Would you embark on a cross-country journey without taking a map? It sounds crazy, yet that is exactly what most organizations ask their customers to do every day.

Over the past decade the number of ways we can now communicate with businesses has exploded – voice, email, chat, social, SMS/MMS, you name it.  And most companies currently support the ability for their customers to engage with most, if not all, of these channels. Yet they typically cannot support multiple channels simultaneously (multimodality) within a single interaction. Nor can they link these interactions together in a step-by-step workflow and they cannot manage the lifecycle of the customer journey to provide apersonalized and context appropriate experience for each and every customer (journey management).

It is not to say that customers themselves do not embark on journeys as they interact with these businesses.  In fact, they are doing just that — taking a journey – be it a quest for a new product or service, a road trip to resolve a service issue, or simply a quick dash out to change account information.   As customers increasingly engage across digital channels like mobile devices, they follow self-directed and seemingly random journeys.  These journeys, led by the customer, often require so many interactions, that they are high in effort for both the customer and the company.

What if instead, you could provide a re-imagined and designed journey – one that shapes and guides the customer along their path through the use of proactive alerts and confirmations, thus removing the need for them to reach out for assistance.   Such an optimal customer journey would not only lower the customer effort, resulting in increased satisfaction and loyalty, but also result in more efficient use of your organization’s resources.  That seems like a win-win situation.

You are probably asking yourself, “Is this really needed”?  After all, most businesses haven’t focused on journeys in the past, yet have happy, seemingly loyal customers.   The reality is that your customers are engaging with you over multi-channel, cross channel journeys. You just may not be aware of it.  To make it even more challenging, these journeys can continue over a period of time, requiring the customer to pause and resume them – only to need to restart from the beginning.

In fact, according to the Customer Experience Board, 58% of callers to a contact center have visited their web site before calling, and a full third of them (34%) are on the web while talking to a rep.  Is this happening with your customers, and if so, what are you doing to take this into account as you work to deliver a personalized journey that factor in their previous stops?

So if the reality is that customer are embarking on a journeys each and every day, and there is a clear benefit to both the customer and business, why are more organizations not focused on addressing this need?   Most organizations manage these journeys from organizational silos that often are not context-aware of what has transpired previously. This is akin to driving to the grocery store, then deciding to also go to a restaurant, yet being forced to first go back home to start again.  Not very productive and efficient is it?

The opportunity is for organizations to shift their focus to Omnichannel Journey Management where omnichannel context (sharing of information from one channel to another), interaction modality, journey orchestration and journey lifecycle management together provide the kind of personalized and context-appropriate experiences that today’s digitally driven customers demand.

To learn more about how to design, orchestrate and manage these omnichannel journeys, join me and Tony Costa, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research on April 22ndas we discuss Orchestrating Omnichannel Journeys for an Effortless Customer Experience.

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