As customer service has become more complex, it has become more difficult for retailers to capture and work with a single view of their customer. The explosion in channels over the past five years means that customers will often be communicating with companies using Twitter or Facebook, or via a review on a rating website, rather than just calling the customer helpline.
This has led many customer service experts to talk about the retail omnichannel as a target state – moving on from just being able to handle all the various channels customers want to use to a situation where then can be blended into a single service channel.
A good example is how a customer might call a company after previously emailing about a problem and possibly also sending a tweet. If the customer has to explain their problem from the start then that may lead to frustration – even anger. If the agent can see on their system that this customer has been in touch recently via two different channels with details on the earlier communications then it will make the call run far more smoothly.
What is really needed is a holistic view of all interactions between the customer and the organisation. It could be via electronic communications, email or social media, or in-store. However it takes place, you should know everything about how the customer has interacted with your organisation.
But the reality is that most in-store employees don’t have information on customers from the contact centre, or from the team managing social interactions and vice versa. We know what is needed to improve so there is a single view, but it’s a difficult process for most retailers because all these systems and processes are different, unconnected, and managed by different teams.
In a retail utopia there would be a single button that any employee can push and information about the customer in front of them would appear, including their recent interactions and the sentiment they generally use – are they often complaining or praising the company?
This single view is not easy to achieve, but as more complex analysis tools become available it is possible to achieve more than ever.
Leave a comment here or tweet me on @brownsourcing and I would be happy to talk about how close the reality is getting to the utopian vision.
Photo by – licensed under Creative Commons