Omni-Channel, we hear much of this don't we these days?
Which organisations really understand this concept though? What lessons are there for social housing getting it right? Lets look at ourselves as guinea pigs.
As an individual, what channels are good for contacting me?
Well, I do a lot of social media, active on Twitter and LinkedIn. On a personal level you will find me on Facebook and Strava too. I have a mobile and I think I give callers a few clues how I prefer to be contacted. My voicemail message points to two email addresses and then as an afterthought, a suggestion that "you might want to leave a message as I will always wonder who called". Of course, you will have been listening to my proud Mancunian tones for about 20 seconds by then.
Still, some people insist on wanting to chat. Now I do get that old adage that 'people buy from people'. I get that. If these people were taking me to Costa for a strong quadruple expresso, I would be all ears. However, wasting 40 minutes on a conference call, which would be resolved in five email questions, is not best use of anyone's time.
This month my professional indemnity insurance came up for renewal. Compared with last year I noticed an increase of about 32%, which was interesting as it was nowhere near what was available much lower in the marketplace. I won't be so callous to name the company, but I did say by email, please don't automatically renew and provide me full details of what I paid last year and what it covered. None of this actually was provided, but I had about 30 auto-dialler calls from them over the last three weeks. A bit pathetic really, as if a human had actually left a message to say they might be able to cut a cheaper deal, I might not have gone with an insurer that was 16% cheaper than last year.
The point is that technology here did not help the organisation. The auto-dialler could not cope with an answerphone and two many attempts were made before engaging any humans. In fact no humans were engaged, so the tech actually lost the business.
I am a massive fan of technology while it works and its appropriate. In our systems we need to be selective how we use technology and communication channels. Where and when are important. We need also be able to identify where the selected channel fails, or what times/days work best for that communication. You know what? A call from a human can sometimes make all the difference, now let's not forget that.
If your CRM function, and it might not be so formal as recognised as such, is recording customer/tenant contact accurately enough, it should be easy to profile what is the best time to contact them and what is the most likely time in the day to hear from them and by what channel.
If my suppliers predicted me more accurately, they might have engaged with me by now and retained the business. If your customers are giving you the clues, for goodness sake pick up on them and improve their experience. A clue is we have two ears and one mouth, do twice the amount of listening than talking and we will be communicating and getting on much better.
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The Damned - Plan 9 Channel 7.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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