Magazine

The cross channel experience

The majority of our projects address service experiences across multiple channels (web, face-to-face, telephone etc). We find that generally connecting or aligning the channels, rather than simply improving a channel, can improve the service. Designing the channels to work together builds on their strengths and prevents customers from falling through the gaps.

One of the key reasons we established Livework was that we had seen again and again a single channel project fail to reach its potential due to a disconnect with the other channels. A new website, for example, would sell customers a ticket but the call center would not be able to help when that process failed.

As we get better the landscape gets more complex

Twelve years on things have improved but we still find that service channels are created in isolation. In addition the number of channels organisations are using is growing to include mobile, social media and outsourced services creating a more and more complex landscape. Service design has the tools to help manage the complexity.

It is the connections between channels that make the difference

Cross channel at the right point in the river

In retail the discussion about bricks & clicks is as old as the Internet. But the key is not in having both. Rather, it’s how you integrate the two that really counts with customers. Depending on market factors, the right combination of web, store and delivery can delight or irritate customers with your approach.

Cross channel thinking helps channel shift

Another area we focus on is where an organisation aims to reduce costs through channel shift. This strategy is an understandable one but can cause unseen issues. A cross channel approach would consider the transition to and from the new channel and how parallel channels support shift, rather than loading the new channel with all the expectations.

No more channel conflicts

Cross channel gets really exciting when channels work together to create optimum customer experiences. More and more customers are online whilst on the phone to a service provider. Aligning these two – as we have done for insurer Gjensidige – can be really powerful. When an agent and the customer can see and discuss the same thing magic happens. This is a fundamentally different way of thinking about channels.

90% of the customers will always check a website before emailing or calling you

Small improvement to major alignments

Cross channel is a service mindset  – it recognises that customers do not stay in one channel and can be either delighted or irritated depending on the way channels work together (or not). The opportunity for businesses is to first make small connections that smooth the customer experience, and then to really align channels into an integrated customer experience.

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