Sunday, August 07, 2005

Path 1: Overcoming Channel Proliferation Woes

Improve Internal Processes and Sales Inefficiencies

As promised, here is a more detailed look at Path 1 for overcoming channel proliferation woes. Each detailed view will center on Process, Culture and Technology.

Internal workflow processes surrounding ever-expanding channels have grown in a haphazard fashion. The task of processing a new customer sale or assisting a current customer requesting service is too complex and is different depending upon which channel is involved. There are too many people involved, too many steps, too much confusion, and too many mistakes. The end result is too much cost, lost business opportunities and unhappy customers.
As companies drive more of their customer interactions from the frontline into automated back-office operations, there is likely to be a decrease in overall service satisfaction. Frontline people are by nature and training skilled at delivering services to customers while back-office staffs are more operational and typically not as sensitive to customer concerns. The challenge then is to push the appropriate customer interactions into automated channels, but not lose the customer in the process.

PROCESS: Eliminate or automate inefficiencies that hinder channel success. Integrate processes to improve customer acquisition, cross-selling and up-selling. Improve customer retention with service that meets the needs of customers while optimizing sales and service efficiencies. Become world-class in processing business faster and better than the competition.

CULTURE: Organizational “fiefdoms” must be integrated under common man¬agement so that resources and processes are centered on deliver¬ing an enterprise commitment to customers, using the most appropriate channel mix possible. Management should guard against cultural drag or even subterfuge that can minimize success. Look for structures and rewards to overcome cultural issues and get all management working toward integrated channel programs. Only when organizations move to a customer-centric mode will they be able to route customers cost-efficiently to the channel best equipped for each customer process.

TECHNOLOGY: Utilize technology to improve internal processes that can impact marketing, sales and service: analytics, knowledge management, marketing automation, guided selling, process automation, multi¬-channel contact center automation, document automation, mobile messaging, and agent support systems. Implement standards to add to efficiency and better external connectivity.

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