The value of having a single view of a customer at your fingertips

Written by Michael Smith on the 18th of May, 2015

We would all like to think that retailers, banks and utility providers see having a single view of what is going on in our lives in relation to goods and services they provide as paramount.

However, having chaired a round-table discussion at Customer Focus Live last week, I was surprised to learn that this is not altogether the case.

The topic for discussion was ‘why consolidating legacy and digital Customer Service channels is the key to improving Customer Experience’. A subject chosen because it’s evident from my own experiences that the ‘left’ and ‘right’ hand do not always know what each other is doing.

During the discussion which included blue-chip utility, telecommunications and financial service providers, it became apparent that customer service functions are reticent about merging digital and legacy functions.

Why so...? My take is there is perhaps a misconception that customer care functions cannot deal with multi-channel communication and that different teams are needed to deal with different inbound sources.

Which is a fallacy as agents can deal with any enquiry, whether from chat, email, telephone or social if they are properly empowered. Okay, in respect of social you may need ‘champions’ to deal with this but on the whole, your agents are customers themselves and use ipads and smart-phones to manage their own lives.

If we accept that changing the metrics from ‘calls answered’ to ‘agent experience, customer effort & empathy and complaint resolution time’ requires a multi-channel approach to delivering service, then why cling onto operating digital and legacy channels separately.

Technology like Zendesk allows inbound channels to be consolidated into a single platform. Contact centre inbound call traffic, email, chat and social, can all be integrated or provided within the platform. You can even integrate tools to measure Net Promoter Scores. And apart from a wholesale improvement in customer experience, it will also reduce cost.

Once you have single view of a customer, you are in a far stronger position to be able to pre-empt enquiries and offer self-management or an up-to-date agent knowledge base to support positive dialogue and resolution from the same agent, in any channel.

So maybe its time to stop talking ‘digital’ and ‘legacy’, and start thinking more about creating a single view of your customers.


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