Yet, when we talk with many clients around the country, the real “cloud” is actually the mental fog caused by their desire to connect multiple customer contact channels. Forget, for now, the cloud that hosts applications and enables software-as-a-service (SaaS) types of solutions. I’m talking about the cloud fogging up the lens to see a better customer experience through multichannel integration.
Time and time again, consumers initiate an interaction in one channel and ultimately complete that interaction after using a second, third or even fourth channel. These consumers seamlessly move from self-service to full service and back to self-service, yet their personal data, contextual information and historical interactions are never taken into account. The enterprise views each time they have contact with a consumer as an independent transaction.
But the consumer views the enterprise as a single, holistic company that should not only “see” what they did in one communication channel, but also connect all of that time, effort, data and context to the next channel, and the next channel and so on. And the fog rolls in.
Enterprises that are cross-channel context aware — those that figure out the most effective way to connect customer communication channels, to access existing consumer data across various silos residing within the enterprise systems and databases, to present optimized channel interactions — and those that deliver communications in consumer-preferred channels will have a decided advantage in the eyes of ever-fickle consumers who seek a seamless experience regardless of device, location, time, place or channel.
Never have Johnny Nash’s words been more relevant in business:
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)