7 Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions


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In seven simple steps, eBusiness, Customer
Experience and Contact Center professionals can
right channel online customer service inquiries,
boosting sales and customer satisfaction while
reducing customer service costs.

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7 Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions

  1. 1. Getting it Right:Seven Steps toRight ChannelingCustomer InteractionsA Joint Whitepaper from IntelliResponse and OracleIn seven simple steps, eBusiness, CustomerExperience and Contact Center professionals canright channel online customer service inquiries,boosting sales and customer satisfaction whilereducing customer service costs.
  2. 2. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 2What is RightChanneling? “Right ChannelingRight channeling is an integrated business process is an integratedand technology strategy that enables organizationsto maximize the value from each customer service business processinquiry while minimizing its cost. New rightchanneling technologies – including dynamic and technologyengagement, intelligent self-service, virtual agents, strategy that enablesand live help – are available to help organizationsautomatically assess the potential value and organizations tocomplexity of each incoming inquiry before it is maximize the valuehandled, choose the right communication channel onthe fly, and escalate across channels to maximize ROI. of each customer service inquiry whileAt its core, right channeling is all about deliveringthe right information and service to the right minimizing its cost.”customer at the right time, via the channel oftheir preference. The benefits of a successfulright channeling strategy are significant, and canbe measured in increased revenue and customersatisfaction, as well as by significant reductions inmany service related costs.eBusiness, Contact Center and CustomerExperience executives, may find right channel tobe a daunting project. The key to getting started isto understand how to assess existing contact centerinefficiencies and choose the right technology,and implement the right process changes. Thisintroductory guide outlines the seven steps to rightchanneling, from analyzing your interactions,to implementing the right technology acrosschannels, to measuring and optimizing results.
  3. 3. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 3Why Right Channeling chat option. And, increasingly, they can just blast their question out into the social ether via Twitter– And Why Now? or Facebook – hopeful that a friend, follower or company representative will respond. With theRight channeling isn’t a new term or strategy. proliferation of intelligent options available, it isFor years, Customer Service departments have more important than ever for organizations to beattempted to deploy right channeling strategies to able to effectively “funnel” customers into specificoptimize traditional customer service interactions communication channels based on their needs(e.g. agent-assisted service vs. self-service). Today, and behaviors.however, right channeling is re-emerging, evolving,and re-asserting its importance as a strategy. Why? The Instant, Public ExposureBecause three significant marketplace trends are of Bad Service Experiencesconverging, creating a “perfect storm” for Contact (and the Resulting Impact onCenter and eBusiness executives. Sales and Satisfaction)The Growth and Proliferation In today’s social, inter-connected world, a badof New Online Customer customer service experience is no longer limitedService Channels to the impacted customer or prospective customer. Empowered customers who feel wronged byIn today’s cross-channel customer interaction customer service today can instantly broadcastenvironments, tech-savvy customers have an array their frustrations through social networks, websiteof communication options to choose from to forums, or bad ratings or reviews – damagingget answers to their sales and customer service corporate brands and directly impacting sales andquestions. They can call a toll-free number Net Promoter scores. The increasing adoption(which is, interestingly, often not their preferred of mobile devices such as smart phones, tabletscommunication channel). They can go online and or even the iTouch, makes such broadcastingself-serve via the next generation of self-service even easier, and more immediate. In response,and Virtual Agent technologies. They can also many Customer Experience departments areseek out or accept a chat or Click to Call option incorporating social monitoring and engagementto bypass interactive voice response (IVR) systems into their right channeling strategies, in orderand menus. They can search an online community to identify and “move” interactions out of publicforum (company- or customer-run). They can look forums into less visible, more personalized channels.for an SMS short code and text a question. Theycan even download the company’s mobile app toaccess a mobile self-service answer agent, or pullup their mobile Web site and look for a mobile
  4. 4. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 4The Continued Pressure to Right ChannelingReduce Contact Center Costs Market Drivers:Amidst Challenging Macro-economic ConditionsIn today’s challenging macro-economicenvironment, all lines of business in organizationsare being forced to reduce costs. Yet, as the numberof customer interaction channels increases,eBusiness, Customer Experience and ContactCenter professionals are facing a tidal wave ofinbound customer inquiries, increasing theirnet number of interactions and their associatedcost. Learning how to reduce the volume and costof customer interactions – in a way that doesn’tnegatively impact sales or customer satisfaction, orgive competitors an edge – is becoming a critical skill.
  5. 5. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 5Seven Steps to Step 2: Quantify the Cost of Customer InteractionsRight Channeling Estimate the total human and technology cost attributable to each communication channel. Include:Customers simply want a quick answer to theirquestion or solution to their problem. More than 1. Fully burdened agent costsjust reducing costs, right channeling customerinteractions can help you handle customer inquiries 2. Software and hardware costsfaster, reduce average wait times, lower response 3. Indirect costs such as training, IT and generaltimes, lift first contact resolution, increase sales and administrative maintenance.and customer acquisition, and increase customersatisfaction levels. If you do not know the cost associated to each channel, use the market averages inStep 1: Quantify the Volume of Figure 1 and multiply them by the amount ofCustomer Interactions inquiries or requests you receive.Start by estimating the number of inquiries youreceive in each communication channel: Step 3: Classify the Value of Customer Interactions1. How many customer service-related emails Classify all types of customer interactions you receive do you receive? (for example a sales inquiry, a billing inquiry, a change2. How many phone calls does your website of address, a password reset request, an order tracking generate to your Contact Center? inquiry, a technical support question, or a request to renew a service subscription) in terms of the value3. If you have an FAQ on your website, a virtual of those interactions. Classify each interaction type agent solution, or live chat, how many searches, as one of three “value buckets” (low value, medium queries or inbound chats are you generating value and high value) relative to how valuable these through each channel? interactions are to your business. Here are some key questions to consider as you classify interaction value:Right Channeling Tip: Average annualcustomer interaction channel totals vs. 1. Which inquiries require an immediate response,multiplying weekly or monthly totals to versus those that can wait?account for seasonal fluctuations that will 2. How many are informational in nature? (i.e couldskew your analysis. be handled by web self-service or an intelligent answer agent?) 3. Which inquiries are critical to building and maintaining a profitable customer relationship, versus those that are not?
  6. 6. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 6Step 4: Classify the Step 5: Create Your RightComplexity of Customer Channeling StrategyInteractions Once you’ve determined the cost of differentClassify all types of customer interactions you channels, and classified interaction types by valuereceive in terms of the complexity of those and complexity, you’re ready to right channel.interactions. Put each interaction type into one Based on your analysis, decide which customerof three “complexity buckets” (low complexity, inquiries to direct to which channel using costmedium complexity and high complexity). Here estimates in Figure 1 and recommended channelsare some key questions to consider as you classify in Figure 2. Here are some good rules of thumb:interaction complexity: • Low value and low complexity customer inquiries1. How many sources of information are required are best handled by low cost interaction channels to address the question? Is it a simple, single right such as Smart FAQs, self service tools and answer, or multiple sources or answers? virtual agents.2. What level and depth of agent expertise is • Medium value and medium complexity inquiries required to address each inquiry? are best handled by medium cost interaction channels such as online community forums,3. What level of customer information – both from virtual agents, email response and live chat. prior interactions and customer history as well as the customer’s current context – is required? • High value or high complexity interactions should be handled by more interactive and personal4. What level of interaction is required? Is it communication channels such as proactive chat, simple text information sharing, or is real-time Click to Call and Co-browse. communication and interaction required?Figure 2 can help suggest the right channels fordifferent levels of complexity.
  7. 7. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 7Step 6: Implement Your Right Step 7: Optimize Your RightChanneling Strategy Channeling StrategyTo effectively right channel all online customer Right channeling is not a one-time project – itservice interactions, you should implement your requires ongoing measurement and optimizationstrategy across both traditional and emerging to drive continuous improvement. With thechannels of interaction. interaction analysis you completed in Steps 1-4, you have a benchmark from which to measure the1. Start with your website – which is likely the impact of right channeling. After right channeling biggest driver of customer interactions. Using for three to six months, complete these steps again. Web analytics, call recordings, email/chat Pay close attention to usage and analytics from your transcripts and survey responses, identify the live help provider, and analyze transcripts from specific web pages, Web behavior, and referring each channel. Here are some good questions to ask traffic sources that drive a given level or type of to ensure an optimal right channel strategy. customer interaction. 1. Are you diverting the right types of inquiries to2. Deploy the right communication technology lower cost channels? for each interaction based on your value and complexity classifications. 2. Has your overall cost-per-contact been reduced?3. Ideally choose a right channeling solution that 3. How has the volume of inquiries and associated enables self-service business rules management cost in each communication channel changed? and the ability to escalate across channels without 4. Have your sales increased, remained flat, losing the continuity of the interaction. or decreased? 5. Have first-contact resolution rates increased or decreased? 6. Has customer satisfaction in each channel increased, remained flat, or decreased? Right Channeling Tip: Optimizing your right channeling strategy requires evaluating both the cost and value of interactions. Evaluate sales metrics (e.g. conversion rates and transaction values) satisfaction metrics (i.e. CSAT and Net Promoter score), as well as cost-per-interaction to ensure you’re optimizing the return on investment from each customer interaction.
  8. 8. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 8Conclusion:Right channeling is a simple strategy – it’s all aboutoffering the right customer service channel at theright time to maximize revenue and satisfactionwhile minimizing cost. Yet implementing thisstrategy correctly requires a dedicated crossfunctionalbusiness case – across marketing, customer experience,and contact center teams – to ensure the right businessprocesses and technology are put in place and the rightreporting and analytics are available to measure successacross multiple KPIs.Oracle and IntelliResponse:Right Channeling Done RightOracle and IntelliResponse have helped more than1,000 enterprise customers right channel theirinteractions across Retail, Financial Services,Travel, Consumer Products, Business & ConsumerServices, High Tech, and Education. Our integratedsolution – which includes Oracle ATG Live Help OnDemand, and Next Generation Multi-Channel Self Servicepowered by an intelligent tracking & targetingengine – provides everything you need to right channelyour interactions. Our service teams will work with youprovide the business consulting, training,implementation and optimization services to helpyou drive continuous improvement. When you’re readyto right channel, get in touch with your ORACLE orIntelliResponse account representative to learnmore about how to get started and build thebusiness case for right channeling.
  9. 9. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 9 *on average, a non technical telephone contact costs between $6-$12. A technical telephone contact **source: Oracle ATG client Data (20% AHT reduction and labor component corresponds to 70% of total costs) costs between $12-$25.
  10. 10. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 10
  11. 11. Getting it Right: Seven Steps to Right Channeling Customer Interactions 11For More Information For More InformationFor more information on cost effective ways to enhance For more information please visit www.oracle.com/atgcommercethe customer experience at your organization contact: 650-506-7000Mike HennessyIntelliResponse About Oracle Corporationmike.hennessy@intelliresponse.com Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) is the world’s most complete, open and integrated business software and hardware systems company. We develop,About IntelliResponse manufacture, market, distribute and service database and middlewareIntelliResponse enhances the multi-channel customer experience for software as well as applications software designed to help our customersbusinesses and educational institutions via its Instant Answer Agent, a manage and grow their business operations.question-and-answer software platform that allows web site visitors to askquestions in natural language, and get the “One Right Answer”, regardlessof the hundreds of ways the question may be asked.This industry leading On Demand software platform is used by bothconsumers and contact center agents. With more than 200 live, customerfacingimplementations answering 50 million+ questions with one rightanswer, IntelliResponse is the gold standard in first line customerexperience management.Some of the world’s most recognized corporate brands and highereducation institutions trust their customer experience management needsto IntelliResponse - including ING Direct, TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank,Penn State University, The Ohio State University, University of BritishColumbia and Harvard University Extension School.Copyright © 2011, IntelliResponse Systems Inc. All rights reserved.The trademarks identified herein are the trademarks or registeredtrademarks of IntelliResponse Systems Inc. or other third party.