We prefer to solve our own customer service issues. In fact, Aspect’s 2017 Customer Experience Index contact with customer service via talking to a live agent has declined 10% in the past 2 years. Most of the time, we’ll start on the company’s website to accomplish our goals: book a trip, figure out why our bank account was double charged or finalizing an application for new service. And sometimes, we get really close, but can’t actually reach that goal on our own and when that happens, we tend to pick up the phone to get that last bit of help.
The idea of an omnichannel experience is that a customer can start and stop on one channel (website) and restart on any other channel (voice) without having to repeat themselves or begin the task over again. We all know how frustrating it is to have spent time on a website, even one we’re logged in to as an existing customer and when we talk to a customer service rep, they ask all of our information over again, wasting time for us and for the company, that time is money, and far more expensive when another person is part of the equation. They should know not just who we are, but also what we were most recently doing, aka “Context Continuity.”
Continuity means that the IVR knows who the caller is and what they’ve been working on prior to that call, the “What, When and Where.” It also means that the IVR will take those factors into account and offer to help finish that task, with a prompt like, “I see you’ve been trying to complete a funds transfer, would you like to finish that now?” Continuity is an important contribution when creating a personalized experience for customers. Companies can “show them that they know them,” while saving them time, frustration and differentiating with great service.
Most of the time, companies want to contain customers in the channel they’ve started the conversation on. It gives them the best chance to ensure the customer is able to accomplish their goal, as well as making sure it’s convenient to the customer. We’ve all gotten text notifications or emails from companies that say “DO NOT REPLY” or when you do text back, the message disappears into the ether. It’s disappointing to say the least and for companies, very risky since a customer could say “that’s enough,” and take their business elsewhere with no notice. But in some cases, it’s the next best move to ask the customer to call or to call them directly when they’ve visited your website:
- Talking to an expert
- Compliance requirements (HIPAA)
- Scheduling a callback through the website at a convenient time
And this is just the beginning of continuity for web-to-voice interactions. The remarkable adoption of smart home devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home has created a brand new voice channel beyond phones. We see the future offering experiences where you can browse a product online and use those devices to seamlessly connect to sales and service representatives to talk about them. Voice is never dead, voice is always first!
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