Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cross channel not multi channel please!

Contact centres and outsourced contacts centres have been banging on about being multi channel for a while now, but we really need to change this as in most cases there are multiple channels but they are all completely separate.

Case in point a recent mobile experience. The end result was I went through all the channels and will end up using face 2 face to get my task done so cost per contact will be very high for them and C-SAT pretty low. There are some suggested common sense solutions later on in this post.

Scenario: thinking of buying an ipad2, probably go for the biggest, have an iphone (3g) with one provider and a USB data stick with another. Specifically I need the stick with another provider as it's the only connection I can get when on holiday and need to hotspot for my laptop.

  • Step 1:Checked out the ipad, had a quick look at both websites but they don't have the 64gb so left their sites quickly
  • Step 2 :Can I buy an ipad without a plan, some online research, looks OK
  • Step 3: What plan ? This is where the fun starts. Because I want the stick provider I start walking through their website and can't actually find a pay monthly sim only tariff. After alot of circuitous navigation I find that I can have sim only at £15 per month with a 1GB limit (less than my current plan) but can I find any details? no chance. I even try putting the sim only product in the shopping cart presuming it will have a link to full product details, but always get the pay as you go an no way to change it. #EPIC FAIL. Half an hour of wandering aimlessly around the site and I am no wiser. I also see that their sister company  is offering 3GB and unlimited BT hotspot for the same money, hmmmm.
  • Step 4: Phone. Track down the phone number on the website and this is where it get's a little more silly. I have a USB stick not a phone so I can't dial 150. By this time I don't have a landline to hand so I phone the mobile number for international use to avoid being charged a fortune by my phone provider for using an 0871 number (while navigating the usual tortuous IVR menus). But no, not allowed, I am not abroad. Gave up.
  • Step 5: Webchat. Browsing some more..... Hurrah, an invitation for a chat pops up, even better it's LivePerson which means it will probably have been implemented properly. Sadly this is a new business LivePreson implementation so I am politely invited to call customer services.
  • Step 6: Phone (again). It takes 2 minutes to navigate IVR and get a human being who gives me the answer but is unable to a) confirm it by any other means or b) give me a reference so I can prove I can browse with my ipad and importantly use it as a hotspot which I need.
  • Step 7 (future) I will have to go to the store and as orange are offering a beter deal and I am allowed to use both networks, looks like I buy from them instead.
  • Channels used: web, chat, phone and (soon) face 2 face
  • Cost per contact: High
  • Result: Loss of a customer, I'll go Orange
  • C-SAT: Low

  1. Fix the web
    • Deal with usability by hiring a usability company like Experience Lab and test with real users
    • Trawl through the contact centre logs to build up scenarios and ensure the navigation works based on real life
  2. Implement webchat properly
    • If you aren't going to put it in Customer Service (why wouldn't you as it will save you money) and only have a new business sales function, at least use the escalate to call (click to call for you and me) so the silo'd chat service can actually pretend to be part of the organisation.
    • Put webcat in Customer Service, it will save you money and make customers happy it will also massively reduce email traffic. If you do have webchat in customer service and new business sales, then at least the new business people can transfer the chat (with transcript).
  3. Fix the IVR
    • Simple one this one, if you ask for my phone number by IVR make sure the advisor doesn't ask for it again, or don't ask for it in the IVR unless it makes the customer experience better. Heaven forbid considering using CLI to prefetch my details first
    • Check scenarios e.g. don't have a phone - only a stick so I can get through
  4. Integrate channels (cross channel not multi channel)
    • If you implement new channels such as chat, at least attempt to capture the chat and save it in CRM, would have made a much better conversation.
    • Customer experience management need to ensure web, Contact Centre and silo'd operations like chat share learnings so that navigation and information are equally good across the channels. Example, if the contact centre get a question they can't find on the website, tell the web team.

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