Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

The Customer Experience Really is a Journey

October 07, 2014

You have to like the fact that the terminology used in describing the history and path of customer interactions with business seems to evolve almost but not quite as fast as the technology driving it.  Witness for example, how call centers became contact centers and how even contact centers may soon get displaced with a term like customer engagement center. Another example is how customer interactions are now customer experiences, and how even the recently developed term multi-channel is rapidly being displaced with the term omni-channel in discussions about the development and deployment of 360 degree touch points. 

One term, which is a welcome addition to the community vocabulary that has become increasingly popular is “Customer Journey.”  The reason I have become fond of it is simple. Regardless of devices and channels—phones, PCs, smartphone, tablets, SMS, chat, voice and not even video—as a customer I am contacting an organization with intent. That intent can range from a simple request for information to one that involves the resolution of an issue that might require multiple interactions on multiple channels with multiple people. That intent, as we all know, is the start of a journey, which is totally unique to us and the reasons we are reaching out. 

The interesting part of any and all of our collective and individual journeys is in fact that the context for them changes over time. What this means is that having the ability to capture this history of the journey has become vitally important to enterprises and customers for two big reasons.

First, we as customers don’t wish to have our time wasted. Thanks to technology, we expect things like shorter wait times, being directed to knowledgeable people and people who are empowered to make decisions that will get our issues resolved the first time and hopefully fast. We are familiar with, if not yet enamored by self-help capabilities such as web portals with FAQs, IVRs, email responses and interactions on social media. We also hate having to repeat ourselves every time we switch channels and/or people. We want our journey appreciated, and used to enable us to be engaged not one second more than we perceive is reasonable or necessary.

Second, having the ability to have visibility and access to every aspect of a customer journey is invaluable to those operating contact centers. Time really is money, and turning intentions and questions into answers efficiently and effectively has direct impact on the bottom line. This is true not just for customer retention purposes, but also for turning potentially dissatisfied customers into brand loyalists and advocates.  

In short, in an age where responsiveness is at a premium, having complete real-time visibility over every customer interaction, over ever channel until the journey ends is a win/win. It is particularly true for the enterprise, since the information gleaned can enable not just attempting to enhance the customer experience in reactive mode, but also creates proactive opportunities as well.     

How valuable and how to assure your organization is maximizing the opportunities presented by having the best data, in the best hands at the right time to hopefully exceed customer expectations will be the subject of an insightful webinar, From Reactive to Proactive: The ABC’s to Delivering A Modern Customer Journey, to be held October 9, 2014 from 2:00PM – 3:00PM (EDT). You are invited to join me, Kate Leggett. VP, Principal Analyst Serving Application Development & Delivery Professionals, Forrester Research Inc. and business development senior executive Jeff Thompson of LiveOps Inc. to learn how context-driven engagement monitors the customer journey in real-time, allowing you to engage with customers at the right moment, with the right response tailored to the opportunity.

Subjects to be covered include:

  • The 4 P’s to effortless customer service
  • How to detect patterns that are indicators of purchase intent or customer dissatisfaction
  • How to use real-time insights to engage customers with personalized, tailored responses
  • Best practices and real-world successes to guard against customer frustration as they navigate your multi-channel environment.

Your enterprise is somebody’s destination. It can either be a place where they feel they can end their trip with a pleasurable experience, or one that literally and figuratively forces them to go elsewhere. Having the right tools, along with the right people and processes, for being responsive and also getting ahead of the game by being proactive, has been and will be the keys to creating delighted customers in an age where the customer experience is an increasingly important part of establishing sustainable competitive advantage. 

Understanding why the term customer journey is so critical to your success going forward is a journey that if you have not already embarked on it, or if you wish to learn more, is a trip worth taking. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle