Scott Andrick, Industry Principal – Retail Banking and Cards, Pegasystems, examined the customer journey and what it takes to provide a unified customer journey during his presentation to Argyle’s Customer Care membership at the 2016 Customer Care Leadership Forum in Chicago on May 4. In his presentation, “Delivering a Unified Customer Journey,” Andrick described some of the customer experience barriers that challenge companies today and how businesses can overcome these hurdles.
According to Andrick, digital tools are becoming exceedingly popular for consumers to connect with businesses. However, these tools also create new challenges for organizations, particularly when it comes to improving the customer journey.
For instance, the use of digital tools like self-service can make it easier for customers to solve problems on their own. But this may lead call center representatives to receive additional calls related to exceedingly difficult issues, leading to higher overall call times and time to resolution.
Digital tools also change the customer journey dramatically, as they empower customers to learn about a company and its products and services at their own pace.
Every customer journey is different, and as consumers search for ways to interact with businesses, they may take journeys via smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. But organizations that lack the skills and know-how to communicate with these consumers effectively may struggle to garner interest from customers worldwide.
“In many instances, we built all of these channels in silos. We didn’t learn the lesson from the Internet rollout.”
“In today’s environment, I could be on any channel at any point in time, and that will be my launching point … up to the point where I run into the issue that doesn’t allow me to do what I was really trying to do,” Andrick noted. “And then, I’m going to jump to the next channel where I can get the fastest possible response to solve my problem.”
Also, many companies use siloed approaches to deploy digital tools, creating barriers within their respective organizations.
Andrick pointed out that organizational silos can be dangerous because they may limit the amount of communication that occurs between employees in different departments. These silos also may hinder the effectiveness of digital tools that a company may utilize as it hopes to enhance the customer journey.
“In many instances, we built all of these channels in silos. We didn’t learn the lesson from the Internet rollout,” Andrick said. “There isn’t the concept of context with customers as they go through items … which means (customer service) volumes aren’t down.”
So what does it take for businesses to use digital tools to the best of their abilities?
Digital tools are transformative because they can bridge the gap between consumers and companies. And businesses that take a proactive approach to the deployment of digital tools can ensure their employees understand the value of these technologies.
Andrick said organizations should prioritize delivering a great customer experience over customer service metrics such as call times and time to resolution. By doing so, these organizations will be better equipped to deliver effective customer support via a wide range of channels.
“We’ve created our own problems with those little mini apps because none of them work together. We’ve actually introduced friction into the system for our customers.”
“How do your representatives project empathy to your customer, which is really what you’re trying to do to give that great experience, when they’re worried about … having to navigate all of these systems that I have in place? … We’ve made the job so difficult for our reps that it’s amazing that we can actually pull the service off,” Andrick pointed out.
Having the ability to change quickly also is paramount, particularly for organizations that want to stay ahead of their rivals in a highly competitive global marketplace.
Organizations that can identify customer behaviors and trends will be able to fulfill their customers’ needs consistently. Plus, understanding the value of technology to improve the customer experience could drive more businesses to implement apps that may make it easier for consumers to connect with companies at any time.
On the other hand, apps can be troublesome if they are not deployed properly, and organizations must consider a broad view to technologies they can use to improve the customer experience.
“We’ve created our own problems with those little mini apps because none of them work together,” Andrick said. “We’ve actually introduced friction into the system for our customers.”
Today’s consumers want fast, dependable support from any location, at any time. The availability of state-of-the-art customer experience tools has led many organizations to make significant investments in new technologies. But these tools may provide exceptional value only if organizations learn how to use them properly.
Defining a customer journey that an organization wants for its customers and using technology to supplement this journey is essential. Thus, with the right tools at its disposal, an organization will be able to improve the customer journey for an extended period of time.
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