Becoming Channel Agnostic in the Mobile Age

Think of your typical day. How has it changed from five years ago… even from one year ago? Think of how many hours you spend actually sitting at your desk in front of your computer versus how many you spend traveling, attending meetings, seeing customers, or working at home. The evolution of how most of us allocate our time has happened in sync with the evolution of the technology at our disposal. Is it a wonder that with the rise of intelligent, robust mobile functionality and devices – that we can take on the run – that we spend less time actually tethered to our offices, computers or land lines?

Smartphone use is growing at an astonishing rate of 45% year over year. Nearly half a billion people will connect to the cloud from a mobile device this year. Many may not even know what the cloud is, but, no matter. Less than three years from now, that number will double to a billion. Yes, billion… with a B.

So what does that mean for the companies that are doing business with, hoping to do business with, or providing service in some way to these consumers? It means there’s no time to waste. Companies must get on the mobile bandwagon, making themselves easily accessible to consumers on the go, by any channel they choose whenever they choose it. Even if that means consumers want to channel-jump mid-interaction – like starting with chat on the web, and moving to voice when they need a more personal touch or to complete the complex part of the transaction. It means companies have to become channel agnostic.

Multi-channel vs. Channel Agnostic

Becoming channel agnostic is not the same thing as adopting a strategy to offer customers multiple channels by which they can interact with your company. Offering multi-channel interactions simply means that you enable customers to reach you by phone, by email, by chat and the like. This can be achieved in many ways, some of them quick and dirty like just adding on siloed technology components as needed without truly tying them together or offering a seamless, unified customer experience. Multi-channel strategies often try to force leaders to prioritize what channels should be offered and in what order. However, the truth is that no one can predict which service channels customers will prefer at any given time, especially if they are accessing your company via a mobile device that gives them immediate access to every channel all the time.

Being channel agnostic means the channels you offer matter less than the journey the customer goes on with your company.

Being channel agnostic means we don’t have a preference where our customers gather their research, which channel they buy on, or how or when they want to interact with us. It means servicing every channel without priority and without limitations – web self-service, email, chat, SMS/text, IVR voice self-service, Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms, and, of course, actual live agent voice.

Being channel agnostic means regardless of our customers’ choices in the process, we are going to make whatever they need happen. And we’ll have the data about them, their history and preferences, all at our fingertips to make their experience the best it can be.

Becoming Channel Agnostic

If you are one of those companies (and, we’re sure you are!) seeking to increase customer loyalty and grow your revenues, channel agnosticism is the way to go. Here are some things to think about as you embrace a channel agnostic strategy:

  1. Think high-level – forget looking at each individual channel as its own unique workflow. Think of how you can provide a customer journey that enables them to reach you via any method that’s “in their pocket” on their mobile device, how you can let them begin on the web and end on the IVR, or start with a text alert that ends in a voice-based purchase interaction.
  2. Audit your software – do you have the right tools in place to make channel agnosticism possible? Make sure your software can manage customer workflows, campaigns and systems’ access in a single, universal platform. You need to be able to devise a workflow and establish a campaign once for all service channels and have it automatically render to the web, email, chat, IVR, social media and live agent interactions.
  3. Investigate your options – do you have a premise-based solution? Is it capable of the changes you want to make? Perhaps a cloud-based customer engagement solution would better provide the flexibility you need to deliver the customer experience required in a channel agnostic competitive environment.
  4. Choose a partner wisely – selecting a technology partner is never a task that should be taken lightly. But, as you embark on any new initiative that involves needing your technology to take you to new heights, the choice becomes even more critical. Be sure to research potential vendors and select a visionary technology partner that can help you achieve your customer engagement goals – no matter how they evolve.