If you check your bank balance online and then call customer service because you discovered a mistake, chances are that you think of that as two parts of a single customer experience.
But in almost every case, your bank sees that as two (or more) completely unrelated interactions. So what the company thinks are several routine customer touchpoints could easily be a frustrating mess to you, the customer.
This is why getting customer feedback about cross-channel experiences is so very important. Collecting this data will identify the service gaps and inconsistencies that are often completely invisible to companies.
There are two strategies for collecting cross-channel feedback:
- Target customers who have multiple interactions: If a customer contacts a company more than once within a short period of time, it's a good bet that those contacts are related. So we can target customers for a survey based on this specific behavior. For example, any customer who logs in to the website and then calls on the phone within two hours would be called shortly afterwards by an interviewer to find out why. The advantage of this approach is that it's efficient, and you are specifically targeting your survey towards customers who are likely to have valuable feedback. It can be challenging, though, to match the records from different silos of the organization quickly enough to make this happen.
- Ask about cross-channel experiences as part of the normal feedback process: If it's not possible to specifically target customers who crossed service channels, a reasonable strategy is to add questions about cross-channel experiences to an existing survey. When we've done this for our clients, it's common for us to find that a high percentage (20% or more) of the customers we survey after a customer service call had tried the website before calling. This high incidence lets us collect some hard data about what's driving customers to pick up the phone instead of sticking to the online channel
Cross-channel behavior is one of the biggest and most universal blind spots in most companies' customer feedback programs. Most companies simply have no idea how often customers are crossing organizational silos, what's driving that behavior, and what effect it has on the overall customer experience.
We've also found that when customers have to start over each time they contact a company about the same problem, it's a major driver of dissatisfaction. But service continuity is often overlooked because the company isn't equipped to deal with multiple touchpoints as a single experience.
Collecting some feedback about cross-channel experiences is a good place to start in fixing what is likely a major service problem.