Improving multi-channel customer service to reduce brand switching


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We are all now familiar with the terms ‘channel shift’ and ‘mobile mind shift’, with today’s customer expecting to be able to find answers to their questions at anytime, across any device and via the channel that’s most convenient for them, which is increasingly online.

Customers have become conditioned to turn to the Internet, increasingly via their smartphones, to find information on pretty much anything, and as a business if you’re not able to provide them with this information quickly and easily – across all touch-points – you run a high risk of losing their business altogether.

Recent research by Accenture shows that brands are failing to deliver adequate service via digital channels, resulting in 53% of consumers switching brands in at least one industry, with brands losing an estimated £116bn each year. The research shows:

  • Only 4% of UK consumers strongly agree that brands marry up digital and traditional modes of customer support
  • 43% have used company websites for customer service but only 19% were satisfied
  • Only 14% feel that brands use mobile for customer service very effectively

As a result, the research revealed that 36% of customers rated their loyalty towards brands as between 1 to 3 on a 10-point scale, with only 16% rating it as between 8-10.

Despite the continuing increase in smartphone usage, customer’s service needs across this channel are not being met satisfactorily. Statistics from Forrester in their new book – The Mobile Mind Shift, emphasise the importance of mobile as a key customer service channel and growing consumer expectations.

  • Smartphone users are expected to grow from 1.2B in 2012 to 2.4B in 2017
  • 62% expect a mobile friendly website
  • 42% expect a mobile app

Forrester recommends four key steps to win, serve and retain customers who’ve made the mobile shift:

  1. Identify the mobile moments and context
  2. Design the mobile engagement
  3. Engineer your processes, platforms and people for mobile
  4. Analyse results to monitor and optimise

Service across social channels are also resulting in low levels of customer satisfaction, with a disconnection between customer service and marketing departments and a lack of integrated technology being highlighted as key weaknesses. According to a study commissioned by Forrester Consulting:

  • Between 2009 and 2012 the number of customers using Twitter for customer service doubled to 22%
  • However, people still rate their experiences via phone, websites, emails, IM/ SMS over using social channels such as Twitter and Facebook as a result of poor social media management

In today’s economic climate, customer loyalty is becoming a thing of the past. Today’s businesses need to not only meet customer’s expectations but to constantly exceed them. Understanding your customers’ needs and wants and implementing the right customer service technology to meet these requirements – consistently across all channels – is pivotal to attracting new, and retaining existing customers. A truly multi-channel service should be top of the agenda.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Neldi Rautenbach
Neldi shares insight and best practice tips on multi-channel customer service from Synthetix. Synthetix is a leading provider of online customer service solutions - working with some of the world's best-known brands. Synthetix create bespoke customer service and knowledge base software that enable customers to self-serve timely, accurate and consistent answers to their questions via the web, mobile, e-mail forms, social networks and in the contact centre.


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