Often the go-to strategy for contact centre operators, omnichannel involves interacting with customers via the communications channel they prefer and at the time they wish to do so. The channel could be a mobile device, a call centre, a website or even a bricks-and-mortar store.
The challenge for businesses is to ensure that customers receive a consistent level of services regardless of the channel they select. The channels must also be usable throughout all the various stages of an interaction. Starting with pre-purchase and then moving to purchase, delivery and post purchase, the channels effectively become a window into the customer journey.
Creating a window
The creation of this window, an object that generally separates the inside from the outside, is where the problem with omnichannel lies – the approach becomes inside, looking out. Lines of businesses within an enterprise are typically looking out through their own windows, viewing a small sliver of their customer’s journey instead of being a part of the experience.
Due to this enterprise-centric, inside-out approach, data that lies outside of a line of business is typically very difficult to get access to and leverage; and even more challenging is leveraging data from outside the enterprise. In this ultra-connected world, access to data is the key to meeting customer needs and staying competitive.
Enterprises must be able to leverage data from within, as well from external sources, in order to participate in the customer experience. This means that enterprises must reorganize and take a customer-centric approach to be able to address new business models, new processes and new products and new services.
Improving the customer experience
Enterprises must move beyond an omnichannel strategy where seeing ROI or achieving results have remained unachievable. Why? Several factors including, the lack of real-time view of the customer experience (briefly mentioned above), it is nearly impossible to make rapid changes to adapt to the market, limited by ideas and resources within different departmental silos across the enterprise, costly maintenance of legacy data silos with dedicated development and operations staffs and the risk of data leaks and regulatory audit failures.
Enterprises must create modern experiences by capturing business moments in a broad ecosystem. Business moments are transient business opportunities that come and go very quickly. An enterprise’s ability to identify and act on a business moment will be the key to creating an exceptional customer experience and essential to enterprises’ successes and survival.
There are typically two participants in a business moment. The first is the moment ‘owner’ who is responsible for identifying, capturing and acting on the business moment. The owner also provides a contextual response to capture the customer’s attention through a unified user interface wherever the business moment occurs. A benefit of being a business moment owner is retaining the customer relationships, which in turn leads to developing brand loyalty and generating new revenue.
The second participant is the business moment ‘contributor’. A contributor must identify the business moment owners and develop a strong relationship with them. They must also share their services via application programming interfaces (APIs) to become a part of the experience. Being a business moment contributor enables you to reach new targets and generate indirect revenue.
An example of a connected customer experience is Philips Hue. Philips, with the invention of the Hue lightbulb, was able to turn a legacy and commoditised product (with very little customer engagement) into something modern, exciting and connected. They did this by adding digital capabilities to the lightbulb and exposing APIs.
While the Hue light bulb is cool to begin with, it is not until the bulb was able to connect to smart devices, like the Samsung SmartThings or the Amazon Echo, that its value was drastically increased for the customer. In fact, since Philips opened its APIs, it is safe to say Samsung Alexa Skill experience controlling Hue Light bulbs is better than the Hue Alexa Skill. In this case, Samsung is the business moment owner and everyone else is an example of a contributor.
Imagine someone asks the Samsung Alexa Skill to turn on the living room lights and a light bulb malfunctioned. The Samsung Alexa Skill could facilitate the ordering of a new light bulb. While Samsung itself wouldn’t make any direct revenue, this added value could create greater customer loyalty and happy partners.
Building connected customer experiences
There are three key steps to building a better customer experience:
- Adapt: Enterprises must transition from an enterprise-centric, omnichannel approach to a more customer-centred approach. They will need to define what their ideal customer’s experience would look like from both a business moment owner standpoint and from a business moment contributor standpoint. They must then shift thinking from internal systems and static channels to enabling dynamic interactions with customers. No more watching through the window – participation is key.
- Engage: Enterprises must demonstrate how connected customer experiences can complement and enable projects led by the business, thus designing new ways of engaging with customers. They must also rethink engagements with suppliers, partners and developers to become more involved in the co-creation process. It will also be important to clearly benchmark activity in order to drive competition and continuous improvement.
- Scale: Enterprises must prove that their plan for a more connected customer experience can handle future growth and respond quickly to change. They must determine and optimise the main value drivers, which are not just monetary units of value because value has many forms to a business such as customer satisfaction, loyalty and ratings. Enterprises should be able to shift from monitoring activity to predicting performance.
A Better Approach
Businesses need to shift beyond existing omnichannel approaches if they are to reach the next level of delivering better experiences and capturing moments in a broad ecosystem – and the key to achieving this is data.
A successful business will be one that can leverage data (both internally and externally) to all it to play a more proactive part role in the customer experience. Watching things happen through the window is no longer good enough.
By Colman McCaffery, Vice President of Sales and Operations at Axway
This article was prepared by a guest blogger and the opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Fifth Quadrant.