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How to build a modern digital service strategy for every channel


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Understand your existing digital communication channels

To map out an omni-digital strategy, you need to understand your present state. Though you are focusing on your channels, remember that you are ultimately concerned with the customer experience. 

Document established channels

Inventory the digital channels where your company has already established a presence. In addition to customer service channels, note the channels owned or managed by other departments.  

Consider that the marketing group tends to own social channels to amplify brand messages, launch campaigns, and attract and engage prospective and existing customers. It’s common for customers to make inquiries on channels like Facebook and Twitter. However, marketing isn’t equipped to respond to customer service needs or complaints, and your support department may not be aware about the inquiries on these channels. Documenting these channels and the types of interactions occurring on them is a vital step in building a comprehensive view of interaction options and a cohesive omni-digital strategy. 

Understand interaction quality and channel preference

To understand the relative importance of—and preference for—each channel to your customer, determine the share of interactions on each channel, and consider adopting other messaging-type channels to pave the way for frictionless interactions.

Analyze the metrics associated with each of your channels to understand the quality of interactions. Strong metrics indicate that you are efficiently managing your digital interactions, while weak metrics are a sign of channels needing more attention.

Consumers generally expect fast response times from companies, though their expectations vary by digital channel:

  • Email: hours to days
  • Social media messages: minutes
  • Live chat: seconds

Gauging how well you meet expectations on each channel can provide insight into what drives satisfaction could uncover opportunities for improvement. 

Define your channel strategy and prioritize rollouts

Consider the degree to which your business can support digital transformation, and be realistic about where you are in your efforts. Keep in mind that once a channel is launched, you need to manage it efficiently and continuously as you handle all interactions that come across the channel. If this feels daunting, limit your company’s presence to a few channels it can manage extremely well.  Many companies fall short of customer expectations, providing fewer contact channels and redirecting customers to get their questions answered. 

By studying your customers’ digital habits and communication channel preferences at each stage of the customer journey, your might identify 10 potential channels to implement. While it’s smart to satisfy customer expectations , you might choose to limit your presence to the most used channels. That way, you don’t overextend yourself and can offer consistent service quality, while accommodating a range of preferences. 

To define the order of priority for deploying new digital channels, call upon data from current interactions and your survey results. By approaching implementation in a stepwise fashion, you can progressively adapt your processes and teams, and ensure you maintain service quality on each new channel.

Listen to Insights from Expert, Shep Hyken, and learn more about omni-digital and its role in the Convenience Revolution.

Map out the customer journey and connect personas with channels

Say one of your personas is a young professional working and living in a cosmopolitan city. This person doesn’t have time to call customer service during standard business hours. You can adapt your messaging channels accordingly, enabling asynchronous interactions for these types of customers so they can send inquiries at any time from their smartphones, close the conversation, and receive a notification when you respond. 

66% of customers use more than three channels to interact with companies. Their channel choice depends on the context, notably their location—for example, at home, at work, on public transportation—and the type of issue, including level of urgency and sensitivity of the information being shared. Once your company maps customers’ channel preferences with context, issue type, and journey stage, you can adapt the type of support it offers on each channel accordingly. 

To learn more about why now is the time to jumpstart your digital customer engagement strategy, listen to insights from expert, Shep Hyken. And continue reading this series for more steps to bringing your customer service into the digital age.

Originally published Jul 03, 2019, updated Dec 30, 2022

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