The impact of opti-channel on your customer service organization 

Your channels have never been mixed this way 

There are a rising number of channels through which customers can interact with a company leading to a change in channel mix. Even before Covid, this change in channel mix was running at the highest speed in history. Covid-19 has activated the ‘turbo mode’ on the channel mix shift that is happening in companies right now, with the closure of physical offices & stores and the largest digital training course we ever experienced. This is affecting your internal organization as well.  

  • How to find the right balance in servicing your customer and achieving (cost) efficiency in your internal organization?  
  • How to manage your business model with your outsourcer?  

Several customer service managers from large Belgian companies (Proximus, KBCMediahuis, Corona direct, Farys, De StroomlijnRandstad, Colruyt GroupLuminus)  shared their thoughts, impact and challenges in a round table organized by Customer Contact & Möbius.   

Suzanne Schöningh
Suzanne Schöningh

Hereby an overview of the most important conclusions: 

Digital transformation & customer experience  

Several participants have taken steps, or are taking steps, towards digitalization of interactions through the setup of a customer portal, automatization of interactions and ‘easy’ tasks, offering new products & online services responding to changing customer needs, …   

As a result, a customer can use multiple channels when interacting with customer service. Consequently, the organizations acknowledge that the follow up of the end-to-end customer journey becomes more complex. This complexity increases even further if external partners support the customer service teams.  

The participants state that their customer servicemainly focus(ed) on ‘Efficiency KPI’s’ or ‘Capacity KPI’s’They refer to those efficiency KPI’s as KPI’s that give insight in the (outsourced) contact volume, average handling times, service levels, … Although these remain relevant, they are seeking to reinforce these with ‘Experience KPI’s. These allow them to better monitor how the customers are experiencing the overall journey.   

Some strategic initiatives have been taken to implement and monitor the consistency of the experience throughout channels, and improve the digitalization of transactions:  

  • Determine the end-to-end customer journey and the relevant touchpoints. Data is your basis, make sure to connect the dots.    
  • Gain insight in how many customer have a straight through process without any hick-ups, fall-outs, additional interventions or repeated contacts  
  • Monitor the three most important customer metrics: customer satisfaction, customer effort and the Net Promotor Score (more information about the difference between these customer metrics can be found here
  • Monitor retention & investigate why customers have left you 
  • Support your operators by installing co-bots or also called “augmented guidance” solutions throughout the complex journeys

The business model of outsourcing partners in customer service 

The participants are convinced that with a successful digital transformation, customer satisfaction increases and costs reduce. But how can you involve your external customer service partner in this transformation? This not easy because the external partner addresses most of the time only a part of the journey.  

Current collaboration models with outsourcing partners are typically volume driven, where outsourcers are being rewarded by providing flexibility to reply to sudden volume changes. Their employee capacity is driven by those volumes in combination with average handling times and service levels. 

With a higher focus on customer experience and  ‘easy’ tasks, also typically outsourced, being automated, there is an increasing need for alternative business models. Outsourcers, should participate in managing the end-to-end journey. The volume drive KPI’s should be complemented with KPI’s that support the rewarding of quality and their contribution in delivering a consistent experience. As such, new challenges arise for both parties such as training and knowledge management, rewarding, new types of skills, the coordination of activities between bots & humans, …  

How do you experience this within your customer service? We are looking forward to capture your feedback through our research that will soon be launched. Results will be discussed on the customer contact congress. 

Interested to learn more?

Read our mini guide on opti-channel