Crafting a Unified Cross-Channel Customer Experience

Topics: Customer service, Service system, Customer Pages: 15 (4737 words) Published: May 31, 2014
White Paper

Crafting a Unified Cross-Channel
Customer Experience

Prepared by
Ari Banerjee
Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
www.heavyreading.com

on behalf of

www.oracle.com

February 2013

Impact of Fragmented Channel Experiences
Businesses exist to serve customers and, ultimately, everything a business does is geared toward making money from customers in return for goods and services. Any business activity generates events that affect a customer's experience of receiving and using those goods and services.

A telco is in the business of combining the physical sources of experience events (such as services, networks, devices, account acquisition, charging systems, billing, provisioning, retail experience and service assurance activities) into a seamless, consistent, continuous customer experience. Telco customer experience includes devices, products and services, and requires continuous support of all three dimensions – markedlydifferent from other industries, which typically focus on any one of these three dimensions. If an element or activity goes wrong and starts to obtrude, the customer experience breaks down, interrupting the perception of what is happening right now for the customer.

Tomorrow's market winners should be able to deliver an experience that is crosschannel by design, allowing customers to search, buy and serve seamlessly across multiple channels and touch points, and that is able to deliver products and services that are not only highly relevant to the individual customer, but also timely in nature. The success of a company in delivering that experience depends on their ability to collaborate and align their business processes with multiple enter­ prises, from content providers to supply-chain partners to selling partners. Using the retail channel as an example, customers today are highly influenced by what Apple provides in its store and are expecting an Apple-like retail experience from their service providers. This is not an easy bridge to cross for service providers, which, by nature, have sometimes been reactive and not very customer-friendly. However, many service providers have taken up this challenge and are in the process of trying to create a superior retail experience to match Apple's brilliance. Operators today are dealing with customers who are demanding and extremely tech-savvy, and who require an unfragmented cross-channel service and com­ merce experience. They demand services that are always-on and accessible from a range of touch points, including smartphones, tablets, retail kiosks and social media. Social media plays a critical role, as consumers might start their research for any product on social websites and consider their friends' suggestions on Facebook or Twitter, compare product or services online, research further on blogs such as Yelp, etc., before actually making buying decisions in the store. Customers can also decide to touch and feel the product in a retail store, but ultimately decide to buy it from the comfort of their home via a tablet or other device. The complex tapestry of the customer's decision-making process is non-linear and traverses across multiple channels. It becomes critical for operators to align these multiple channels so that they provide a consistent and personalized experience to the customer. System engagement with the end customer needs to be uniform and delineate across channels and different mobile devices, as well as different touchpoints, including in-store, catalogs, website, social media, etc. However, a unified cross-channel customer experience does not end at mobilizing the customer's purchase. A holistic customer experience will be incomplete if it does not encapsulate service management and care aspects. We all know calls made to call centers by irate customers typically have a negative connotation for customer experience, but they also have major cost implications for operators.

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