Best Practices for Building a Customer Interaction Hub

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Today’s customers expect service when they want it and where they want it, and they’re using multiple channels to interact with the brands with which they do business. The trend is seeing mobile, chat, traditional voice, and social media becoming increasingly interlinked throughout a given customer’s purchasing journey.
As 1to1 Media highlights in this research report, “This phenomenon makes it essential for organizations to develop and implement a sound multichannel service strategy that will lead to the integration of all service efforts and initiatives across different channels.” In fact, price and product no longer provide the competitive edge they used to; providing a consistent, unique, and differentiating customer experience will be the key for companies to drive future growth and profitability.

Often times, however, companies are plagued with obstructions that prevent them from providing an overall positive experience to customers when they need it the most. Organizational silos limit the understanding and ownership of the holistic customer experience.  Other such technology obstacles often include inconsistent service across the different engagement channels, multiple service screens and applications lack a single knowledge source and or view of the customer - all of which can contribute to low employee productivity and an overall poor customer experience.

Recent studies highlight the challenges that companies face in providing true end-to-end customer service support. According to a recent eConsultancy study, when asked, “What are the three greatest barriers that prevent your organization from improving the multichannel experience?” 41 percent cited organizational structure, 38 percent said complexity of the customer experience, and 34 percent reported difficulty unifying the different sources of customer data.

Additionally, in a recent Aberdeen Group poll of more than 160 organizations, less than 40 percent indicated that they had had any success in improving customer satisfaction levels over the previous 12 months. Even fewer organizations have been successful in improving loyalty or customer satisfaction over the same timeframe.

To the Rescue

Engaging with customers across multiple service channels and having the ability to see their behaviors and transactions in the different touchpoints requires organizations to adopt forward-thinking strategies and disciplines. In addition to improving processes and procedures, companies require the tools and technology that can integrate customer data and unify technology infrastructure, this can aid a given organization as it walks through its journey of building customer interaction hubs.

Customer interaction hubs allow organizations that are saddled with legacy systems and siloed data to easily connect customers’ experiences across the enterprise and engage the multichannel customer by providing all employees with access to customer data. Rather than toggle between multiple screens, service teams have the right information at their fingertips, at the right time, all in one place and view. As a result, these customer interaction hubs enable customer service teams to engage today's multichannel customer at the time and via the channel (i.e., social, mobile, chat, email) that the customer prefers, this will have a huge positive impact on customer satisfaction, customer retention, employee productivity, and overall company profitability. 

These hubs can achieve bottom line results because they’re nimble and proactive and leverage an omnichannel solutions strategy approach with customers. They work from a centralized view of the customer by integrating fragmented data streams and legacy systems, from multiple locations and sources. They essentially abandon the traditional cumbersome and reactionary call center approach typically driven by KPIs like call handle time, and plagued with siloed customer data and aging and ailing applications and overall technology infrastructure.

When designing and building your customer interaction hub, consider these three best practices:
  1. Build a strong customer engagement hub that aligns to the organization’s overall strategy.
  2. Examine the end-to-end customer interactions through the eyes of the customer, then build customer-focused strategies and processes to establish and maintain long-term, profitable customer relationships.
  3. Define, design, and deploy the right technology to enable the strategy and processes.

With proper alignment, a customer-centric design, and the right technology in place, customer interaction hubs will enable organizations to be well on their way to a frictionless customer experience through a connected enterprise, which is precisely what all of us in today’s day and age have come to expect from the companies we do business with.