As companies rush to understand and adopt digital channels, it is generating complexity, confusion and a growing disconnect in most customer journeys today. As organizations bring on new channels of communications for their customers – including social channels, chatbots, mobile apps, mobile sites, websites, smart device apps and more – they often struggle to bridge the communications from these channels into the back-end processes used to actually fulfill on customer requests.
The reason is that back-end processes are primarily based on traditional channels and may not have been considered as important integration points when new digital projects were being planned and conceived. This is true even in the industries that are most advanced in bringing forward digital experience. In the retail industry, for example, only 25% of respondents to an eMarketer survey indicated that they are delivering a seamless and consistent experience across sales channels.
Regulations and compliance cause a bigger divide
This disconnect between digital channels and traditional channels is even larger in industries where regulations and compliance mandates are more challenging. As an example, the lack of integration is strikingly evident in digital banking, where eMarketer reports 68% of digital banking users have been frustrated with their digital experience.
The importance of frictionless service
What is it that customers are looking for when it comes to integrating digital into the overall experience? The most important elements are ensuring that issues are resolved in a single interaction and that customers receive a speedy and timely response. However, only 17% of customers expected that their issue would be resolved in-channel, without being deflected to a traditional service channel. This seems to indicate that customers are more concerned that they receive timely, efficient service than being able to resolve their issue in one unique channel.
How does this play out across the customer expectations that digital shoppers have for brands? The most important element here is a consistent level of service across physical and digital channels and a frictionless flow of information between these channels.
Making the case for hybrid experiences
These findings are very much in line with those of Forrester Research. Their 2018 report, “Customers Prefer Hybrid Digital/Physical Experiences,” found that hybrid communications that harnessed the power of both digital and traditional channels delivered the highest positive emotions for customers of virtually every age, gender and income group.
The report says, “Hybrid CX now has, on average, a two point lead over purely digital and purely physical CX. Even a single point in CX improvement can yield hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue growth. Between 2016 and 2017, the quality of hybrid CX rose in nine of the 21 industries we studied. As a result, hybrid now leads in 12 industries and ties for the lead in nine more.”
How does customer communications management help?
Modern customer communications management (CCM) strategies are designed to turn communication design and delivery into a process that allows your organization to standardize and personalize communications for automated delivery across any channels—without duplicating efforts.
Digital requires much more than simply document output and sharing in digital-ready formats. It requires that two-way communications with customers to be integrated into back-end processes, allowing the free exchange of information across channels. CCM technology then becomes an important layer in the systems that large enterprises are using to govern overall CX, making way for processes to incorporate new digital channels that integrate with print and other offline channels; approved and compliant communications templates and language; and data from across the enterprise (including core systems) to incorporated into those communications.
Whether the process supports signing up for new services, making an insurance claim or reviewing an interactive account statement, it is clear that what consumers want today is an integrated experience that allows them to easily and productively interact with companies to consume their products and services more efficiently.
Processes and systems that support hybrid experiences are key to capturing the attention of customers.