Using Intelligence to Provide a Consistent Multichannel Experience


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Now that we have “Best Buy” in the UK, I have been watching with interest to see if they will repeat a clever advertising campaign running in the United States for the company’s “buy back” programme, which lets consumers trade in old devices for store credit when they are ready for an upgrade. The humorous ads feature consumers proudly purchasing what they believe is the latest technology only to have their excitement quickly dashed when they immediately discover a newer, more advanced product has already been released.

Part of the reason the ads work so well is that they so closely resemble the truth. I have certainly been on the negative side of buyer’s remorse, realizing that my newest geek gadget is out of date just weeks after purchase. The rate of innovation is such that consumers are constantly upgrading their technology to keep pace. Social compliance naturally plays a part here, but the reality is that each new generation of products brings new features, some which improve usability (battery life, screen size, number of pixels) whilst others re-define the way in which we use our new toys (apps, fast browser access, new form factors). It’s no surprise that businesses are finding themselves hard pressed to keep up with these technology changes, both internally from a corporate IT perspective (for example, the well documented slow migration away from Windows XP or the widespread use or rather lack of use of tablets) and perhaps more crucially their impact on the customer service experience.

It’s no revelation to comment that technology is changing the way in which customers engage with companies dramatically. In recent years, we have seen a shift from high street shop, to phone, to email, to IM, to social media, to smartphone applications. With this new technology at their fingertips, customers have become empowered to use these channels in an interchangeable way that is relevant to them. For example, with smartphone in hand a customer can just as easily call an inbound service line, as they could send an email, log onto a company website, post to a social media forum or access a company’s app.

The expanding capabilities of consumers has created a disconnect between the types of interactions customers want to have with companies and the types of interactions companies typically provide. From the customer’s point of view, these interactions are all connected, and as such they expect not only a consistent customer experience across all channels, but also one that takes into account who they are and their history of engagement with the company. Or to put it another way, each interaction, each communication has context and we expect that context to be maintained throughout each engagement. As humans, we do this routinely. If I interact with someone via the phone and then email, that email is viewed in the overall context of the total conversation, not in isolation.

Unfortunately, many businesses have yet to view interactions in this context. The result is too often a poor customer service experience across multiple channels, with the company running the risk of unsatisfied customers and lost revenue (through missed upsell, cross-sell opportunities or ultimately customer churn).

But appropriate use of technology can provide exactly this type of context- appropriate interaction, enabling businesses to provide a consistent, multichannel service experience to each and every customer.

This isn’t personalization for the sake of a token presentation veneer (for example, a “text to speech” customer’s name, which sometimes comes across as robotic sounding computer speech). This intelligent technology allows businesses to aggregate the customer information gathered from across all channels and apply to it a predetermined set of business rules (which can change rapidly, self-learn and adapt based on business KPI’s) and metrics to suggest a course of action that is personalized to who the customer is and how they have engaged with the company in the past. So if, for example, a customer calls every month to check their bank balance to make sure their salary has been paid, we can recognize this pattern and have the desired information ready for them at the beginning of the call saving the customer time. From there, the technology could take the service experience one step further and push out a proactive notification to the customer saving him the phone call altogether.

At the rate personal technology is advancing, it’s anyone’s guess how consumer interactions with companies will change in the next few years. But, amid these changes, one thing will remain the same: customers will continue to expect a consistent service regardless of channel preferences.

It’s time companies get smart about intelligence or run the risk of being left behind. Customers will not wait for those companies slow to adapt to this new technology, they’ll just take their business elsewhere.

To find out more about Convergys’ multichannel interaction solutions, click here.


  1. David, an excellent article. The ubiquity of smart devices and the need for organisations to manage the customer experience across all touch points, when the “consumer is King”, makes it even more critical to deliver an effortless customer experience.


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