Many organizations today invest in the development of new channels for communicating with their customers – apps, video calls, live chat, social networks, and more. This trend is not expected to subside anytime soon. But is it always the wisest choice? Michal Berlagosky, Director at NGG, believes that each organization must find the right mix and not blindly follow the herd
Everyone – and I mean everyone – is developing apps.
Nearly every organization has its own shiny new app, and they make sure the whole world knows about it. But does every organization really need an app? Apps are merely an example. In and of itself, an app is a great tool for interactive communication with customers on their favorite devices – their phones. Research shows that the use of commercial apps is on the rise.
But are apps the right choice for everyone?
New customers are a mix of generations, habits, and preferences. Their needs are changing, with a clear tendency toward digital channels. And yet, we predict that traditional channels will continue to exist alongside digital ones for at least another decade, while apps that were once considered to be the next big thing will become decreasingly popular.
In a study conducted by British firm Fifth Quadrant Analytics in 2016, the majority of households showed an increase of 25% to 35% in their use of online self-service channels, mobile apps, and e-mail, while the use of IVR (interactive voice recording) channels, social networks, and video chat declined by 16%-20%. This means that certain organizations developed and launched a communication channel only to be met with customer indifference.
Omni-Channel World – How It’s Done Right
Let’s take, for example, a customer service scenario that involves multiple touchpoints.
First, the customer contacts the company. The company handles the request, asks the customer for additional information (such as documents or files), updates the customer on the status of the inquiry, receives yet more information from the customer, solves the issue, and informs the customer.
The company must ask itself which channels it should use to conduct this process in the best possible way.
How will customers submit their initial inquiry? Should they be allowed to make contact on all channels, or just on some? Where should the initial information be received? How should documents and files be collected? Should the process include a phone conversation, or is it better to contact the customer by e-mail? Maybe the customer should visit one of the company’s branches? Which channels should be used to notify the customer of the status of the inquiry? How should the customer be notified when the case is closed – by phone? By mail?
We recommend to apply this thought process to all the organization’s core processes. At the end you’ll have an optimal channel mix for managing the bulk of the company’s activities.
In conclusion, when thinking about omni-channel communication, the key to success is not to develop as many channels as possible, but to find a mix that facilitates better service and suits customers’ needs and habits.