Lead your horses to the water – sorry, your customers to your digital service offerings


Today’s consumers have made it very clear that they overwhelmingly prefer to use digital channels when it comes to person-to-person communications. And yet when it comes to contacting companies, customers are still calling – and they will for quite some time to come. That’s how they’ve been doing it all their life, and humans are generally resistant in changing their behavior. So how do you get them to use your digital service offerings?

If these are your customers we’re talking about, chances are that they attempted to self-serve before contacting you. If that’s the case, then nothing is more frustrating to them than hearing “did you know you can check your claim online at double-u double-u double-u…” when you just came from “double-u double-u double-u”, and “double-u double-u double-u” didn’t give you the answers you needed.

How can we solve this loop of frustration? Knowing your customer journeys, and tracking them is a great place to start. Context cookies – small traces of data that tell you where a customer was last – can help. Not just where they were last year, but where they were before the current touch point. Say within the last hour, or maybe 12 hours. It can be considered likely that they are contacting you about the same issue, until it is resolved. A central repository of such context cookies can help track journeys across different channels – at Aspect, we call such a repository the Continuity Server.

But what if you don’t know where they came from? Or you do know they have NOT attempted anything on your digital channels in a while? Pointing them to a channel that can help them better than a phone call is not a bad idea per se. But you can do more than simply announce your homepage and let them do the logging in, the navigating, finding the content you’re trying to send them to, etc. That’s not what I would deem particularly user-friendly.

Chances are your customers are calling from their cell phone. If you don’t know, you can use services such as Aspect’s Operator Lookup API, which tells you whether a phone number is a landline or mobile number. And once you know it’s a mobile number, you can assume the customer has a smartphone. If you’re not sure, just let the IVR script ask them. Once you know, why not send them a link to your digital offering that acts as a deep link into relevant content? Deep links can point to mobile Web apps or mobile-optimized versions of your Web content, like this:

Lead Your Horses to Water 1


With “app fatigue” becoming a real and growing concern for companies and low retention rates of customer care apps, chances are your customers haven’t downloaded your native app, or simply aren’t using them. Mobile Web, also called disposable apps, are a great alternative for the occasional needs. They get right to the point, present relevant content upon a tap, can even bypass tedious authentication steps.

But if the customer did download your app, a deep link can also point into content within your app. You probably know whether the customer has downloaded and used your app before. It’s a context cookie in your Continuity Server or it might be an entry in your CRM. If you do know, the IVR can adapt the link and use so-called application links. They do not use the http protocol to point to a resource on the World Wide Web, but a special protocol that smartphones can interpret. When you tap such a link, the OS (iOS, Android, etic.) opens the respective app, and it in turn interprets the deep link destination:

Lead Your Horses to Water 2

Notice the difference? It’s just in the link. The apps look identical – a mobile Web app can be built to mimic the design of your mobile native app. Again, you can bypass authentication in some cases, if the customer had already authenticated in the IVR. But you can definitely point your customer right to the relevant sub-page of your app.

NOW we’re talking convenience. And isn’t that what we’d like to achieve when it comes to doing business with your organization?

PS: If you want to try out an application link right now and you happen to have Facebook on your smartphone, go to your mobile browser and type in fb://profile, then hit Go. The Facebook app will open up and show your profile page…