Reality Check: Are your customers channels or people?


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I’m cursed. Are you? For years I fell into a trap that I see many in the contact center industry fall in to. It’s the trap of managing workflow for efficiency. I need to be careful not to manage queues of interactions because that’s how it’s always been done. My reality check is to remember, those are people in queue. Not efficiency metrics or channels to be managed.

But that feeling of people or channels (channel management versus customer experience) can be so hard when you’re focused on the workload and response time.

But I was given my reality check when I met up with Alon Waks of Kustomer at Customer Contact Week.

Here is an edited transcript of my interview with Alon Wolks:

Jim Rembach:  Hey this is Jim the Fast Leader Show and Call Center Coach and I’m here at CCW with Alon Walks of Kustomer. Alon, how do you help folks get over the hump?

Alon Waks: The number one challenge that we have today is – people focused on channels, on tickets – and that’s not who I am.

I’m not “channel”. I’m not number 23762. I’m Alon. I’m a person.

Alon Waks: How do we help? We incorporate all the data in all the interactions into one place, so that the customer is now known as that entity versus the channel being the focus. Therefore, it’s a platform view that every agent can see the customer for the first time. Everything’s in one place, from orders, management issues, channels, emails, chat, returns, subscription, anything you need and want for B2B and B2C company.

And that way, we actually have been able to help companies become more customer centric by focusing on the customer and not the channel.

Jim Rembach: Yeah and so for me, the word that just comes to mind when I think about your solution is visibility.

Alon Waks: Correct, so visibility is all about seeing and understanding your customer. What we talk about a lot is you can know everything about every customer in order to drive personalized and effective communications at scale.

The only way that you’re able to get this visibility across is agents should be able to see everything in one place. So that it’s not just about that email, that chat and I don’t know which one it is.

Omni-channel is such an over-used term, but to really have true and precise omni-channel you need to know not just the channels but also the history of why this person reached out. Therefore, CRM approach to CX is the right way to do a modern service.

Jim Rembach: So that when I start thinking about this too, a lot of times we’ll think about customers channel hopping, right? So, with your platform, because you’re focusing on the customer. Then the channels essentially are how they’re engaging with you, you also can understand when and why they’re hopping?

Alon Waks: Correct, so not only can we track the history of that channel, or sometimes referred to here as customer journey, a journey is not everything. I’m a person – I take many journeys in life. I want to be able to make sure that a journey that may start on digital then escalates to voice and then three days later might come back in an email, is all connected again. Not to a ticket, but to a person.

It’s me. Look at me – I’m a person. It’s time that we get treated as people again. The only way to have people move between channels is what I call journey continuity.  In order to drive the continuity, agents as well as people, should be able to move between channels.

The confusion of today is, omni-channel is not just on the customer side, omni-channel is also very important on the agent side. For example, if I ordered a meal and I want to change that meal when I’m on the way to pick it up, I want to be able to use SMS or text right now. But I ordered online. How is the agent responding to me in SMS and jumping the channel and not just me doing a different engagement? That’s the secret sauce.

Jim Rembach: That’s a really interesting point. Also, when I start thinking about this, I start thinking how it could impact the supervisor’s role, because it’s such a critical role in a contact center. So, how are you guys actually making their life easier?

Alon Waks: The supervisors are actually the heroes of the heroes. The agents are heroes and they are people that we need to empower. They usually get all the shouts and everything, because they’re the face of the company. Sometimes that’s not fair.

The supervisors have two great things that can work for them leveraging what we believe in our approaches. One is they’re able to use all the data in order to prioritize the right people at the right time to intervene and join the conversation – sometimes flagged by high scores of sentiment, high score of VIP status and a change in an event.

The second thing, is productivity. Whenever these changes of an event happen, they’re able to understand everything quickly. For example, if somebody wants to return an item, do you just help them return?  Well, they came there for a reason, why don’t you help them replace and give them the right thing. That is actually the difference between a supervisor and an agent providing service and now they’re able to provide an experience because the know the full context of that return.

Jim Rembach: So Alon, how do folks learn more?

Alon Waks:, the one place to know everything about your customers.

Jim Rembach: Alon, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and we wish you the very best.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Rembach
Jim Rembach is recognized as a Top 50 Thought Leader and CX Influencer. He's a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner and host of the Fast Leader Show podcast and president of Call Center Coach, the world's only virtual blended learning academy for contact center supervisors and emerging supervisors. He’s a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s CX Expert Panel, Advisory Board Member for Customer Value Creation International (CVCI), and Advisory Board Member for CX University.


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