Coping with channel fragmentation in the customer experience age

SAP Digital Interconnect director, head of product management, Meenal Prasad, and VP, Americas, Kris Hayes discuss how you can start reaching customers on the channels where they want to be reached

Connected phones TVsWe are undeniably now living in the age of customer experience. CX is projected to overtake product and even cost as the key brand differentiator by 2020, and customers are willing to spend a price premium of up to 16 per cent for a better experience.

But it’s also the case that connected customers are engaging with brands through more digital channels than ever before. Keep in mind that channels which are commonly grouped together under a single banner, like social, actually consist of a multitude of different platforms. Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp – these all come with their own opportunities and rules of engagement.

The risks of using the wrong channel
Every customer has their own preferred channel. This can depend on age, activity, location and what they are looking to achieve, but there’s an element of personal preference and urgency which means it’s never completely predictable. But get it wrong, and your CX will suffer.

For example, 49 per cent of customers prefer to receive support via SMS than a phone call. If the only support option you offer is a phone number, you’re essentially guaranteeing that half your customers will have a poor experience.

It’s no longer just a case of finding the best channel for your brand – but the one that’s best for the customer, at the moment they want to connect. This is a huge challenge: how can you possibly hope to anticipate every individuals’ wants and needs?

Finding the right channel, automatically
Leading multichannel engagement solutions utilize failover rules which are able to escalate and move conversations automatically between channels, like push, SMS and social, based on user preference, data connectivity, and historical response patterns. This is all handled through a single communication interface, providing a customer view which cuts across all channels.

Thresholds can be set by the enterprise, so that if a message cannot be delivered, or isn’t read or responded to within a certain time, the system will automatically carry over to the next most appropriate channel – and ultimately to SMS which, with its global availability and acceptance, is the ultimate failover channel.

Reaching customers on the right channel at the right time delivers superior digital engagement, boosts open and conversion rates, and reduces overall notification costs. And, of course, helps to improve that all-important customer experience.

So, if you want to start reaching your customers the way they’d like you to, learn more about multichannel engagement in the Experience Economy and read ‘Making Sense Of A Multichannel, Social World’, ‘Using Multichannel Digital Channels to Improve Critical Enterprise Communications’ and ‘Understanding the Complexity Of Messaging Channels and Digital Engagement’ or join the SAP Digital Interconnect Community.