Aligning Cross Channel Behaviors

Customers do not care nor understand why the experience of interacting with an organization through one channel is different than another.  Be it via in-person, contact center, chat, or website, customers expect a seamless and consistent experience.  Cross-channel alignment presents managers with a series of complex issues. This post focuses on the issue of sales and service behaviors, and outlines a methodology to align channels into a consistent set of cross channel behaviors.

Define Overall Experience

It should go without saying that the first step in aligning sales and service behaviors across channels it to define the elements of the experience for the entire organization.  This sounds fairly obvious, but I’m always surprised by how many clients do not have agreed upon cross channel customer experience requirements.

Cross_Channel_Image

Starting at the beginning, the first step is to define the customer experience in terms of dimensions or attributes which make up the desired experience.

For example, a financial institution may decide they what their customer experience to be comprised of four dimensions:

  1. Relationship building
  2. Sales process
  3. Product knowledge
  4. Customer knowledge

Define Dimensions In Terms of Attributes

The next step in building a consistent set of behaviors across all channels is to define each of the desired service dimensions in terms of attributes, which support each dimension.

In keeping with the above example, a financial institution may define each dimension in terms of the following set of attributes.

Dimension Attributes
Relationship building Establish trustCommitment to customer needsPerceived as trusted advisor
Sales process Referral to appropriate partner
Product knowledge Understanding of a range of productsUnderstand features and benefitsExplain benefits in ways that are meaningful to customers
Customer knowledge Needs analysis

Map Behaviors Across Channels

Once each dimension is defined in terms of specific attributes, the next step is to identify specific behaviors for each channel that support each attribute.

Keeping with the above example, the financial institution may decide that establishing trust is made up of a set of five behaviors mapped across each channel.

Relationship Building: Establish Trust

New Accounts Teller Contact Center
Maintain eye contact Maintain eye contact
Speak clearly Speak clearly Speak clearly
Maintain smile Maintain smile Sound as if they were smiling through the phone
Thank for business Thank for business Thank for business
Ask “What else may we assist you with today?” Ask “What else may we assist you with today?” Ask “What else they could do to assist you today?”
Encourage future business Encourage future business Encourage future business

Note this behavioral map assigns behaviors based on their appropriateness to each channel.  So, for example, while the in-personal channel may be expected to maintain eye contact, obviously that would not apply for the contact center.  Or the in-person channel may be expected to maintain a smile, while for the contact center this behavior may be modified for the phone channel to sounding as if they are smiling through the phone.

Measurement and Reinforcement

Key to maintaining consistent behaviors across channels is monitoring the experience.  The two most common methodologies to monitor cross channel alignment are post-transaction surveys and mystery shopping.

How customers feel about the organization, and the extent to which each service dimension and attribute is perceived within the customer’s mind are best measured with post-transaction surveys of customers.

Measuring specific behaviors is best performed with mystery shoppers, where specially trained researchers observe the presence of each behavior using predetermined scenarios.


Click Here For More Information About Kinesis' Research Services

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About Eric Larse

Eric Larse is co-founder of Seattle-based Kinesis CEM, LLC, which helps clients plan and execute their customer experience strategies through the intelligent use of customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, linked with training and incentive programs. Visit Kinesis at: www.kinesis-cem.com

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