Given the current economic challenges, it’s an important time to revisit your customer access strategy, and ensure that it is finely tuned to support your organization’s brand and your customers’ needs. All nine components should be up for discussion:
Customers: How your customers are segmented and served according to their unique needs.
Contact types: The major types of interactions that will occur.
Access alternatives: The communication channels available to your customers, e.g., telephone, Web, email, retail, social media alternatives, etc.
Hours of operation: The days and hours each access alternative is available.
Service level and response time objectives: How quickly you will respond to customer contacts.
Routing methodology: How each contact will be routed and distributed.
Person/technology resources required: The agents and systems required to handle different kinds of interactions.
Information required: The information required for each contact, as well as what should be captured during interactions.
Tracking and analysis: How the information captured and produced during contacts will be used across the organization to better understand customers and to improve products, services and processes.
And the benefits? From a customer’s perspective, a good strategy leads to simplified access, consistent services, ease of use and a high degree of convenience and satisfaction. From the organization’s perspective, common benefits often include lower overall costs, increased capacity and higher customer retention. There is a silver lining to an uncooperative economy: you’ve got the chance – the mandate, really – to adjust direction, hone your operations, and differentiate services.
Originally published in the ICMI Membership Blog.