Four best practice tips to help drive channel shift
Putting in place a strategy that encourages customers to make more use of digital channels is increasingly important. Carried out effectively channel shift has the potential to boost efficiency while at same time helping to improve the overall customer experience.
However, for your strategy to be successful and effective over time, you need to ensure that it closely addresses customer requirements and that you are promoting it well. Here are four best practice considerations that can help you achieve this:
1. Build a coherent strategy
Channel shift delivers three main benefits. First, by helping people to switch to digital channels – especially self-service – it can help meet customer needs by empowering people to resolve their queries themselves, at their own convenience. Second, it increases efficiency by reducing the volume of expensive face-to-face or telephone interactions. And third, channel shift can support a more digital, data-driven customer service strategy. The information and insights gathered from digital interactions can be used to improve and personalise the experience that customers receive, boosting overall satisfaction.
To succeed, incorporate channel shift into your wide customer service and digital strategies. Research what digital channels your customers are on and when they use them to ensure you are adopting the right ones. And try to align customer service within your organisation’s wider digitisation strategy – for example, if an app is being created, can customer service functionality such as chat/click-to-call be included?
At the same time, it’s essential to acknowledge that you can’t expect digital channels to completely replace your existing channels. Instead, they will complement and deflect some interactions away from them. Certain queries can only be effectively resolved in a telephone or in a live in-person interaction, perhaps because they are more complex or because certain customers cannot access digital channels. So, ensure you take a holistic approach when planning channel shift.
2. Promote your new channels
Simply put, if customers don’t know about channels such as chat or apps, how can you expect them to use them? A key aspect of rolling out a successful channel shift strategy is to promote the channels you want people to move to extensively across all touch points:
- Flag them on your website
- Ensure they feature in IVR and welcome messages
- Include them in email replies to customers
- Train agents to mention them during phone interactions
And don’t forget offline promotion. Publicise your digital channels in posters within shops/branches and in customer correspondence such as letters and bills/statements for example. Include QR codes to make it easy to download apps for example.
3. Keep digital simple
The key to encouraging customers to adopt digital is to make channels easy to use – by all customers. To support this, ensure you involve them in developing and rolling out new digital avenues. Test your implementation of any new channels with both customers and agents to ensure they hit the objectives of saving time and making interactions faster and easier for users.
It’s important not to try to do everything at once. Start small, potentially by launching one key digital channel (such as chat) and build from there.
Make switching to new channels as easy and accessible as possible by integrate digital with the existing channels that customers already use. For example, you can send customers links to online resources (such as self-service) via SMS text messages. Also try to tailor your approach to the devices customers use. With mobile starting to be the go-to device for so many people, ensure your resources are mobile optimised and use the strengths of digital (e.g., geolocation and cameras on mobile phones) to improve the customer experience.
At the same time, remember that digital channels are not the best option for every customer or interaction type. So always make it easy to escalate to a human if required.
4. Continually ask for feedback
Embracing digital is a journey, not a destination. So, as you encourage customers to shift, you’ll need to continually monitor and test these digital channels. As well as improving them based on user feedback. Ask customers about how you can improve aspects of your digital offerings. But also speak to agents and the wider business for ideas and suggestions. In particular, the emphasis should be on using the data and insights you collect to better understand your customers to improve and personalise customer journeys.
Channel shift – improve the overall CX
The majority of organisations are looking to digitise and to encourage channel shift. However, successful adoption of digital channels is not simply about technology. It is also about how effective you are at ensuring digital customer service meets their requirements. And that starts with how well you promote them and make them easy to access. Focus on the customer and their needs to drive successful digital channel shift within customer service.