It is now social media era for customers to express their dissatisfaction through social channels. When customers receive poor quality customer service from organizations, they take their dissatisfaction public through social media channels. They do not wait on the phone for a manager or supervisor to give an explanation for poor service. In this article, we cover how healthcare companies can create an integrated multi-channel service strategy in order to create higher service levels and increase efficiency while lowering costs.
4 steps process to enable customer service optimization
Step 1: Recognizing Digital Channels as Customer Service Channels
Most companies consider their customer service department to be their call center. In the internet age, there are many channels through which a customer obtains relevant information. They include customer portals, mobile applications, social media, email, SMS, Chat, IVR, and print media. All digital channels serve the customer as though they are individual representatives working 24 x 7. Organizations confining their digital channels to their portal team, IT team, e-marketing, and eservice desks are not going to be able to improve customer service and manage customer relationships effectively. Hence, the customer service department should include traditional as well as the digital channels in order to effectively service the customer.
Step 2: Information and Channel Readiness
Each customer service channel is an information channel for the customer, and each channel has its merits and deficiencies. Customer service teams need to ensure that the information presented in a particular channel is channel ready. For example, a claim inquiry on a customer-facing website can contain multiple navigation levels, such as summary and detail pages. However, due to the size of the screen on the mobile app, it may be important to refactor and prioritize information. The same information over IVR must be refactored for listening, and be chat, conveyed in a conversational method over chat. There may be over 1000 account-level pieces of information in a customer service software application. It is for the organization to recognize the relevance, prioritize the information, repackage the information, and deliver in a way the customer understands. Regardless of the access point, the customer expects higher service levels from each of the channels. Such service levels include response time parameters, field level help, and support time. Information, not packaged and delivered in the right way, causes the customer to utilize the higher cost channels to get their information. In our experience, web, mobile, email, and SMS cost less to build and operate, while IVR, chat, and the call center representative are higher cost channels. Customer service departments should recognize the value created in each channel. To realize a higher value from the higher cost channels, it is important to perform higher value functions in the higher cost channels. Customer service teams need to map the service functions performed against the access channels to create a value map of each channel. Collectively, the multi-channel strategy should become a part of the customer service strategy.
Step 3: Customer Relationship Management (Customer 360)
Another critical customer service component is to ensure that the channels are connected. When a customer is transferred from one service channel to another, it is important to recognize the fact that the customer has accessed another service channel. Asking the same information asked before reduces customer satisfaction and interferes in the long-term relationship with the customer. Every channel needs to act like a personalized representative, recording and analyzing the interaction, gently handing the customer over to the subsequent channel of interaction. When the channels are connected, it leads to higher service levels, and increased customer satisfaction. Additionally, when designing the customer 360 or the customer relationship management system, new measurement parameters need to be defined across the channels. Existing measurement parameters such as the Average Handle Time (AHT) may not hold true in the new environment. When companies do not adjust the measurement parameters for new digital and traditional channels, they operate in an environment of cognitive dissonance. A well-designed CRM strategy and a customer 360 strategy will help increase revenue by increasing the customer’s share of the wallet, optimizing the relationship across channels, and achieving higher service levels. The goal of CRM solution is to improve customer retention and customer loyalty.
Step 4: Customer Service Optimization Strategy
The previous steps put together creates a holistic customer service strategy. Customer service strategy is a critical component of the business strategy. Our framework recommends defining core business objectives and visions, understanding the complete list of capabilities required to achieve those goals, mapping the capabilities against the multi-channel approach, and creating a new measurement framework for recognizing success. Customer service strategies need to be reviewed and refreshed each year as business situations, and customer demands change. It is also critical to give time, usually 6 months, for each phase to take effect on business results. While planning the roadmap of capabilities, recognize the short term issues and long term objectives. Perform cost-benefit analysis prior to deciding on ‘cool’ features. While it is important to do competitive analysis and understand customer expectations, do not try to mimic your competition. Most customer service strategies should be self-sustaining through benefit realization in one to two years. Technology architecture across customer service channels should have reusability across channels. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for core components should be considered as a part of the technology execution. Review each channel function and ensure that it is future-proofed for volume, growth, changing demographics, and changing business scenarios. Some customer service channels such as, chat, email, and IVR are complex to synchronize with the traditional channels. However, with time, organizations reach maturity levels that help optimize the customer interactions across all the channels.
To summarize, companies need to recognize the key elements for customer service.
1. Recognize the digital and traditional channels as customer service channels
2. Refactor the information and make it relevant for the appropriate channel
3. Make the customer 360 and CRM a part of your customer service strategy
4. Enable a holistic customer service strategy
About Our Company:
Digital strategy Yoga LLC is a strategy and solutions company that uses Digital Strategy Yoga™ framework to build digital transformation strategies for enterprises. We help our clients reimagine and reinvent their business models for the new digital age. For more information, click here. .