Winning the human battle needs closer attention than the technology battle


The evolution of the customer service experience has seen the advent of a host of new ways for customers to interact with a business, with technology such as chatbots and automated self-service options becoming increasingly prevalent. While this transformation is proving to be instrumental in increasing customer choice, it cannot be expected to be a long-term success if customers or staff are not prepared for it.

But this is a common pitfall that many organisations are falling into – they’re looking at how they can implement effective channel shift, bringing in the technologies and processes that make these new channels a reality, when they should be focusing on the people that channel shift affects – the customers and employees of the business.

The fact that the number of channels available to businesses and their customers has grown so much in recent years is a real positive in terms of its potential to revolutionise the customer experience. But it’s important to realise that while channel shift increases customer choice, it doesn’t reduce customer demand, so simply switching a new channel on overnight won’t work if your key stakeholders aren’t ready or well-suited to it.

For example, imposing a new channel such as webchat on a customer used to phone interaction, or introducing a new channel and expecting staff to be immediately conversant with it, will be highly likely to be met with scepticism or apathy.

Any attempts to implement channel shift therefore need to be part of a broader, long-term, company-wide approach that emphasises upskilling of staff. In addition, organisations need to have a comprehensive understanding of what customers want, as well as removing siloes within the business so that channels can operate much more fluidly in conjunction with one another, delivering a truly omni-channel experience.

Moving to cloud-based customer experience platforms can help create this omni-channel environment and be hugely powerful in removing the barriers between disparate systems and eliminating the issues attached to the use of old-fashioned ‘Frankenstein’ configurations.

Cloud-based platforms can enable organisations to move beyond inflexible legacy systems, and bring all the elements of the customer experience together into a solution that can be accessed by anyone and from anywhere. By increasing visibility across channels, communication between each one becomes much easier.

To learn more about the power of cloud-based platforms, click here.


Colin Whelan

Colin Whelan has been a part of the Customer Contact Industry for the last 25 years, leading and supporting the UK & Ireland communities as a thought leader in resource planning, Back Office Optimization and Data, Analytics and Insight. Working for Companies including Barclays Bank, First Choice Holidays and Barclaycard, before joining Aspect as a Senior Solutions Consultant he was the Head of professionalism for the Forum, where he was instrumental in the development of the world’s first accredited University qualifications for the customer contact industry, along with standards in reporting, targeting and the use of intelligence. This career committed to developing and sharing best practice was recognised in April 2015 when the Forum Community gave Colin it’s “Industry Hero” award, “Over the past 7 years Colin has been a key figure within our community, committed to improving professionalism, making a huge contribution to the body of best practice in areas such as data analysis, back office planning and forecasting methodology. He embodies passion and enthusiasm for our profession.”