Channel Your Energy

Again the dynamic, fast-paced, wild and informative #custserv chat on Twitter this week is bringing me here to see if I can sort through an issue in a slightly lower gear.  If you’ve ever participated in these chats on Tuesday nights, you know the speed at which the tweets fly by; allowing for a mere dusting of the issues.

The title of this weeks chat was “Interacting with your Customer: Text? Voice? Video?”.  As you might expect with a title like that, this topic could have gone, and did go, in many directions.  Eric Jacques, in his reflection here, argues that the tools you use should be the last thing on your mind with respect your service delivery model.  That’s a whole other related but separate topic.  And, worth the read.

I boiled down this issue in my mind into three buckets that I’ve outlined in the clip below.  By the way, that’s the way my mind works.  I think in threes.  Good tactic when organizing thoughts for presentations or writing.  Try it.  My bonus gift to you. 

Channel Challenges

The addition of multiple channels of communication will continue to increase both the number and complexity

I don’ think there is necessarily a right or wrong answer to the channel strategy question.  In my mind, it’s a matter of selecting a strategy, committing to it and building your execution capabilities to support that strategy; a strategy  that has the main goal of enhancing the customer experience.

Your thoughts?


  1. Awesome thoughts, and good to see you talking live on video (you look different in color!)

    I like the idea of consolidation. The customer isn't thinking of which department they'll end up in if they email vs phone vs twitter, and so on. Yet each of those channels can terminate in completely silo'd areas of your company. The preference is to make each of these teams (phone team, email team, social media team) into one big group with lateral communication and a unified tracking system. Break down those walls and it'll be a much smoother experience all the way through.

  2. I am very inclined to agree with Jay. Just as customers don't (and never did) care about what dept it was that handles their issues, they still want the solution as the primary goal.

    So if different channels are working to solve customers' issues, they better be talking and connected to each other. With the state of technology, this is quite achievable!

    *Having different channels (media) for customers to connect is a big plus. It is one more contribution to customer-focused service. Some will like online chat, others, phone, others email, etc…

    As Eric said, the focus is still on meeting the customers' needs with superb service.

    I hope that the multi-channel issues of today do not repeat the same "whose dept is it" missteps of yore.

  3. Agree with you both on "departments.". However, the important thing from the 'outside looking in' is a seamless customer experience and an appearance (regardless of internal organization) that the left hand and right hand are connected by a "unified body"

    If I get information as a customer via a chat session and then call the next day, the chat info needs to be available to the phone agent whether or not the chat occurred on the same continent.

    Btw, love the graphic!

  4. @Jay thats actually an interesting angle. I hadn't thought about that perspective. But especially with Social Media, we're now finding PR and Marketing folks engaging with customers on service issues. What happens if the entire enterprise jumps into the game and takes all that stuff we've been spouting as truth – everyone is in customer service – and they start engaging with customers. AR folks talking billing, procurement talking product ingredients. Oh the mayhem! Coordination needs to be solved and fast! Thanks my friend

  5. @Kate – good point. And as we discussed last week on #custserv, its not just multiple internal functions. now you have to include customers and other sources in your service delivery mix. This increases the complication of tracking and coordinating channels and information distribution across those channels


  6. @barry – as a technology savvy guy, you clearly recognize the opportunity and the difficulty of channel integration..and more importantly message integration. Both of these are critical. Interesting question. I cant recall any, I mean any, interaction where I have crossed channels and had the past interactions known. Its doable. What is the challenge in making it reality?

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