There’s a common denominator when it comes to the rise of SMS, social media, email WhatsApp and chatbots as marketing and customer service channels: the rise of mobile and digital.
From retail to financial services, they’re the conduit for customer interaction across sectors. Recent Engage Hub research has reinforced the importance of self-service and a connected customer experience. (For example, 73% of consumers like the control that digital channels give them.)
But there can be a major stumbling block when it comes to realising the benefits, both for consumers and for businesses: Mobile and broadband coverage.
Mobile and broadband “not-spots” affect the customer experience
9% of the country still doesn’t have access to 4G, even with plans to start rolling out 5G this year. The government has a target of delivering a good mobile service to 95% of the UK’s land mass, and this week BT consumer chief Marc Allera championed a “rural coverage pledge” with much fanfare in an attempt to drive progress. But rural areas in particular continue to be plagued by “not-spots”.
Broadband coverage can be spotty, too. Ofcom announced rural broadband coverage as a pillar of its 2019-2020 annual plan, but developments have been slow up until this point.
A multichannel CX approach helps overcome patchy coverage
Recent research has looked at telephone and IVR, chatbots and other self-service options as part of a customer-centric approach to communication and service. The aim is to deliver a connected, seamless experience across every touchpoint, so people can interact with you on their terms.
When you put in the context of mobile and broadband connectivity issues, this becomes even more important. What if you can’t rely on an SMS delivery update getting through? What happens when call quality isn’t good enough to resolve an issue by phone? What’s the best way to deliver banking fraud alerts if push notifications won’t be received quickly enough?
The key is offering choice. It’s about making it easy – for customers to find a channel that works for them at that moment and to opt into the communication methods that will serve them best for different purposes.
Data sharing becomes even more important
Customers with frequent coverage issues are more likely to move between channels, which means you need to break down data siloes internally. When customers get in touch, the response needs to take previous interactions into account, no matter which method was used. This means call centre agents need visibility of email, chat and SMS logs, and vice versa.
Having up-to-date customer information helps as well. If the call drops, does your agent have the number to ring back or an email address to follow up with?
You can’t necessarily do anything about customers’ connectivity, but you can ensure that each interaction is as joined up as possible. And with this integrated, multichannel approach, you’re in a strong position to impress, turning a frustrating “not-spot” interaction into something refreshingly positive.