12 Ways to Increase the Take-Up of Digital Channels


Our panel of experts share how they would increase take-up of digital channels, without forcing the customer’s hand.

1. Have a Clear Proposition

There are many routes to increased digital engagement. Five immediate suggestions might include:

  • Not over-promoting your voice channel
  • Embedding self-service as part of your customer onboarding process
  • Correctly forecasting and scheduling support for your digital channels
  • Enabling technologies such as co-browse for voice customers
  • Ensuring voice-equivalent service capabilities across your digital channels

However, before making a choice, it’s important that you think hard about what it is that you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re committed to a digital-first approach then you’re going to need a solid framework of governance, with a particular understanding about your core business drivers for digital.

Matt Dyer

Are you trying to deflect unnecessary contact centre demand, maybe with the goal of reducing overall service costs? Or perhaps you’re aiming to improve customer engagement, with carefully designed digitally enabled journeys to remove customer frustration and deliver an improved Customer Satisfaction (CSat) or Net Promoter Score (NPS) score.

Once you’re clear on your focus, then it’s a lot easier to determine the specific tactics that will help you to increase digital channel take-up. As ever, your choices will depend entirely on the business outcomes you’re looking to achieve.

Thanks to Matt Dyer at Sabio

2. Map the Customer Journey

To understand your customers’ attitudes, behaviours and triggers, you will need to look at interactions from their perspectives.

Design the experience – explore how you can create rules and signpost your self-service, live chat and other digital options – at early stages of the journey. Then, you can marry this idealised experience with the right processes and technologies.

Once you have designed your experience, create seven or eight personas, each representing a segment of your customer base.

Enda Kenneally

Once you have designed your experience, create seven or eight personas, each representing a segment of your customer base.

Running these personas through your chosen journey will allow you to bring the experience to life and see if your rules for alerting customers to digital channel options work for everyone.

3. Make Intelligent Use of the Right Data

Don’t just collect the data, do something with it. Let it work for you. Get a better 360-degree view of your customers by profiling them, mapping their journeys and identifying common pain points or issues that come up for them.

Use these pain points as opportunities to test out proactive communication strategies, and don’t forget about using multiple data sources.

Just ask yourselves the following questions:

  • You’re present on social, but are you listening and taking note of what your customers are saying in that space? What about feedback?
  • Do you provide a customer survey and have open feedback systems in place?
  • Do you analyse common customer issues that seem to get escalated time and again, to get to the root of the problem?

Addressing any of these questions is a great place to start. Afterwards, think about the customer journey and analyse data you have and deduce whether you can add things like a proactive SMS message to push customers onto digital channels. Just make sure it’s in their best interests.

4. Keep an Eye on Trends and the Competition

In order to be ahead of the curve, and become early trend predictors, you need to be willing to analyse and evolve.

Look at what your competitors are doing, where consumer attention is driven, or what the most popular products, services and experiences are today. Understanding consumer motives and influencers will help you predict where to go tomorrow.

Look at what your competitors are doing. Understanding consumer motives and influencers will help you predict where to go tomorrow.

Enda Kenneally

Take Domino’s Pizza AnyWare campaign as an example of an omnichannel addition. Customers can now place their take-out pizza orders using a mobile app, Dom, and they can also track delivery time through a smartwatch after the order has been placed .

5. Eliminate Your One-Size-Fits-All Mentality

The same messaging, marketing, branding, service and comprehensive experience will not please everyone. So, personalise experiences according to your customer preferences where possible.

Also, when it comes to proactive reach-outs, make each touchpoint helpful and meaningful on the receiving end. Remember that sometimes the best service is no service.

Enda Kenneally

Enda Kenneally

Finally, be careful to judiciously evaluate your own business priorities and make smarter choices about the strategies you tackle first.

You can’t do it all, especially not all at once. You can only think about implementing the right technologies and efficiently orchestrating them to work well for your company and customers once you have a clear proposition.

Thanks to Enda Kenneally at West Unified Communications

6. Focus on Reducing Effort Across Digital Channels

The key question any customer wants answered when they try out a new digital channel is: will this approach allow me to get the outcome I want in less time and with less effort than before? If the answer is no, there will be little incentive for them to make the change.

The key question any customer wants answered when they try out a new digital channel is: will this approach allow me to get the outcome I want in less time and with less effort than before?

Jeremy Payne

The classic example of this is the airport self-service check-in app. Customers understand the attraction of downloading an app on their phone, checking themselves in online and using the QR code as a boarding pass. In theory, it is much quicker, easier and less stressful than waiting in a long queue and interacting with a human.

The result of this, however, is that the digital app, channel or solution that the customer has been provided with needs to work quickly, effortlessly and intuitively.

If you give customers a slow, clunky app, which forces them to input a lot of text manually, they will inevitably make mistakes along the way, resulting in a great deal of frustration, time and effort in the process.

7. Ask Advisors to Signpost Other Contact Options

It is one thing having digital channels available to your customers, but if you don’t promote them properly then your customers will not adopt them. They will simply pick up the phone instead as a default reaction whenever they want to contact you.

One way businesses can address this is making sure they advise customers of the options available to them at every point of interaction, whenever it’s appropriate. That might be as simple as pushing alternative service options to the customer when they are online on the company website.

Jeremy Payne

Alternatively, imagine the scenario when a customer is booking online via a business website. When they reach the wrap-up page, rather than just saying: “Congratulations, you have made a booking with us,” the message could also read: “Would you like us to text this message to you where you can use our app?”

When the text comes through, the customer clicks on the link to the app, enabling the business to start building a much closer and tighter relationship with them as a direct result.

Thanks to Jeremy Payne at Enghouse Interactive

8. Design Your Digital Channels Around Your Customers

Take the time to consider what kind of customers make up the majority of your customer base, and what kind of issues are most common.

For example, healthcare services trend higher on voice channels because of the sensitive nature of so many of those calls. A second example could be a life insurance company, where the age group in which most interactions occur is retirement age and many of that age group feel most comfortable using voice channels.

In these cases, make careful assessment of how much traffic can reasonably be pushed to other channels.

So, on the other side of that is the younger age groups. For instance, people in the 18–35 age group are very likely to adopt chat or messaging apps. This age group is also more likely to want to use digital channels to try to self-serve.

If this age group makes up a healthy portion of your organisation’s traffic, it’s a good bet that, for example, placing chat options within the online account pages will very likely reduce call traffic into the contact centre.

9. Make an Effort to Contain Customers Already Using Digital Channels

The most effective way to decide how to mitigate traffic in the contact centre is to analyse the customers’ journeys to understand where they are coming from.

Jonathan Wax

The most effective way to decide how to mitigate traffic in the contact centre is to analyse the customers’ journeys to understand where they are coming from.

For example, how many journeys start in the website or mobile app but end or pass through the contact centre? Those journeys, segmented out on their own, will identify the numbers of customers that could likely be contained in those digital channels.

Then, drill down into some of the phone calls this segment of customers is having with the contact centre. It is very likely that a self-serve option might be missing in those channels, or maybe online FAQs don’t provide answers for a certain customer need.

By taking action to better contain just that one segment of traffic, there is a potential for vast savings through reduced call volume.

10. Don’t Force Customers Into Using Certain Channels

Don’t force it. There are a great number of factors that go into which channel a person is more likely to use.

Jonathan Wax

Jonathan Wax

One of the newer trends in the omnichannel contact centre is that voice is becoming the channel for escalated issues, where the customer has a very direct and imminent need. This, in turn, means that agents need to be coached in how to handle possible high-priority or emotional issues.

But for customers with more mundane needs, such as paying a bill or checking an account balance, they can be encouraged to go online or be guided through an automated system.

Thanks to Jonathan Wax at NICE | Nexidia 

11. Constantly Re-evaluate Customer Satisfaction of Chatbots

If you use bots across digital channels, treat them like you would an advisor and measure their satisfaction. If you want to increase success of digital channels, you need to make sure that they are operating well.

Frank Sherlock

A recent CallMiner survey revealed that 56% of people are very happy or extremely happy to interact with chat applications, but only 19% of people see it as their preferred first channel to use to contact a supplier.

If you want to close the gap between happiness to use and preference, then you will need to analyse the interactions that bots are having. Gather customer feedback and analyse interactions to see where you can improve. Don’t install chatbots and expect that to be that.

Thanks to Frank Sherlock at CallMiner

12. Integrate a Central CRM System Behind Every Channel

When contact centres “open-up” a new channel, the CRM system that supports the channel is often not properly linked with others. This makes it impossible to follow this customer journey.

If the advisor on the new digital channel cannot follow the customer journey, it will influence the quality of conversation that they have with the customer.

Colin Hay

So, if the quality of interaction is lower on the new channel, customers will likely continue to use the phone.

Fortunately, if you are in the cloud, integrations to a cloud-based CRM are much more straightforward than if you are not – making it easier to provide advisors with a full view of the customer.

This eliminates one of the biggest bugbears in the contact centre, customers having to repeat themselves, and gives advisors on all channels a level playing field to provide great service.

Thanks to Colin Hay at Puzzel

Published On: 6th Aug 2018
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