How to Solve the Customer Experience Puzzle

If you've worked through a jigsaw puzzle, you know the importance of the box. Not because it holds the pieces, but because it shows you what the puzzle will look like once assembled. Without this point of reference, you're forced to blindly navigate the puzzle, unsure how and where each piece connects into place.

How many times have your customer experiences reflected a box-less puzzle, lacking clear direction or logic? It's happened to me a few times. Recently, I attempted to conduct a "quick and easy transaction" with my bank only to experience a series of frustrations. I think you will find that my omnichannel customer journey left something to be desired. Yet there is also an opportunity to learn from my bank's mistakes in order to improve upon your own customer service processes.  Here's what happened:

Mobile: First, I used my iPhone to research which forms I needed to fill out to complete a transaction through my bank. But I couldn't fill out the appropriate forms though my smart device because they weren't mobile-friendly, so I moved on to their Web site.

Website: After scanning various Web pages, I finally found the correct online forms. After I carefully filled out the forms, I tried several times to submit them, to no avail. This left me questioning whether I was technology-challenged or if the bank's technology was simply inadequate.

Web Chat: Next, I sought assistance from the online chat agent when a screen popped up asking if I needed help. I provided the same information I had just entered in the online form, but the chat agent was unable to help me, claiming that the forms could not be submitted online; the agent instructed me to call my bank's contact center.

Phone Call: I dialed a generic 800 number and was forced to provide my information once again. This time, the live agent said he could email me the forms, which I could then fill out (again) and email back to him.

Email: After waiting to receive a follow-up email from the agent, I filled out the forms and sent them back to the bank. Two days later, I received an email instructing me to call the bank service center yet again to complete the process.

Second Phone Call: While grinding my teeth, I called my bank's 800 number and provided my information (again) to an agent. Subsequently, I was told that I needed to print, sign, and fax back the form to complete the request. After completing this final step, my request was finally fulfilled. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Lessons Learned

Not only was this experience frustrating and time-consuming for me, but it was also costly for my bank. Since my bank’s communication channels were not integrated and its agents were not empowered with the right tools and training, considerable time and resources were wasted to complete my request. Most importantly, after this experience, I am now less inclined to conduct business with this bank.

Would a more engaged, empowered omnichannel workforce translated into a different (better) customer experience with this bank? Absolutely. Due to competitive pressures and the need to communicate with customers across multiple channels, it has become increasingly important to modernize contact center technology so customer-facing personnel can handle tasks and customer requests timely and effectively.

A good omnichannel workforce planning strategy can help you meet three important business objectives: (1) a better customer experience, (2) reduced costs, and (3) reduced employee turnover thanks to greater agent satisfaction. Here's more on how an omnichannel strategy will lead to greater business success:

Improved customer experience: From a tactical perspective, this is where you need to think about meeting service level commitments (SLAs) and improving key performance indicators (KPIs) across touch points and channels. You need to be sure you have the right people with the right skills handling the right interactions at the right times. Businesses that have done this have achieved impressive results, including reducing the average wait times (AWT) by 75 percent and improving first contact resolution by 5 percent.

Reduced costs: Driving operational efficiency is a necessary component of any well-run contact center. Through integration and automation, you can centralize control over the organization, reduce operational costs, and enable workers to be more efficient.

Increase agent satisfaction and reduce turnover: Ensuring that your employees are interacting with customers in the right way will make their lives easier. In addition, providing ongoing opportunities for skills and productivity improvements helps your employees stay motivated and engaged. Implementing omnichannel strategies, for example, have shown to increase agent productivity by 20 percent.

Yvonne Ba is senior manager, product marketing, at Genesys, providing the marketing strategy, awareness, sales enablement, and engagement for next-generation innovations and contact center capabilities.

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