CCW Winter BlogAs I return from the first North American contact center event of the year, IQPC’s Call Center Week – Winter, I wanted to elaborate on my biggest takeaway: What matters most to customers are effortless journeys.

Matthew Dixon of the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), and best-selling author of The Effortless Experience said during his keynote, “Any service interaction is 3.97 times more likely to drive disloyalty versus loyalty.” Additional stats from his presentation speak to the importance of creating effortless customer journeys:

  • Low customer effort results in 94% re-purchase rates, whereas high effort yields just a 4% re-purchase rate.
  • Low-effort interactions result in negative word-of-mouth only 1% of the time but 81% of the time in high-effort interactions.
  • Low effort for customers increases their total purchase amounts 88% of the time. In high-effort transactions, only 4% of transaction totals increased.

Effortless customer journeys also extend to communicating via the channels people prefer to use. Dixon noted that “Customers don’t want to talk to you,” but companies just don’t get it. Three years ago, 66% of customers relied primarily on the voice channel. Today, that number is just 28%. Moreover, companies believe their customers prefer using the phone 2.5 times more than the web.

Lots of channel choices and multi-channel interactions are not the answers. Offering many channels means nothing if the channels involve effort as customers move between them. Fewer channels done right and tied together into one conversation is better than multiple, siloed channels that require additional customer effort.

Everyone talks about omnichannel, but true omnichannel engagement is when customers have a seamless journeys as they cross channels—from web chat to IVR to phone to in-store— and from their sales process and registration, to customer service, and inquiries – all information follows them across channels through their journey. It’s time now for true omnichannel engagement, which is now possible with the industry leader in customer experience. True omnichannel, not just multi-channel, experiences are the keys to reducing effort and increasing loyalty.

The effortless customer journey was also echoed in a fireside chat I hosted with Anne Palmerine of UPMC Health Plan, nationally recognized by JD Power and winner of multiple CX excellence awards. Palmerine explained how UPMC has integrated all their channels to craft an effortless customer journey. From web chat on a mobile phone to proactive notifications that remind members to take their medicine, UPMC has tripled their membership by offering some of the best CX on the planet.

The need for effortless customer journeys was also seen in a roundtable discussion that Genesys held with a cross-industry group. The group noted how your specific industry delivers CX is no longer relevant. Both a provincial government in Canada and a large US healthcare provider—industries historically known for poor service—commented that their CX needs to be “as good as Nordstrom’s.” This also echoes the sentiments of a customer I spoke with recently, a Chief CX Officer for a large healthcare provider, who was hired from the retail industry to add B2C service emphasis and digital channel expertise.

Effortless customer journeys are now the mandate for every industry to avoid massive disruption from new players—the way Airbnb turned the hotel industry on its head and Uber disrupted the taxicab market.

In today’s competitive, multimodal landscape, businesses need to put all your energy into creating an effortless CX. The key to creating the most effortless customer journeys is true omnichannel engagement that offers seamless experiences as the customer touches web, phone, social media, email, mobile, and physical channels.

Here’s some good reading on making true omnichannel happen: Six Reasons Why the Modern Contact Center Must Go Omnichannel.