Kristopher Friday, Principal Solutions Consultant at Zendesk, discussed the need to build toward an “organic channel” to make customer experiences meaningful and memorable.
Friday launched his thought leadership presentation at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum held in Boston on November 2 by stating, “You’ve probably all heard that a high percentage of customers will leave a brand if they’ve had a bad experience. My company just did a survey that found 93% of customers would be more satisfied and more loyal to that brand if a company does just one thing. I’ll tell you what that is shortly,” he promised.
“The customer experience bar is being set higher and higher,” noted Friday. “Customers want more from us, and they want it in three separate areas:”
• Responsiveness—everybody wants everything now.
• Transparency—a customer expects a company to know what they buy and how they buy.
• Empowerment—for both agents and customers.
“I’m going to focus on empowerment, specifically around channels. You have to be aware of all the channels you should be experiencing with your brand. So, how do you expand your channels?” he asked. “Looking at your demographics is one way to determine which channels of support you should offer. Here’s a surprising statistic: Although phone usage is down, nearly 30% of Gen Y (Millennials) say they prefer using the phone to other channels. This is why your channel mix must meet all of your customers’ expectations,” said Friday.
“Although phone usage is down, nearly 30% of Gen Y (Millennials) say they prefer using the phone to other channels. This is why your channel mix must meet all of your customers’ expectations.”
“Also, customers often use more than one channel, and their preference may vary depending on the situation. The strategy of matching a particular channel to a specific situation is called ‘right channel,’ which means getting your customer to the correct channel based on what they’re trying to do. That approach is dying. We’re moving toward what I like to call ‘organic channel,’ which means channels that grow with the customer based on their needs, demographics, and desires. We look at customers’ specific needs, what they’re trying to accomplish, their desires, how they most often communicate—texting, social, email, messaging—and how they access information—on their computer, watch, phone, tablet, etc. Knowing this will allow you to determine the correct channel, the organic channel—a channel that grows with the customer,” he said.
“The strategy of matching a particular channel to a specific situation is called ‘right channel,’ which means getting your customer to the correct channel based on what they’re trying to do. That approach is dying.”
“In terms of customer experience, there are steps you can take depending on your organization’s maturity level, which is often influenced by company size, resources, etc.,” explained Friday. There are three levels of this scale: high growth, achieving scale, and driving efficiency.
Friday outlined the critical steps involved in moving from one maturity level to another. In the high-growth phase, a company is likely using some of the following strategies:
• Matching customer support hours with the time zones in which its customers live.
• Measuring customer satisfaction and net promoter scores over time to determine where the company is doing well and where it can make improvements.
• Delivering a consistent customer experience on every channel the company offers.
• Offering support on the two most common channels—phone and email.
“When you’re at the achieving scale level, you’re likely using most of the strategies in high growth and should start focusing on the following,” Friday said:
• Customer segmentation based on behavior or profile and identifying trends and trigger-targeted communications or campaigns to get the right message in front of the right customer.
• Benchmarking by starting to measure your KPIs against industry standards or competitors.
• Business process outsourcing to deliver a consistent, always-on, support experience.
• Offering support on three channels—typically phone, email, and live chat.
“When you’re at the driving efficiency level, we assume you’re using most of the strategies covered so far and considering the following,” said Friday:
• Integrated support, so customers can receive help without ever leaving your product or app.
• Self-service to allow customers to answer their own questions through a self-service support system directly in your product.
• Dedicated subject-matter experts that craft support content dedicated to specific topics and areas of expertise.
In summary, Friday stated, “When you arrive at organic channel growth, you layer on AI to leverage knowledge and leverage analytics. This should be on a platform that’s API-driven and cloud-based.”
“When you arrive at organic channel growth, you layer on AI to leverage knowledge and leverage analytics. This should be on a platform that’s API-driven and cloud-based.”
ABOUT KRISTOPHER FRIDAY:
Kris is the Principal Solutions Consultant at Zendesk. Prior to joining Zendesk, he worked in the Customer Experience space for nearly 10 years as a consultant, advising organizations on how to up their game with customer engagements. In his spare time, Kris enjoys Latin dancing, snowboarding, running extreme races, and family time. He hates yard work. Kris graduated from Syracuse University and still bleeds orange.