The customer journey is becoming more complex, with customers moving between more channels than ever before. While service organisations typically want customers to begin their journeys in self-service, not all journeys can be wholly contained within it.
Gartner research found that 88% of customers that start in self-service touch multiple channels. In fact, Gartner research found that 62% of customers report that transitions between service channels are ‘high effort’.
Customer service and support leaders must re-evaluate the customer journey to reduce this unnecessary effort, break down silos and create a seamless experience for the customer.
Step 1: Move from vertical channel silos to horizontal integration
When building the customer journey, many organisations fall into the trap of adding channels independently over time, without stopping to look at the bigger picture.
An example of the customer’s experience when faced with vertical silos can be found in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1. A disconnected customer journey
Not only does this silo effect create frustration for the customer, but it also results in a lack of alignment between teams.
In contrast, a horizontal approach enables leaders to orchestrate the customer journey more effectively and use channels simultaneously or sequentially to fulfill the customer journey.
In order to successfully adopt this approach, customer service leaders must work to break through the silos and establish a cross-functional team.
While each team are experts in their own vertical, the customer journey doesn’t stop with them – they must be part of a larger team focused on the entire customer journey.
Step 2: Develop shared priorities and performance metrics
Once established, this team must develop shared priorities that will support common performance metrics. Shared metrics, rather than individual teams working towards their own channel-specific goals, will ensure that the team’s focus moves from individual channels to overall experience.
This does not mean that individual channel priorities and metrics disappear – rather, the weighting of channel-specific priorities is lower than that of the shared metrics
Examples of shared priorities include overall CX and contact volume reduction.
Step 3: Take advantage of common data and tech capabilities
When channel teams operate in silos, they often miss out on the opportunity of shared capabilities. Cross-functional teams can look beyond their narrow view of vendor solutions, taking them beyond single channels to a more holistic approach.
Cross-functional teams can look beyond their narrow view of vendor solutions and create better CX.
Not only does this create efficiencies, it also creates a better customer experience.
Examples of where technology and data capabilities can be shared include customer identification, conversational AI and customer journey orchestration.
This approach won’t work with all technologies and all channels. However, leaders should challenge their teams to collaborate to review potential use cases and expand their use of technology.
Step 4: Budget for the overall journey, not specific channels
To achieve shared goals and priorities, budgets should also be shared. The budgeting process should look at the broader goals of the organisation, and a shared budget should pool resources together to leverage economies of scale.
The most common approach is to create a shared budget for ‘investments in common’ that pool together channel team resources to support a specific set of enablers.
Channel owners should jointly discuss investments required, jointly prioritise these opportunities and identify which opportunity enablers can be used within multiple channels.
These enablers should be added to the shared budget. Examples of these include customer journey analytics, end-to-end solution automation and internal training.
By breaking down the silos between customer service channels and taking a new approach, customer service and support leaders can improve customer experience and remove unnecessary customer effort.