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Digital disruption transforming customer and employee interaction

As the world becomes increasingly more digitally connected and customers expect near instantaneous answers and action, organisations are having to become more focused and responsive to the needs of customers – and employees.

To successfully capitalise on the digital disruption in the customer service environment, there needs to be a seamless connection of customer journeys across all channels that consistently end in a positive experience.

According to Statista 2015, communication has been digitised, with 3.2 billion internet users in the world and 4.8 billion people worldwide owning mobile phones. This equates to 41 percent of all first-time product and service transactions now being passed through digital channels. And with the influence of social media, we are increasingly more digitally connected—directly and indirectly—to the brands with which we conduct business.

With infinitely more choices at their fingertips, consumers have an unwavering list of demands and find it ever easier to switch brands with a quick swipe of the finger. They want resourceful interactions and swift, uncompromising access to information and issue resolution. Additionally, today’s employees are expecting unprecedented levels of speed and information access to enable them to meet the demands of customers.

The rising tide of data

Digital disruption is about rapid change, and in the customer service environment it revolves around the enablement of both employees and customers to effectively and efficiently engage with each other to affect a desired outcome.  To successfully capitalise on this digital shift, there needs to be a seamless connection of customer journeys across digital channels to help deliver outcomes that consistently end in a positive experience.

Organisations are finding that the road to this result has evolved with digitisation arming customers with more ability, technology and choice than ever before. Today, self-service has become commonplace for simple tasks, whereas phone calls are still the mainstay for complex service issues. As a result, the customer drives the engagement mechanism and traditional customer service approaches are being transformed. Companies must not only understand and accept customer-centricity but operationally keep pace with emerging technologies to support an analytics-driven approach to multi-channel customer service.

Leveraging every interaction to relentlessly evolve and improve the customer experience requires a great deal of data capture and analysis. Digitisation has revealed many more touchpoints including text, email, web, chat and mobile. Organisations that achieve customer experience success use a variety of technologies to capture and analyse massive volumes of data during customer interactions to provide more personalised customer experience and to help structure their operations with the voice of the customer front of mind.

Customer engagement in the multi-channel world

Because multi-channel service delivery is still evolving, many companies find themselves challenged by data residing in discrete functional silos, making it difficult to provide a true view of the customer journey.  However, a view into the end-to-end experience is critical for companies to understand in order to more effectively and efficiently communicate with customers across channels, consistently and contextually. This is a result of businesses being expected to have full insight into all of customers’ prior interactions and be able to respond in an actionable, personalised and consistent manner.

The challenge with this lies in capturing each of these interactions across many individual channels, and linking the data to gain a single, consolidated view of all interactions in order to deliver service that reflects this awareness. By evaluating the customer experience across all channels using a centralised solution, companies can quickly determine where to focus customer engagement efforts to help realise the greatest impact, and gain a deeper, more contextual understanding of customer data.

While multi-channel engagement is recognised by most organisations as a strategic imperative, many find it challenging to link all the interaction data together for contextual insights that present a single view of the customer’s journey. For example, if a customer makes an inquiry by phone, then engages in an online web chat session and later performs a transaction on their mobile device, it is important for an organisation to piece the different interactions together to understand when and why customers switch channels, and how that impacts the business. By understanding previous interactions and likely outcomes, companies can use the intelligence gained to deliver highly personalised service. Additionally, they can align customer feedback with the acquired insights to predict customer behavior or identify opportunities to reduce churn.

With this cultural, organisational and operational approach, recognising buyer intent and customer needs, while delivering the right offer and support at the right time, drives more predictable and more productive customer engagement.

The competitive imperative

The nature of digital disruption is comprehensive and transformative. Over the last several years, the way people live and work has fundamentally changed, with constant connectivity and expectations of instantaneous response as the norm. Businesses that avoid changing to a digital-first mentality are going to have it forced upon them.

Whether it’s a digital-only start-up taking a bite out of the market or an innovative incumbent, every organisation needs to take a really hard look at being more mobile, more social, more connected, and more automated across the enterprise.

About the author

Michael Stelzer is the Vice President for Verint Systems with responsibility for the Enterprise Intelligence business in Australia and New Zealand. 

Michael joined Verint in 2014 bringing with him over 20 years of experience from the ICT industry. Having previously lead sales and marketing operations for Interactive Intelligence, Premier Technologies, Aspect and Genesys, Michael has supplied a wide range of solutions to a broad cross-section of the business community with specific success in the Banking, Finance & Insurance, Telecommunications, Government, and Outsourcing sectors. 

He is a member of the Australian Institute of Management (AIM), and Auscontact Association.

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