Effective Channel Shift Is Less about the Technology and More about the People It Affects.

Author:Whelan, Colin
Position::DATABASE AND NETWORK INTELLIGENCE: OPINION
 
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Winning the tech battle is important, but it is the human battle that needs the closest attention.

For many a business, encouraging customers to embrace newer, online-based communication channels is a key aim in plans to cut costs and increase business efficiency. In many cases, the discussion around how to implement effective channel shift centres on how to bring in the technologies and processes that make these new channels a reality. However, a more effective approach is to focus on the people that channel shift affects--the customers and employees of the business. This is according to Aspect Software.

The evolution of the customer service experience has seen the advent of a host of new ways for customers to interact with a business, with technology such as chatbots and automated self-service options becoming increasingly prevalent. While this transformation is proving to be instrumental in increasing customer choice, it cannot be expected to be a long-term success if customers or staff are not prepared for it.

Colin Whelan, Principal WFO Solutions Consultant at Aspect, said: "The fact that the number of channels available to businesses and their customers has grown so much in recent years is a real positive in terms of its potential to revolutionise the customer experience. But it's important to realise that while channel shift increases customer choice, it doesn't reduce customer demand, so simply switching a new channel on overnight won't work if your key stakeholders aren't ready or well-suited to it.

"For example, imposing a new channel such as webchat on a customer used to phone interaction, or introducing a new channel and expecting staff to be immediately conversant with it, will be highly likely to be met with scepticism or apathy."

For Colin, any attempts to implement channel shift need to be part of a wider, long-term, company-wide approach that emphasises upskilling of staff and a comprehensive understanding of what customers want, as well as removing siloes within the business so that channels can operate much more fluidly in conjunction with one another.

He added: "It's crucial not to jump head-first into new channels. Before making the move, plans should be in place behind the scenes to train staff so that their skills...

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