The multi-channel customer

We live in a multi-channel world where channel-surfing customers hit many touch points before completing their task. Mobile technology is creating a new breed of customers who expect an almost instant response to their questions or feedback. Businesses which manage to understand customer behaviour across all channels and focus on real-time responses are likely to be the big winners in the next decade.

Focus on everything

The total customer experience is what really matters. It is very hard to improve this by only focusing on a single element, such as tasking sales people to make more calls or improving website usability. Customer experience needs to be consistent across every possible touch point.

The new customer journey goes way beyond sales calls and website usability. We are able to view our emails at any time of the day or night, from anywhere in the world, to follow key people and companies on Twitter and LinkedIn and to research and find out recent news about the product or its competitors. If one element is inconsistent; be that the sales process, the quality of the product, or the website, it stands out. Ironically, improving one element may highlight problems in other areas.

Complain on Twitter for an instant response...

The best way to get your complaint sorted out by a company that is driving you mad……tweet them! A few years ago you might have had a string of irate phone calls followed by a letter to the company. But, today it seems that 140 characters are doing the job of a thousand words: brands feel much more pressure to respond to public customer feedback.

Companies as diverse as airlines, airports, banks, travel agencies and retailers are using Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Facebook, to resolve consumer complaints in hours or even minutes rather than the usual days, weeks, or months. Twitter is becoming so widely used for complaints that companies, from KLM to RDC Aviation, have Twitter accounts specifically to deal with customer feedback and questions. KLM has really embraced Twitter and even publicly share on their profile page how long it will take them to reply to customer tweets.

The following tweet from a customer to KLM is a great example of how quickly questions can be answered using social media. KLM replied straight back to the customer asking her to send her booking code in a private message so they could help her and also take the conversation offline.

That is amazing customer service and hopefully afterwards she will tweet about the positive experience she has had; or recommend the airline to her ‘real life’ social network.

Getting the customer journey right is critical to business success

Companies that provide excellent customer journeys across all channels are top performers (for example Amazon, Salesforce and KLM). Understanding the diversity of these customer journeys is a significant challenge and with all the touch points the customer hits, you not only need good data, you also have to find the patterns between all of the touch points to see where the most common leakages and opportunities are.

Are customers in the research phase on one platform passed over to another to complete the purchase, for example? Are particular customer segments behaving differently? Particularly in the travel industry, ‘in-transit’ passengers are more likely to be using their phone than desktop; but what is the impact of international data roaming charges?

Asking these questions will enable companies to identify and improve the overall experience, as customers flow through the process from platform to platform.

By Jennifer Turner Connect on LinkedIn