way of mutually rewarding customer experiences."
About 70 percent of the ATG companies surveyed have plans to implement new features, functions, or technologies in the next year to improve their cross-channel capabilities. Another 24 percent of firms have tentative plans to do the same. Hille says there are some basic, "biblical" best practices to keep in mind when doing so, such as taking a proactive approach to reach out to customers before they come to you with complaints.
"Companies must know thy customer," Hille says. "They need to deliver a personalized customer experience to each one. What a customer does on a phone call with a representative or a company's Web site--those prior interactions need to be captured and shared throughout all touch points to improve a customer's future experiences with that company."
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