Posts Tagged ‘omni-channel; contact strategy; customer journey; multi-channel; carpeo; tpoint; smart contact’

Field of Omni-Channel Dreams or Catch-22?

October 15, 2013

Field of Omni-Channel Dreams or Catch-22?

What Film does your Omni-Channel Customer Journey resemble? Is it beautifully consistent with seamless scene changes or flawed, clunky and badly cut? And is the editing process and your improvement journey going as fast as your consumers want and your business needs?

field of dreams

If you build it he will come” – was the calling in the famous Kevin Coster Film, Field of Dreams, where he built the Baseball field and against all odds… he and they all came. The same calling is true for enlightened professionals for omni-channel. Unfortunately organisations just don’t work that way. Although every marketer and service person knows that delivering an omni-channel sales and service facility will increase engagement, reduce customer effort and increase sales, exactly how and where is difficult to put your finger on.

Catch 22: What came first the Chicken or the Egg?

The Omni-channel business case or the capability?

The Omni-channel business case or the capability?

In our 15 year experience of building more relevant contact strategies that have delivered £10Ms of value for our blue-chip clients, we’ve constantly come up against the Chicken and Egg conundrum.

It took two years for one client to roll-out a change to their SME contact strategy that uplifted revenue by 35%. Why?

When IT roadmaps are already full you get the run around. Prove the business case, tell us exactly what components you need that we don’t already have on our plan and then we’ll build it. At best, good discipline that ensures you don’t build a Single View of the Customer £Multi-M White Elephant. At worst, delaying tactics, because its too difficult and we’ve already got more than enough to do. Even if you can point to others that are benefitting, will we get that benefit? How can you be sure?

Until you build it you don’t know and until you can prove its worth it you can’t build it! Aarghhhh!

Assuming you could get a “skunk works” project up and running to prove the case, you’ll then run into the secnd barrier, which is people. We’re too busy doing what we’re currently doing (chasing existing targets) to disrupt that and try something new. Catch 22.

Moving On…

As I said on a Directors Club Omin-channel Webinar when interviewed by Jon Snow the other day, one of the ways to break this is to incubate these new strategies. Either in-house, with a separate team, or outside the corporate barriers entirely.

To do this, you need three things:
– Be clear where the value lies
– Have an ability to create a virtual single view and add in channels
– Incubate it with people and technology where you can control, test and learn

Show me the Money

At HOWTOEXPERIENCE we have a rapid approach that looks at the maturity or sophistication of contact across the customer lifecycle (from Finding, Getting, Joining, Using, Leaving, & Managing Events). We look at it entirely or focus on a specific part where you believe there’s pain and opportunity. Identifying your Omni-channel opportunity. Delivering three quick things that will make a difference immediately and three medium term areas where

with new capability you’ll make a step change. We put numbers on this backed up by external benchmarks to show the scale of the return. You use this to get everyone excited and signed up to the plan.

Mary Poppins had a Magic Carpet Bag…

Mary Poppins Magic Carpet Bag

Mary Poppins Magic Carpet Bag

We’ve got a Contact Innovation Centre in Swindon ( full of talented bright people, backed by a highly agile multi-channel real-time contact engine that can be set up very quickly ( It’s a way to isolate your omni-channel opportunities, test them and evaluate the returns, without disrupting business as usual. We think that’s unique.

Once you know what works and by how much you can take the real results into your business and accelerate those items that make the biggest difference. Gaining traction and pull. Confidently scaling and rolling out, whilst working on the next set of ideas.

The Journey to Omni-channel reality

It’s rare that you’ll make this omni-channel dream a reality overnight. It needs significant IT, data and organisational change, which will be the subject of a later article. On the webinar, I explained that it’s a journey to omni-channel. You just need to start taking the first few steps in the right direction. Joining the key channels together at the key moments, rather than trying to do it all at once. Building confidence from small but sure and rewarding first steps.

You can undoubtedly find many significant opportunities by looking at your customer journey maps. That said there are few areas where we always look first and more often than not, find opportunity.

Finding – The consumer and client buying journey is much more complicated with ¾ of customers using at least 2 or more channels. In a mobile phones company, when we looked at the purchase journey we found a 30:1 ROI in capturing leads better and integrating follow up across face to face, web and mobile channels.

Joining – One of the most formative and yet complicated times in the life of a customer with you, where customers experience up to 70% of all the interactions they might have with you. At American Express, when we streamlined this it uplifted revenue 19%. They won CRM strategy of the Year.

Servicing – With ArrowXL, the UK’s largest 2-man multi-brand delivery business, integrating channels and shifting focus from reactive service to proactive service is reducing cost to serve by 50% and leading to improved customer satisfaction. We wish them luck – they are a finalists in the multi-channel category in this week’s customer experience awards.

Retaining – Picking up Defection Triggers in Social, Operational and feedback channels and then acting upon them can have a significant impact on reputation, prevent escalation and improve retention. We’ve seen multi-point improvements in retention rate.

Turn your Field of Dreams into a Reality by identifying and incubating your Omni-Channel Eggs!

If you’d like more on how to do this, please contact David Williams –

If you’re a pioneer – where have you found most benefit and what other hints can you give others on barriers and how to overcome them? We welcome your contribution to the conversation.

About the Author

David Williams built the world’s largest customer Management benchmarking database and sold it to the WPP Group. Since then he continues his practical customer focussed consulting work at HOWTOEXPERIENCE and also sits on board of Carpeo an outsourced contact innovation centre that focussed on delivering added value customer contact and tPoint Solutions – a leading cloud-based Smart Contact Platform.

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