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Four reasons why right channeling should be part of your omnichannel strategy

Posted February 28, 2024
Three customer service agents behind computers with various iconography floating around them, including conversation bubbles, paper airplanes, check marks and "24/7", all meant to symbolize right channeling

Consumers communicate with brands in a multitude of different ways. For example, a technical issue could be solved live on the phone with a support agent, a refund could be requested using online chat, shipping notifications for products purchased online can be sent via email and reservations can be booked using mobile apps. Some channels, however, may work better than others for the task at hand.

What is right channeling?

Right channeling refers to the strategic selection and utilization of communication channels that best align with the preferences and needs of different types of customers. Unlike a one-size-fits all approach, right channeling aims to identify the most effective and efficient channels for specific interactions. This strategy involves understanding customer preferences, analyzing the nature of interactions and strategically deploying channels such as social media, chat, email, phone or in-person. The goal is to optimize communication by choosing the "right" channels for each type of customer interaction.

But, to truly understand the benefits of right channeling, you need to understand how the approach relates to, and differs from, omnichannel and multichannel CX.

Multichannel vs. omnichannel vs. right channeling

Multichannel CX involves interacting with customers through multiple, independent channels, such as email, voice or social media. Each channel operates in isolation, and there may not be a seamless integration of information or context between channels. The emphasis in multichannel CX is on providing customers with various options for communication, but the channels may not be synchronized, leading to potential inconsistencies in the experience.

Omnichannel CX aims for a more integrated and seamless approach by connecting all channels to provide a cohesive customer journey. Customers can transition between channels without losing context, and information is shared across channels for a unified experience. The focus in omnichannel CX is on creating a consistent and fluid customer journey, acknowledging that customers may use different channels at different stages of their interaction with a brand.

While multichannel and omnichannel address the overall approach to channels, right channeling goes beyond the mere availability of channels, and emphasizes their strategic alignment with the customer's journey and preferences. It involves identifying the right channel for each type of customer interaction, considering factors such as communication style, urgency and personal preferences. The emphasis in right channeling is on tailoring the channel selection to optimize communication, ensuring that each engagement is an efficient means of meeting customer expectations.

Why brands should prioritize right channeling

The concept of right channeling is not new. It has long been recognized as a pivotal factor in optimizing the omnichannel experience. While not a novel concept, a recent Deloitte Digital study revealed that its implementation remains popular with brands looking to enhance their customer experience. The study found that the majority of business leaders (55%) confirmed that their organizations have integrated some form of right channeling into their omnichannel approach.

There are a number of reasons why so many brands are proactively steering customers to the channel best suited to support their interaction intent. Below are four of the top benefits organizations have gained from right channeling.

1. Enables more personalized customer interactions

By tailoring the communication channel to match customer preferences and needs, brands can create a more personalized and engaging experience for their customers. For instance, some customers may prefer the convenience of messaging apps for quick inquiries, while others may need the depth of conversation offered by a phone call. Right channeling enables brands to identify and leverage these preferences, ensuring that each customer interaction takes place through the most suitable channel.

Giving customers the ability to interact with your brand using the ideal channel for their needs helps to set a positive tone for your support interactions. But it is important that you don't stop there; you should leverage available data to customize the experience to the individual. For instance, if a customer is interacting with your brand via a messaging app, you can use the customer's previous interactions and preferences to tailor the conversation to their specific needs. This could involve using their preferred language, addressing them by name or offering them relevant product recommendations. By personalizing the interaction in this way, brands can create a more seamless and satisfying experience for their customers.

2. Enhances efficiency

By directing customers to the most appropriate channel for their specific needs, organizations can significantly reduce response times, minimize redundancies and allocate resources more effectively.

One of the primary ways right channeling enhances efficiency is by matching the complexity of customer inquiries with the appropriate channel capabilities. Simple queries or frequently asked questions, for example, can be efficiently handled through self-service channels such as chatbots or knowledge bases, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex issues that require personal attention. This segmentation of inquiries based on channel suitability ensures that resources are utilized efficiently, reducing unnecessary escalations and maximizing productivity.

As your right channeling strategy is implemented throughout your organization, it is essential to continuously monitor and analyze customer data to gain valuable insights into their evolving preferences and behaviors. This data can then be used to refine and optimize the right channeling strategy, ensuring that the avenues being used for each specific customer type remain the most appropriate for their needs.

3. Optimizes channel interactions

By honing in on the channels that are best suited to meet customer needs and preferences, brands can allocate their resources more effectively, ensuring that they deliver an enhanced experience where it matters most.

With right channeling, brands have the opportunity to meticulously outline guidelines and protocols specific to each channel and interaction type. By establishing clear expectations and standards for communication, brands can deliver consistency and reliability across all touchpoints.

4. Increases customer satisfaction and loyalty

According to Salesforce's State of the Connected Customer report, "88% of customers say good customer service makes them more likely to purchase again." The report also found that "quality service influences purchasing decisions, earns forgiveness and leads to word-of-mouth referrals" with 75% of customers stating they have recommended a company based on excellent customer service.

Right channeling serves as a multifaceted strategy that not only enables personalized customer interactions, enhances efficiency and optimizes channel interactions but also culminates in a more positive and fulfilling customer service experience.

How a CX partner can help you get right channeling right

Working with a knowledgeable digital customer experience partner can be instrumental in implementing a successful right channeling strategy. Such a partner brings expertise in understanding customer behavior, technological capabilities and industry best practices, offering valuable insights and guidance throughout the implementation process.

For example TELUS International's CX process consulting team worked with a retail client to determine which channels were most beneficial for their customers, along with opportunities to reduce average handle time and improve customer satisfaction. After a thorough customer journey assessment, our team recommended an interactive voice response (IVR) system to help route customers to the support stream that would have the best outcome for their needs. As part of the holistic engagement, the process enhancements suggested by our team had the potential to generate $2.6 million in efficiency benefits for the client.

Now is the time to take a critical look at your omnichannel strategy to ensure you are getting right channeling right. Contact our team of experts to see how our 19+ years of experience designing, building and implementing next-generation digital CX solutions can help your brand enhance efficiency and increase customer satisfaction.

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