Make Your Customer Access Strategy Uniquely Yours

What access channels should be opened up? What’s the nature of service you intend to provide? Beyond applying sound management principles, these decisions are yours to make. My overarching advice: Make your customer access strategy uniquely yours — do what’s best for your customers and your organization.

Here are some examples of how customer access strategies are playing out:

  • London-based Barclays bank offers video banking, allowing customers to chat face-to-face with a representative from their smart phone or tablet. The service is available 24/7, and offers support on a wide range of services.
  • 1-800-Flowers ( is the company name, phone number, primary URL, and (you guessed it) address for Twitter, Facebook, and other channels.
  • Discover Card enables customers to reach agents through in-app messaging, among other channels. Unlike conventional chat, which requires customers to stay connected until a problem is resolved, customers can respond to agents when they choose without having to start over on an issue.
  • Dyson puts its toll-free number and website address right on its vacuum cleaner handles—clearly visible to anyone who uses the appliance.
  • Intuit’s Accounting Professional Division developed a vibrant customer community, easily accessible directly through their accounting software programs; users help each other with most questions, and contact center agents have become facilitators and problems solvers for issues requiring the company’s involvement.
  • The National Cancer Institute in the U.S. uses Facebook Live Events to reach out to patients and their families with information and support.
  • Square, Dell and many other companies that provide involved technical support have embraced co-browse capabilities, which have boosted quality and customer satisfaction, while reducing handling times.
  • Gucci, the luxury retailer based in Florence, Italy, is opening six contact centers in sites that include Florence, Shanghai, New York and other regions, to (in the words of CEO Marco Bizzarri) give customers “a direct connection to the Gucci community that is a seamless, always accessible, personalized experience.”

You get the idea. These are just some of many examples I could cite of strategies that came about thoughtfully. Observe the organizations you most enjoy doing business with, and you’ll notice the best deliver services in ways that meet customer needs while complementing their own brands and cultures.

Excerpt from Contact Center Management on Fast Forward by Brad Cleveland.