Engineering Continued Success in Omni-Channel Customer Care: Keep an Eye Out for Emerging Channels

Our previous post highlighted how best-in-class customer care organizations ensure consistency when serving clients across different touch-points. We noted that success in omni-channel customer care is not only about delivering seamless messages across different channels; it also requires companies to use the right touch-points to interact with clients. In this post, we’ll highlight how the best-in-class accomplish this goal, as well as ensure that they successfully integrate emerging channels within their customer experience management (CEM) channel-mix.

Findings from Aberdeen’s March 2014 The Business Value of Integrating the Contact Center within your Omni-Channel Strategy study shows that leading contact centers are 72% more likely than their lower performing counterparts to have a formal process for measuring how interactions through specific channels impact customer care outcomes. Execution of this activity is enabled by first determining the key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to the organization’s CEM objectives, and then measuring how the interactions through each touch-point impact these KPIs. Findings from this process help organizations understand if they utilize each channel effectively. These insights are also used to improve customer care activities executed through specific channels – especially if these channels yield sub-par performance gains.

As noted in the title of this post, engineering successful omni-channel customer care programs also requires firms to constantly keep an eye out for emerging channels. For example, Aberdeen’s Social Customer Care: Steps to Success in 2014 study shows that the adoption of social media by contact centers has increased more than four-fold between 2010 (12%) and 2014 (58%). Similarly, while only 30% of companies within our The Business Value of Integrating the Contact Center within your Omni-Channel Strategy study report using live chat as part of their customer care programs currently, 39% of the respondents indicated that they are planning to incorporate it within their CEM programs.

Mobile touch-points are another area many omni-channel contact centers are focused on. Mobile itself is not a channel. It refers to organizations serving clients through modalities where the consumers can interact with the business through a mobile device (e.g. tablet, smart phone or even wearable technology devices). Examples to mobile modalities include text messages, mobile applications and mobile websites. Companies use these touch-points to varying degrees, but overall, observation from our research indicates that there is a growing trend among contact centers to serve clients through mobile modalities.

The average number of channels companies use to interact with customers has changed from five in 2012 to six in 2013 to nine in 2014. This validates that the value in emerging channels is not a myth, but a reality – one that contact centers must address. We recommend companies regularly monitor client needs and wants through voice of the customer programs to determine the specific channels their buyers prefer to interact with the business. This will help organizations remain abreast of any changes in customer expectations, as well as identify any emerging channels used by the customer base. Organizations with this process will ultimately be the ones who will succeed in the long-run when operating in an omni-channel marketplace.

Omer Minkara

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Omer Minkara is the Research Director leading the Contact Center & Customer Experience Management research within Aberdeen Group. In his research, Omer covers the Best-in-Class practices and emerging trends in the technologies and business processes used to enhance customer experience across multiple interaction channels (e.g. social, mobile, web, email and call center). Omer’s research is widely consumed by senior-level Customer Care, Marketing, Sales and Service executives. He has published numerous industry research papers, which are used by executives worldwide to build and nurture strategic customer engagement programs. Omer also speaks frequently with global decision makers to discuss their customer management activities.