In my last blog post I proposed eliminating, or at least reducing the availability of email as a service channel. The rationale is basically this:
1) 84% of customers prefer fast and easy resolution over channel of choice;
2) That same 84% is willing to be guided to the best channel for resolution;
3) Email has the 3rd lowest consumer confidence level of the “Big 4” (phone, web, web chat, and email);
4) Email is the most expensive channel to resolve an issue.
So, if email isn’t a great channel—for both cost & experience reasons—how do you get rid of it?
Glad you asked. Here a few keys to keep in mind:
1) Take Your Time – This is not a “light switch” moment where you make a decision today & eliminate the channel tomorrow. Careful thought needs to go into not only the decision, but the shift away from the channel, too. It took you time to move in this direction, give your customers some time to change behavior, too. Oh, and know that others have made this move, too, so you’re not alone here!
2) Know Your Audience – Even though email offers a poor customer experience at a very high price you may actually have some customers that love to use it, and choose it first over other channels. If that’s the case, you need to identify who those customers are and provide even better guidance to those folks than to customers that prefer other channels.
3) Have Alternatives in Place – (and guide customers those alternatives). Nixing one channel and then hoping that customers will find alternatives will likely create an even worse experience than if you kept the poor channel in place. Not only do you need to have an alternative in place, but you need to actively guide customers to that better place for resolution, too.
4) Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – The communication plan needs to provide transparency & rationale, and maybe even positive reinforcement, too. CCC’s research has proven that all three of these influence principles improve the likelihood of customers taking a recommended action (like using a different channel to achieve issue resolution).
Time and time again, we hear service executives express concern about reducing or eliminating channel offerings, but without fail when they decide to do it they all say the same thing: we should have done this sooner.
So, what are you waiting for?
Wording Guidance Principles