Multi-channel customer self-service is the ultimate shopping cart

What’s all this about “multi-channel”? If you like visual explanations, think of multi-channel customer self service as a center circle surrounded by smaller, orbiting circles. That center circle would be your call center portal.

Those orbiting circles would be your customers’ channels. A channel is the platform (or means) your customers use to find, contact and buy from you. So a channel could be one of those new whiz-bang smart phones, the latest iPad or Android tablet, a computer or – yes, Virginia, they still use these: a telephone land line.

The self-service part is where sensibly designed and professionally managed automation allows customers to help themselves without long waits or navigating menus or getting lost in a confusing combination of “if” options. The goal is to deflect routine customer transactions from your busy call center staff and speed the customer through whatever process is required to make the experience as positively painless as possible.

Today’s tech-savvy customers are much less patient than their parents, who let their fingers to the walking through the Yellow Pages. Today’s customers prefer the intuitive search features of Google or mobile apps in finding what they want, and they are accustomed to being shown how to get there.

Customers who order on line definitely expect to be compensated for waiting with a better deal than a brick-and-mortar alternative. In fact, many chain outlets offer at-home self-service with the option of picking up the purchase at the store. The common element is self-service, which goes across technologies and is driven by the customer’s preference.

And while your customers are helping themselves, they are helping you by filling up your CRM database with analytics – you know, the data that is represented visually in all kinds of nifty pie, bar, graph and line charts, where a picture is worth more than a thousand data elements.

Get the picture? What you need to do is to deploy a system where customers in any channel (the little orbiting circles) can be accommodated by robust call center software. That software, in turn, must meld into the web with its array of social media, chat rooms and self-service apps (we call this a customer engagement platform).

Actually, all the above describes pretty much what we do at USAN. Contact us and see how we can help you manage your customer experiences that really put your customer in the center of everything.