Communication Channels: Customers Want It Their Way

Sep 20, 2018 • Featurescontact centremobile workforce managementmplsystemsPaul Whitefield serviceIFSService ManagementService TriageSoftware and Appssoftware and apps

As humans, we communicate as readily as we breathe and eat. Whichever generation we are born into the desire to relate to the peer group we grow up with remains a constant. The difference lies in the communication technology at our disposal. in this the first part of a new series of excerpts from the latest white paper from IFS we take a look at how communication is changing and technology is evolving.

 


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While a choice of voice and text has been available to all current generations, their accessibility and immediacy has been transformed over the last forty years: from landline to smartphone, from letter to instant messaging. Our preferences tend to be based on the dominant channel(s) within our peer group

 

Source: Global Mobile Messaging Consumer Report 2016 Twilio



Generation Z parents famously wonder why voice has become such an alien channel to their children. Millennials can still manage a weekend catch up call to parents but typically revert to texting amongst friends, even though workdays become all about email. Meanwhile, silver surfers boast an expanded repertoire of being natively comfortable with live voice and increasingly up to speed with family group messaging.

Naturally, this personal use cascades into our lives as consumers and employees. Retaining our choices is expected. We still want to communicate in ways that suit us. Adoption of these expectations is as common in B2B as in B2C markets. The technology has become ubiquitous.

The problem, of course, is that brands and employers keep finding themselves behind the curve as new channels pop up.

Take messaging for example. The absolute dominance of Tencent’s

WeChat within Chinese daily life is such that cash and credit cards are already in rapid decline. We now see the same payment system being offered to Western brands that recognise revenue growth from Chinese tourists requires a trusted and familiar payment interface.

In terms of ‘messaging as a platform’, enabling users to get most things done in their lives, from booking doctor’s appointments to paying bills, the West lags the critical mass of functionality that WeChat has already gained. As of 2018, we are still at the very beginning of monetising messaging as a trusted channel between customers and organisations.

 

Although business case logic makes us hope that the latest channels will replace existing ones, the evidence says otherwise...

 

From a customer service leadership perspective, this must seem like a never-ending road. Although old as an industry topic, web chat remains the next new channel for many organisations. Even those already up and running are still sourcing the best practices required to engage effectively. Besides chat, many have also had to deal with social media and now find themselves being told that messaging is the next iteration.

However, the story gets worse.

Although business case logic makes us hope that the latest channels will replace existing ones, the evidence says otherwise. It is an expanding, rather than declining set that most organisations deal with. As such, it is hard to imagine that a single channel will ever emerge as the ‘silver bullet’.

Email is often written off as a legacy channel yet OFCOM’s 2017 communications report shows it remained the single most popular channel for 16+ adults in the UK. What does that imply if you want to be a customer-centric organisation?

Voice might be declining as is often reported, and yes, there are those millennial orientated brands that don’t do voice because their customers don’t, but it remains the dominant live channel of choice by some margin. For many customers, it has unique qualities. It’s faster than text as a form of communication. It’s richer in terms of emotion. Text channels have to augment with emojis.

As the dominant channel, it also attracts negative press for the lack of sophisticated routing many organisations still subject their customers too. First contact resolution without bumps is not as common as it should be. Customers expect low effort outcomes. Even so, once the right person is found, live voice still fulfils many of the expectations customers have for what a service experience should be.

In truth, we live in a world of five generations of consumers and employees. The choice of communication channel is ours. We pick whichever works for us. And by the way, if you think letter writing is dead just ask any complaints team!

So what does this mean? Does it condemn organisations that want to do the right thing by their customers to every increasing cost? The answer depends on what generation of infrastructure you are using.

 


Want to know more? The full white paper on this topic available to fieldservicenews.com subscribers. Click the button below to get fully up to speed!


 Sponsored by:

Access Paper

 ifs


Data usage note: By accessing this content you consent to the contact details submitted when you registered as a subscriber to fieldservicenews.com to be shared with the listed sponsor of this premium content who may contact you for legitimate business reasons to discuss the content of this content.  


 

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