Intentional Experience

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As organisations leverage digital to transform, one of the biggest challenges they wrestle with is driving customer adoption to new digital channels and features. Many businesses invest in and develop digital capability without really thinking about the aspirational customer experience they want to create solely for sales and customer service, assuming that “if you build it, they will come”. As a result they are often left underwhelmed with the outcome.

Whilst customer habits and behaviours have changed and digital interactions are increasing exponentially, customers still use non-digital channels depending on the goal they are trying to achieve, and their perception of the best way to achieve it. Although many organisations talk about being “100% digital” it’s wholly unrealistic given the complexity and emotion in certain service interactions and customer segments who still demand human interaction to solve their problems.

Product and service complexity is increasing as consumer technology becomes more advanced. The result of which is an ever-growing pool of customer issues to solve. This means successful resolutions via digital self-services end up being more challenging. And, the more complex the issue, the more likely it is that customers will need sophisticated support.

Many investment cases are based on the reduction of existing call types or face-to-face interactions. However, new digital services may drive new types of calls (e.g. password and PIN resets, page response times are too slow, outages etc) which can increase the use of voice-to-voice and face-to-face channels if not anticipated and dealt with.

Increasing usage of digital channels is usually consistent if your digital implementation is stable. However, achieving a consistent reduction in call volume rarely appears to follow, because taking out the calls altogether is difficult. The percentage of customers with active online accounts is typically less than 50%; providing digital options may lead to more contact unless services like credential reminders to recover your username and password are simple and effective.

Customers increasingly want more personalisation and the ability to tailor their experience. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to digital services may work only for the most simple queries. Perhaps the biggest issue is how organisations allow customer experience to take a back seat to digital technology in their operations, creating a functional but poorly designed customer interaction, where the objective should really be harmony and efficiency.

Designing what I call an “Intentional Experience” elevates customer experience and journeys to the forefront of an organisation’s digital and contact strategy, determining the best channel to for their specific needs, with a focus on ensuring they get the answer they need, right first time. Omnichannel experiences are great if the interaction warrants it, but opening up the ability to hop from one channel to another to complete any possible interaction – no matter how simple – inevitably increases the cost to sell and cost to serve because of the multiple touchpoints.

So what does an “Intentional Experience” generally entail? Invariably, it will require you to do one or more of the following:

  • Balance customer insight with analytics – to reveal those key interactions, the “Moments of Truth” when you should focus on meeting and exceeding key customer needs
  • Provide differentiated service experiences to your most important customer segments
  • Relentlessly optimise customer journeys in pursuit of outstanding goal achievement scores which measures the percentage of customers completing their interaction Right First Time. Leverage data and insight to find the barriers to high goal achievement and remove those obstacles
  • Once you can evidence that your journeys are high performing and customers are having a great experience, drive digital channel migration via intentional actions to shift high volume, low value, low complexity  transactions away from expensive contact points

It’s the route to industry-leading, tailored sales and service – since the strategy is built around providing the relevant action for customers in the most immediate, simple way possible. Customers get what they want more quickly (‘Right First Time’), which lowers complaints and raises key measurables like customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Intentional experiences allow you to make the best possible use of contact centre and retail/branch resources, dedicating them to those areas that need it most (i.e. the most complex transactions and issues that customers struggle to deal with via self-service). These are the high-value, high-revenue opportunities where customers are won or lost – and where the personal touch really counts. It’s the path to exceeding your customer’s expectations and helps provide them with:

  • A more tailored experience – in segmenting customers by their intention and/or value, you can serve them with more appropriate, relevant responses
  • A clearer, quicker, easier experience – by taking customers straight to the best place to achieve their desired outcome
  • New, better ways of engaging – by introducing and embedding new services and features that continuously improve the experience over time
  • Reduced frustration – by removing opportunities for failure and subsequent reasons to complain

The only reliable way to reduce expensive voice-to-voice or face-to-face contact is to rigorously design out the need to make contact in the first place.

It follows that designing an intentional experience that relentlessly optimises your customer journeys – with a laser focus on goal achievement and channel shift volume – is a key step on the path to success.

Keep your policies and processes simple; listen to what your customers are saying about you, what they are doing and where they are succeeding/failing. Ensure your supporting technology and infrastructure is stable for the issues that drive the highest number of calls and educate your staff and customers to become digital advocates. Get all these ingredients right, and you may just have the winning formula.

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