Article | August 12, 2020
Collaboration is at the heart of Agile, and we’ve all experienced the benefits of face-to-face conversation as the best means of conveying information. In SAFe we take this to the next level with PI Planning, a face-to-face event for all members of the ART to align to a shared mission and vision.
Article | August 12, 2020
It seems like just yesterday that the customer service industry began transitioning from a multichannel to an omnichannel mindset.
It was a shift backed by data—lots of it. According to Marketing Week, 15 years ago the average consumer used two touchpoints when making a purchase and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today, consumers use an average of almost six touchpoints with nearly 50% regularly using more than four.
But, a mindset shift is only part of the equation. For years, many companies struggled to cobble together the best customer experiences they could. They were sold on the idea of omnichannel engagement, but their operations didn’t back it up — what use are all the channels in the world if your customer’s story and data are kept in silos?
Cut to everyone heralding the premature death of omnichannel. New buzzwords came out like “channel-less” and “harmonized retail” (for real). But these words all pointed to the same thing: the need for a CX solution that puts the customers above the channel, and harnesses technology to give agents the tools and visibility to deliver deeper customer care.
Digital omnichannel is the next word in customer experience. Here’s what it means and how to put it to work.
What is Digital Omnichannel?
At its core, the digital omnichannel promise is simple; it means supporting customers effectively and cohesively across all digital channels. In customer service, digital omnichannel effortlessly blends digital touchpoints to form a unified view of the customer. Agents can view every interaction that a customer has had with the company, no matter the channel of origin, from a single console. This visibility lets them create a cohesive, deeply personalized customer profile that enables higher quality service.
By combining the information gathered from channels like live chat, SMS, social media, and more with pre-existing data found in customer databases or CRM systems, companies can eliminate the blind spots and roadblocks that result from siloed customer service systems and channels for a frictionless and more successful customer journey.
Why Adopt Digital Omnichannel?
In theory, digital omnichannel aligns perfectly with the existing philosophies of many companies, which are to serve customers quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Here are some of the ways that digital omnichannel is helping companies meet their customer service goals and drive operational efficiency:
1. Optimized agent capacity
For agents, digital omnichannel engagement means simpler customer communication and greater ease of use. No more social media queries getting sent to the marketing team, who then emails them to customer service. No more shared inboxes. With a unified view of the customer across all channels, agents can resolve queries more easily, increasing their overall capacity.
2. Increased customer satisfaction
Customers expect agents to have access to their whole story when they reach out for support. According to a survey conducted by UBM, 75% of participants cited having to repeat themselves as their biggest issue when communicating with a brand. With digital omnichannel, agents have both the tools and the context they need to satisfy customers and improve KPIs such as first contact resolution rate (FCR) and average handle time (AHT).
3. Reduced costs
Improving customer satisfaction can indeed increase revenue—but it can also reduce costs. According to McKinsey, brands that improve the customer journey see their revenue increase by 10 to 15% while also lowering costs by 15 to 20%.
4. Increased agent satisfaction
When a channel becomes secondary to the customer experience, it also becomes secondary to the agent experience. According to McKinsey, companies that invest in their customer experience also see an improvement in employee engagement by 20% on average.
How Do You Adopt Digital Omnichannel?
Once you understand digital omnichannel, the next step is to devise a plan to put it into action. There are three practical steps to building your plan:
1. Identify your channels
At this point, chances are you already know which channels your customers want and expect (not sure? Ask them). Here are the top digital channels we recommend:
• Live chat
• Ticketing and email
• Social media
• Knowledge base
These channels cover both your real-time and “anytime” communication bases. They also provide enough self-support cushion to take the pressure off your agents in times of high-volume or after-hours support requests.
2. Create a digital roadmap for your customers’ journey
Once you have selected your channels, it’s time to create your customer experience map. Ask yourself who your customers are, where they are coming from, and what actions you want them to take. Break down your key milestones and consider how you can guide your customers through those milestones using your various digital touchpoints and channels. Consider the role of your website, social channels, live chat, knowledge base, mobile chat, and more, in moving your customer from awareness to loyalty. With digital omnichannel, you will be able to effortlessly watch them move through these stages as you collect data on their engagements.
3. Choose your technology
Like omnichannel before it, digital omnichannel is little more than a nice theory unless your operations back it up. So, how do you make your customer service operations digital omnichannel-friendly?
You don’t want to spend resources trying to cobble it together yourself because that will introduce a technical price that isn’t worth it. The ideal digital omnichannel solution will integrate with your other core business systems, including CRM, and will scale as your company grows and new technologies and channels are introduced. Agent Assist is the perfect tool to optimize agent efficiency and productivity whilst ensuring accuracy every time. Agent Assist monitors your live chats, understands the questions being asked, and suggests the answers from your knowledge base, canned messages and chatbot intents. Within a double-click of the mouse, your agent can choose and send the most relevant answer. Fast, accurate and easy.
The right solution should also have top-notch routing, prioritization, and analytic capacities. Tools such as intelligent routing ensure that your customer’s inquiry gets to the right person at the right time, with the flexibility you need to define your own unique routing procedures. Being able to segment your customers your way—by geography, historical sales, industry, and more—will further help you offer a more specialized and effective customer service program.
On the analytics side, you’ll want to be able to set the right KPIs, keep close tabs on them, and learn from what’s going on so you can tweak and improve how you’re delivering.
A great customer experience isn’t merely about implementing more channels. It’s about making it easier for your customers to contact you when and where they want. It’s about how the stories gathered across those channels are appropriately unified. And it’s about equipping your agents with everything they need to create an ongoing cycle of deeper customer understanding and better service
Take your time to research an effective digital omnichannel solution that matches your needs, and to carefully plan out your digital customer journey. You can’t cut corners when building a great customer experience. Fortunately the rewards of thoughtful and well-implemented digital omnichannel engagement will last for years to come.
Article | August 12, 2020
It’s common for brands to become stagnant, rooted in their ways and too set on a specific course which restricts their ability to adapt to change. It is the classic example of the “That’s the way we do things around here” mentality.
But over time, competition increases, markets develop and consumer needs shift. Consequently, very few industries have remained static over the past year let alone the last decade, which has created an urgent need for businesses to evolve.
This notion is backed by Matthew Hayes, Managing Director of Champions (UK) plc, a strategy-led growth agency in the brand, digital and communications space. In this piece, he explains how digging up a business’ roots can actually help sow the seeds for a successful future.
Letting go of your roots
Resistance to change is one of the greatest barriers to a business’s long-term success. This resistance is often the result of a business becoming too attached to its roots, which can sometimes be so deep that they begin to act as an anchor, weighing the business down rather than enabling its growth.
These roots can be categorised as values, goals and characteristics of a business that define how it operates, the messages it communicates, the way in which it conveys them, as well as how consumers perceive the brand.
But as times change, it is common for business roots to become outdated and unsuitable for the current commercial climate. And as a result, businesses begin to face difficulties in keeping customers engaged and in turn, achieving a profitable financial return. To see this in practice, we only need to look at the demise of some the biggest named brands in recent times.
For example, the Arcadia Group is one of the latest victims of digital transformation, a trend that has been gradually impacting the retail space in recent years, and that has only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The digital shift has been led due to the need to meet changing consumer expectations and behaviours, with online sales are increasing year on year, and even more customers are expected to be shopping with a digital-first perspective following the pandemic and its related disruption.
Instead of responding to the change in the market and embracing online opportunities, businesses operating as part of Arcadia Group continued to do things as they had always done. And it was this lack of focus on their digital offering, particularly when compared to competitors such as PrettyLittleThing, boohoo and Asos, that ultimately resulted in their commercial downturn.
Although not so great for the individuals effected in the process, the case offers other businesses a vital lesson in the importance of letting go of outdated roots and adapting to change.
Taking a risk
But due to the deep-rooted nature of such characteristics, there is a perceived risk involved with letting them go. It’s understandable as it will no doubt involve a significant change to business as usual. But, any risks can be mitigated if businesses take a strategic approach in their decision to make change.
For instance, by undertaking branding exercises, such as a brand audit and the formalisation of a value proposition, stakeholders can gain an in-depth understanding of the business’s current position, its offering and their consumers’ expectations, through the creation of audience personas and its market via detailed industry insights and competitor analysis. From here, there will be a clear view of which aspects are not appropriate for the current commercial landscape, and where there will be opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labour once change has been implemented.
Once a new proposition has been established in theory, it then needs a detailed project plan to role it out in a practice, combined with an effective communications strategy. Taking a look at an example from our own experience. We rebranded Delta Global, a packaging provider for luxury retailers that, at the time, was doing great things with regard to innovation, technology and sustainability but was failing from a branding perspective to communicate its capabilities in those areas.
Our branding exercises helped to redefine the business’s values, creating a four pillar model that communicates them much more clearly. Formed of innovation, sustainability, luxury and ecommerce, clients and stakeholders can now, at a glance, understand exactly what the business does and how it does it.
And to ensure the business and its position only benefited from the activity, it was complemented with a robust communications strategy. This gained the brand exposure in industry-leading titles, including Forbes, WWD and The Sunday Times, as well as a greater presence across social media channels.
This helped mitigate the risk of unsuccessful change through use of effective communication targeted at new audiences, existing customers and internal stakeholders, who now understand the new direction but also be on board with it.
Is change always necessary?
In short, no. Change for the sake of change can actually be just as damaging to a brand as staying consistent. This is because sometimes, the deep-rooted characteristics of the business form a vital part of the audience’s understanding of the brand and its offering.
This might include family-run business values or branding elements that are connected to the location a business was founded in, for example. Often, it’s unlikely that these elements will be hindering the business’s growth potential, but are instead, adding value to it by acting as a USP and differentiating it from the competition.
However, in these cases, while the message does not need to change, the way in which it is communicated might, as often, it is the methods of message delivery that become outdated. For example, this might mean making better use of online marketing channels such as social media, content creation, SEO and email promotions to support both online and offline activities.
It’s all about making well thought out changes in order to remain relevant, rather than constantly altering your messages and offerings, which could actually cause confusion and disconnect between the brand and its consumers.
Ultimately, businesses need a solid footing upon which they can build on. But while these foundations are important for business growth, like a tree’s roots, some often go off at a tangent and become stuck in the past, anchoring the brand to where it used to be rather than allowing it to move forward into the future.
Put simply, if you don’t evolve, you die.
Article | August 12, 2020
Email marketing is still a relevant tool in 2020. However, you must use it creatively. Else, your email will get buried in the inbox. Keep in mind that an average user receives 126 emails each day. With that in mind, it can be challenging to reach out to your audience with email marketing. Despite that, most marketers are still using it and getting the most ROI from this tool. One of the reasons is that most customers want a brand to provide them with information through email. Furthermore, consumers said that their purchase decisions are determined by marketing emails they received. Then, 49% of users are saying that they want to receive promos through email from their favorite brands.