With today’s complex customer journeys frequently shifting between digital and voice channels, it can be challenging to determine customer success or identify how to deliver the most seamless, hassle-free resolutions. More than ever, it’s necessary to have the right strategies and tools to provide the omni-channel level of service that can support customers wherever they decide to go on their journey.
To better understand this challenge, we caught up with Walter Lash, Director of Business Consultation at VHT, to learn more about how businesses can shift away from looking at siloed interaction data and instead towards understanding the bigger picture by evaluating blended information derived from interactions across every channel.
Bay Leaf Digital: Providing optimal customer experience is a top priority for contact centers. In today’s omnichannel world, how do you define customer success?
Walter: From our perspective, customer success is about helping each customer. This means enabling customers to achieve a complete resolution in as few steps as possible with minimal effort.
Would first contact resolution be a good metric?
Walter: Measuring first contact resolution is important. However, it’s important to look at it from a broader, omnichannel perspective. As you start to dig deeper into the omnichannel world, look at the interactions beyond just the immediate contact center live agent or chat interaction. It is really the steps required to complete any inquiry whether it be as simple as checking your balance to as complicated as resolving a serious problem.
Can you give an example of what might happen in an omnichannel environment as a customer tries to connect with an organization?
Walter: Most customers nowadays start their search for any type of resolution in a channel that is not voice related. They may start on a mobile app or website, or maybe access both. However, if you can’t resolve your concern on a self-service channel and need to transition to a live service option, it’s important that the information about the interaction is transferred along with the customer. This enables even the most complex interactions to be resolved effortlessly, with a live agent interaction.
What should a company be measuring in terms of omnichannel interactions?
Walter: Most companies don’t have a good way of coordinating interactions into metrics across multiple channels. Within many organizations, everything is siloed. In other words, mobile developers have the mobile channel. Web developers have the web responsibility. And, contact center folks have the contact center. There is really nothing knitting it all together. Organizations need a holistic view of each interaction from start to finish. Sometimes, the start of that interaction can be as basic and passive as a letter that they received in the mail, or it can be something very active like a text notification about a credit card being declined.
What would an omnichannel metric look like?
Walter: It would have the context of where the customer has been and what they are doing. The key is having the ability to use that context to determine what the next best action is for both the customer and the organization. It also requires an understanding of the customer profile, what the customer prefers, what they are trying to resolve and what is the best way to resolve the issue.
In this omnichannel age, how can a company measure first contact resolution?
Walter: With first contact resolution, measuring can be highly challenging or as basic as an agent self-reporting. Yet, most of the time, it is siloed to specific channels of interaction. So, voice is voice, web is web and mobile are mobile. First contact resolution is measured within those silos. If we can break out of those silos and look at who, for example, was on the mobile app and ultimately transitions to a live service call, there is a deeper understanding of the entire string of events. The entire contextual event is one item that needs to be resolved.
Let’s take the agent perspective on this problem. What are ways that an agent performance is measured?
Walter: Today, agent performance is typically measured on your contact center metrics. Average hold time, calls per interval and even first contact resolution are all standard metrics. It is rare that metrics are tied directly back to customer satisfaction. There is usually some quality component, but it is usually done based on analytics around recorded interactions or maybe some live coaching sessions.
In an omni-channel contact center, if an agent is expected to be able to handle chats or emails during down time, how do they get measured?
Walter: Organizations must think about how they normalize the data they view. If you have buckets of transactions from multiple channels, and each of them requires a different type of measurement, blending that information to create a master efficiency score is key. Presently, it is still rare that businesses are tying anything together beyond the traditional contact center metrics to omni-channel agents.
How do traditional metrics need to be adjusted so that you can account for channels that don’t require real-time interaction?
Walter: I think we are starting to see a shift in the marketplace towards understanding customer loyalty and satisfaction as it related to your brand. For live and non-live interactions, ultimately what you care about is whether the customer is satisfied, and did they resolve their issue as quickly as possible. From that perspective, there is not too much difference between these two types of interactions.
Can you talk a little bit about how VHT is trying to support omni-channel customer journeys, especially in terms of context?
Walter: We started 20 years ago managing customer experiences with our Callback products. We wanted to create a better way to have interactions with customers in a more efficient and delightful way. As we have matured as a company, the world is moving to the omni-channel marketplace. This is where information exists everywhere, and companies and consumers want to interact with customers across multiple channels. So, we began introducing products that allow transitions from one channel to another, while preserving context. Customers can transition from web or mobile into the contact center if necessary, and not have to start over in the IVR. We have grown from that first step and have since taken bigger steps with our Navigator products which preserve context across any interaction channel. And, it does not even need to be an interaction channel. We gather information across every channel and use this information to recommend a next best action. The ability to look across multiple channels, gather all that information and then make decisions based upon that context really provides new opportunities for our customers to really deliver some special customer experiences.
How can an organization go about measuring improvements as a result of using a leading-edge product such as Navigator?
Walter: With our Navigator products, one of the big things about them is with all of the additional context, it allows you to create a thread that stitches the entire interaction together. Navigator creates that thread that allows you to stitch all that information together and so when we talk about measuring customer success from an omni-channel perspective, it is really about whatever our companies decide to use.
This is great information, Walter. Thanks for taking time out of your day to talk to us about the advantage of omni-channel analytics and how VHT Navigator helps contact centers analyze and support omni-channel customer journeys.
If you’d like to learn more about VHT Navigator and how it can enable your business to guide customers as they move across channels, check our latest article on Navigator.