As the customer service function shifts into the digital age, we often take a step back to ask where servicing is headed. Not only is it fascinating to watch and be a part of, but it’s really interesting to observe the shift separately through the lens of the mobile-digital exec vs. the contact center ops exec. We’ve found these two lenses give you a different view of the same challenge.
So how do we define digital customer servicing through the lens of the mobile-digital exec?
We believe there is a strong shift to customer servicing to become digital customer engagement. We see that digital customer engagement includes three key functions to be truly aligned to the digital customer:
- Engagement throughout the customer’s journey
- Supported across all digital interactions (with mobile as first and foremost)
- Matches customers’ expectations and behaviors
Digital engagement means engaging people throughout their journey with you. This journey includes helping customers as you win, serve and retain them. The customer does not see these three business processes and functions (win, serve and retain) as separate even though mostly likely your business is organized that way. But because the customer journey is filled with twists and turns and customer expectations are changing, the lines between the winning, serving and retaining are getting pretty blurry. You can’t treat them as silos anymore if you want to maximize engagement.
Mobile customer care is a component of digital engagement, but is only part of the engagement equation. Mobile customer care is really about deeply engaging the customer at any point in their journey (not just during servicing) where they might need help, information or where the customer’s effort can be reduced. Servicing can be done at any point in the buyer journey, not just post sale. Servicing can include sales, acquisition, ecommerce, product education, product use, customer service, help desk, etc. Servicing should work hand-in-glove with other functions.
We say engaging people instead of engaging customers because people interact with your brand in important ways that are not directly tied to an immediate purchase. People, not just customers, might want to associate with your brand image.
The Digital Mesh
The digital customer is building a mesh of digital devices around them to help get things done. Digital engagement must be able to seamlessly span devices and modes. If you just look at mobile you will create gaps in the customer’s journey. Mobile is the catalyst right now but to transform the customer experience you need to be able to work in the digital mesh.
Gartner research describes this as follows:
“The "digital mesh" is the collection of devices (including things), information, apps, services, businesses and other people that exist around the individual. As the digital mesh evolves, all devices, compute and information resources, businesses, and individuals will be interconnected. The interconnections will be dynamic and flexible, changing throughout the day.” (Gartner, Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016: Mesh App and Service Architecture, 29 Feb 2016)
Digital engagement means you can engage the customer to win, serve and retain them as the move through their digital mesh of devices. Digital engagement in the digital mesh is:
- Not channels
- Not a single device (mobile phone, tablet, online, smart watch and more)
- Not just mobile (online, mobile web, chatbots, etc)
- More than app (consider the post app world of chabots)
- Includes emerging IoT
“The mobile mind shift is the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need.” Forrester has recently stated that mobile moments "will evolve beyond phones," and that "mobile will mature from being a standalone device to become the choreographer of customer experiences." (Forrester: Mobile Moments Transform Commerce And Service Experiences, March 29, 2016, and Engage Customers Through Mobile, August 4, 2016)
Customers expect digital engagement to be different: They expect to get what they want in their immediate context and moment of need. So we need to consider a definition of digital engagement that can operate in a fast moving, deeply contextual environment. Digital engagement (and all its components including servicing) needs to be agile and super smart.
If we just port existing engagement processes, like customer, care onto mobile, we get a really bad fit and experience. Your customer lives in micro-moments, not big blocks of committed time. Existing servicing processes and tools require significant time and effort commitment to get a job done. For example, today’s customer care requires a committed session to resolve an issue and get help. Something the digital consumer won’t give you.
“Mobile has forever changed what we expect of brands. It's fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.” (Google)
Mobile Customer Care: Smart, Agile Digital Engagement
Our vision is that digital customer engagement will be a tool to transform industries and create competitive advantage.
We think it’s really important to understand the shift into the digital context is more than the technology. We see three components that you must address to engage digital consumers:
- The Technology component – a digital mesh made up of a person’s own ecosystem of mobile, devices, IoT and data
- The Human Expectation component – quick, easy, effortless, great experience, in control
- The Human Behavior component – interrupted, impatient, multi-tasking, do easiest task first
While digital engagement is moving rapidly and any definition will soon change, we believe that this is a good working definition for the digital exec. We also understand that this definition may not fit the contact center ops exec. So we'll post another other definition for you shortly.
We are using this definition as a roadmap as build a digital engagement solution that addresses these needs.