Channel shift is a term ascribed to the business driver of moving transactions to the most effective and efficient channel of engagement, often the web. By serving customers in the medium that is convenient for them, businesses can create satisfying customer experiences while delivering savings for the enterprise.
There are many channels that customers can use to buy products or services, such as shops, call centers, websites and apps.
As all businesses know, the cost of delivering goods and services via a shop is extremely expensive, less so over the phone and tiny via a digital channel. Added to this, for many services, it is far easier and more convenient for customers to buy goods and services online.
Typical costs to serve a customer face-to-face are over US$ 15/ £10, for phone calls this falls to around US$ 5/ £3 and for online self-service US$ .50/ 30p. It is only complex buying that is easier face-to-face or over the phone, but how many of these do we make a week or month? Not many.
So it stands to reason that moving customers to the channels that deliver excellent value for money for the business and a better experience for the customer is a sensible business goal.
Putting a name to this process helps IT, communications and customer service managers to focus on understanding their existing offering and the cost of each channel. They can then identify where the business can move online and where savings and improvements to delivery can be made.
Some Customer Experience Management (CXM) vendors have recognized this transformation. They have adjusted their business and products to reflect the need for effective channel shift to online self-service to deliver cost efficiencies, or more for less, whilst increasing customer satisfaction. Products and solutions have developed rapidly to offer the means to engage customers with online transactions that are the heart of online services.
So how does this look in practice?
Let’s say you have moved into a new house in a new neighborhood. After unpacking you find you have a large amount of boxes and items you no longer require but want to recycle. So you take your smartphone (your landline is yet to be connected) and enter your new zip code and “recycling” into the browser. You are hoping to get the number of your new local authority so you can call them to find out your options.
But instead you are delivered a webpage with all the relevant information; location of the nearest recycling center, opening times, conditions of use and a map showing your location and that of the five nearest recycling centers. You now have everything you need, in your pocket, to complete your task.
Additionally you have been shifted from using the phone to the website and received a better experience -- how would the phone operator show you on a map where to go or explain directions to someone who is new to the neighborhood?
This has saved you time and the local authority money, plus you have more information in a convenient place than you would have got from a phone operator.
Channel Shift: Doing More with Less
Channel shifting customers from the phone or face-to-face to self-service online should be a key requirement for all businesses. The outcomes of such an activity can generate considerable efficiency savings whilst delivering a better user experience.
Title image courtesy of Walter G Arce (Shutterstock).
Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading:
- Using Web Standards to Create a Great Mobile Experience
- The Disconnect Between Real and Perceived Customer Service
- Web Experience: How Useful is Your Website? by @gerrymcgovern