Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week Ian Truscott talks omnichannel customer experience - or rather how not to do it...
I’m tired of getting texts and emails that either explicitly say “do not reply”, or just ignore you if you do, sent by organizations which think that this is an omnichannel customer experience. It isn’t.
Hang on, let me correct myself. I’m wrong - it is an omnichannel customer experience, it’s just a shit one. It’s often an experience built around augmenting the call centre, driving you to a phone experience.
I’m not ranting from the make-believe world of the industry goldfish bowl pontification, I am going through the fun times that is a car insurance claim. And while I have found that when I have spoken to my insurance company or any of the folks involved in this particular life event, they are lovely people (not always the case), but I’d really rather not have to speak to them at all. I’d really rather have this charming and efficient conversation elsewhere.
You texted me, you have my attention.
You emailed me, you have my attention.
Now let’s chat.
But no, the texts and emails all push me into calling them.
Maybe I am multitasking, maybe I am already on the phone, but I am now engaging with you. So let’s do this.
Don’t text me to say that I missed a call to confirm my car pick up and I need to call YOU, let's confirm it, right here, right now on the channel which YOU chose for me and on which I am engaging with you.
As a consumer, it is easy to think that these multichannel reminders are about you, that they are for your convenience and follow the mantra of engaging you on the channel of your choosing. How very 21st century, how so very modern.
It’s therefore all the more disappointing when you discover that it really isn’t about your preferences at all. It’s a broadcast message and to have an actual conversation you will have to deal with them on their terms by calling them. Dial the number, press the right set of options and please hold. How so very 1970’s.
OK, so I am not a huge fan of calling people so this is not an experience I would enjoy anyway, but some people do. And it‘s not just me, that shiny tide of the much studied millennial is often cited as having an aversion to the phone ( like in this one article of many ), and these guys are important to just about every commercial organization.
However, even if we ignore my convenience or providing a fresh generation of consumers with a customer experience which they will prefer, it makes NO sense for the organization providing the experience.
There are so many reports that show the efficacy of looking beyond the telephone to providing service digitally that it’s almost a cliché to mention it. Even using simple techniques like SMS can be 10-20% of the cost of a call ( according to ICMI, the Incoming Calls Management Institute – yes, it is a thing) and once you get yourself tooled up for SMS/chat then you (and your consumer) can reap the rewards of automation. Add to that maybe a bit of social media service or a little AI and a virtual assistant, and you’ll discover that 90% of what were once calls are now happy digital conversations and your consumers are not hanging around on the phone, but getting on with their lives.
And yet, I can’t reply to the message. I am pressing 6 for “current claim” and hearing “please hold”…