The channel and touch-point rush

Reading the “Experience Effect” from Jim Joseph made me stop and think about this.

Multi-channel, Omni-channel… yes, we have been talking about it a lot, and it is crucial for the delivery of a good Customer Experience, but multi or omni does not mean All-channels.

It is extremely important for companies to figure out and decide which channels and touch-points are most relevant to their customers. There is no point in offering a raft of channels and touch-points that would just not work, or actually not even be necessary. It is a waste of time, money and focus.

And there is only one way companies would be able to define which channels and touch-points work for their customers. It is by truly understanding the customers and how the brand fits their lives. For example, why provide a digital channel to customers that are not tech-savvy.

It would make no sense for a brand like Apple to provide Fax as a channel. I’m sure the majority of Apple customers are tech-savvy and would prefer Live Chat or Twitter. Similarly, it would make no sense for the Department for Work & Pensions not to provide white mail (post) as a channel, and it is probably too early to provide Social Media as a touch-point.

But it is not enough for companies to get to the perfect combination of channels and touch-points, there is another thing that is crucial: Consistency. In order to provide a great Customer Experience, companies need to be able to deliver consistency across all channels and touch-points.

The main reason for companies to fail having that consistency is the lack of a common understanding of the brand definition, and the customer profile, across the teams that define and manage the different channels and touch-points, as well as the fact that the systems that support those are not joined up.

But be aware that consistency doesn’t mean that the experience has to be exactly the same in all channels or touch-points. That wouldn’t bring any added value or leverage the power and capability of certain channels and touch-points.

Companies should be able to tailor the experience to the channel and the touch-point. And, again, they can only be successful in doing that if they understand the role that the channel or touch-point plays on the customer’s life, the whole customer journey, and the power of the technology enabling it.

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