When a customer interacts with a business through any channel, a dialog occurs; just like any conversation, there is a natural ebb and flow, as well as a beginning, middle, and end to this journey. The best way to “see” these journeys is by collecting and analyzing the interaction data across every decision tree and touch-point, including back office systems, legacy, or new.
If your company is like those reporting to the CCW Executive Report on Contact Center Priorities for 2018, improving your customer journey mapping is a top goal for the year. Even though the importance of customer journey mapping is recognized, not many companies can truly observe their customers’ journey. A common practice is to map what the journey should be, but the true value is unlocked by tracking and optimizing those customer journeys. VHT’s Navigator has been designed to do exactly this – make it easy to track customer journeys across disparate systems, online and offline, and make it possible for you to optimize your most important customer journeys as they happen in real time.
Going beyond customer journey mapping, here are the top 5 customer journeys you should consider tracking and optimizing in 2018:
- Converting Anonymity
One of the serious challenges to customer journey tracking is observing anonymous contacts. Consider the example of an anonymous buyer’s shopping cart. Don’t throw away the steps that they have taken so far in their journey; instead, keep track of these steps, or identification keys. These keys would include a session ID in a web browser or temporary session identifiers across IVR, mobile, or digital channels. Tracking events and analyzing associated data points around these individuals can yield insight into what to ask and how to further obtain identification keys through the dialog – even how aggressively to pursue these opportunities relative to the potential value of the sale.
Engagement opportunities could include:
- Triggering one of the following after a timeout of X-seconds:
- In-channel engagement
- Web pop-up
- Mobile app offer to connect to an agent
- Special coupon
- Providing incentive to buy now or to share contact information (“receive a special discount after filling out this web form,” etc.)
- Providing the customer a unique reference code to take advantage of extended offers in the same or other channels
- Informing them of the offers extended for X-time
- Enabling channels to resume the journey later, work toward closing the sale, and collect identification keys to establish an ongoing relationship
Using these transient identification keys, an omni-channel solution like VHT Navigator can accurately track not only the journeys of identified and authenticated users, but also those of anonymous individuals. This allows you to maximize the specific moments of opportunity – or Waypoints – that occur within the customer journey. When Waypoints are reached (or failed to be reached), they can trigger automatic, real-time actions. Examples of Waypoints include requesting a callback or shipping an order. Whether anonymous, identified, or authenticated, VHT Navigator’s Waypoint methodology avoids missed opportunities to be proactive and delivers positive outcomes for the company and an optimized experience for the customer.
- Reviving the Cart
Continuing the shopping cart analysis, another important journey to track is what your visitors have put in, or taken out of, their cart. The action of selecting an item for purchase indicates interest; the action of taking that item back out would seem to indicate confusion or indecision. This is a critical moment of opportunity where proactive customer assistance can convert the interested individual not just into a customer, but into someone with a positive relationship to your brand.
The first step is to reach out to the potential buyer and offer assistance. If an identification key can be obtained, it can be tied back to previous customer records, and this information should be immediately routed to your agents so they can help in an efficient, meaningful way.
VHT Navigator uses events like this to help identify the customer’s specific goal for any interaction. In this example, Navigator would recognize the event of item removal and automatically offer a callback, which would solicit the buyer’s phone number. Because Navigator is agnostic, it can facilitate the journey through the context of that number, the cart history, and any previous activity through any channel that has been associated with that number. Your agents will then be alerted, in real-time, to the buyer’s identity and entire history with your brand – and, perhaps most importantly, that they have recently removed something from the cart but they still want to talk. The customer journey can be smoothly resumed; buyer confusion is addressed; and again, the positive relationship is reinforced.
- Stilling IVR Churn
For decades, IVR applications have worked to head off the inundation of agents and to reduce costs. However, customer identification continues to be a problem. The rise of mobile phone usage has significantly increased customer identification, but there are still many unidentified users calling. To meet their needs, IVR applications must use menus to determine who they are or, at the very least, what they need.
If your system can easily identify the caller, and quickly access that caller’s profile and history, the IVR can automatically offer the most relevant menu options for that caller. Further, that history should be relayed to your agents along with the call so that the agent can immediately confirm the purpose for the contact and get started. This mitigates customer frustration, decreases average handle time, and increases first call resolution as well as NPS. It also cuts down on costs by maximizing agents’ time.
As an industry-specific example, a customer might call a bank to learn about current interest rates and refinancing procedures. While this may seem like a simple task, going through the bank’s IVR to gather this information may require significant effort by customers because, as mentioned above, they are anonymous to the IVR, and the rules governing the IVR’s actions are likely hard-coded and unable to keep pace with the dynamic needs of most callers.
Ideally, your IVR should be able to access important contextual information from your secure web portal, where callers may have recently accessed their accounts and viewed specific topics. A menu option can ask if they’re calling about their recent interest in refinancing, for instance; a simple confirmation from the customer saves effort and potential frustration, and they are routed directly to a mortgage refinance specialist.
VHT Navigator helps by collecting context from every channel used by a customer and allows you to create a more in-depth profile of the customer; just as importantly, it fills the gaps and shares the context with your agents’ desktop application so that they never need to ask who is calling and why. In a real-world example, on its first day of use, Navigator was able to demonstrate to a utility company that, of their 25,000 calls, 8,000 were repeat callers who were abandoning the IVR before they reached a routing point. That critical piece of information allowed the company to optimize the IVR to solve a problem they hadn’t entirely understood.
- Addressing Negative Social Media
If your social media detractors insist upon remaining anonymous in order to vent or blacken your brand, then your strategy is limited: you must work to protect the brand and limit the interaction according to your company’s policies for social damage mitigation. However, if your customer’s goal is to address an honest concern or to help your brand improve, strong opportunities for relationship-building open up to those companies who develop strategies to pursue them.
As with any anonymous event, the first step is to identify the individuals, what they need, and how best to deliver results that benefit both parties. The goal is to move customers from social media to other channels that can better serve their needs and deepen the relationship. As the customer must agree to the move, the best way to facilitate it is to acknowledge the customer and to offer a tradeoff in return for additional contact information.
VHT Navigator can receive social media interactions from any source and match them to customer identification keys. For example, a national utilities provider in Canada used social media to run a major health campaign that resulted in 200,000 contributors along with their social media IDs. The strategy was that, if these contributors were willing to donate money to support a cause, they would likely respond to a request for an email address, phone number, or other means of confirming their participation in order to get a receipt. This was followed up with an individual thank you at their next touch-point. Hence, the relationship was deepened.
- Leading Customers to the Right Channels
A good guidepost for any customer journey is the concept of proactive context: Is your business providing the right signposts to your customers at the right moments to help them on their way? The goal is to give your customers relevant guidance so they’re not hitting walls or wasting time supplying sensitive data to your chatbot, for instance.
In a true omni-channel environment, your business does not have to rely on your agents to provide the glue between customer experiences; instead, you can offer the optimum channels to answer the need the customer is already taking actions to meet. If the need can’t be met proactively through this sort of self-service process, the customer should be escalated, along with the context of recent activities, to your agents. At this point, your IVR should have proper menu items built in to pick up contextual cues and provide appropriate call routing.
VHT Navigator serves as a consultant to your IVR so that incoming phone calls or account numbers can be instantly compared to recent activities across channels. For instance, the IVR can ping back to Navigator for any activity around an incoming phone number, and Navigator responds with the top-view information that this number is attached to a customer who has recently accessed his credit-card mobile app, disputed a charge, and then visited the website to check the status of the dispute. Your IVR can now offer the customer a direct route to the appropriate agent. And the programming to enable these menu items takes only a handful of hours instead of months.
As today’s customers put the highest value on frictionless, quick, and convenient interactions, your customer journey tracking helps you establish strong customer relationships by facilitating effective, relevant customer experiences. At 800 transactions per second, in the cloud or on premises, VHT Navigator is a scalable and powerful real-time engine that reduces customer effort, enhances their experience, leverages context and rules to increase customer identification, and helps your business meet its larger goals. Contact VHT for more information on how Navigator can track your customers’ journeys and provide true omni-channel support.