Merging ‘Front’ and ‘Back’ Offices to Retain the Digital Customer

Awards InternationalFebruary 27, 20185min0
The rise of new technologies and their impact on a multitude of sectors has defined the digital disruption of recent years.

Banks continue to close branches as the thirst for more efficient and online services grows, while a renewed focus on Digital Experience is sweeping the airline industry.

This drive for innovation is affecting organisations of all shapes and sizes, as they reconsider their operating models to respond to the demands of the digital consumer. At the same time, organisations are faced with an uncertain economic outlook as Brexit negotiations get underway; the prospect of rising inflation and slowing wage growth means that consumers will likely expect greater levels of customer service in the future.

But research from software firm Verint has revealed a far more complex prognosis, examining the causal link between the rise of digital technologies and customer churn, as companies are having to respond, or risk losing valuable business.

Retaining customers in the digital shift

The research shows that consumers who prefer to engage with brands via digital channels are more likely to swap providers than those who engage through human touch interactions, such as via the phone or in-store.

This link between communication channel preferences and retention showed that just under half (49 percent) of those who prefer to engage with organisations via digital channels have been with providers for more than three years, compared with 58 percent who prefer to pick up the phone and 57 percent who prefer to go in-store.

When executed properly, the value of the human touch in customer service can drive better customer engagement, retention, and feed into the bottom line. Yet in order to achieve this, companies need to strike the balance between embracing the modern digital agile customer, while taking care not to alienate those that prefer to engage through traditional human touch interactions.

To be successful, companies must adapt to new operating models, new ways of interacting with consumers, and new ways of selling. Back office integration is a key part of this, and plays an important role when it comes to meeting customer expectations today.

Aligning the back and front office

The front office has played the most essential role in delivering customer service in recent years, as it’s traditionally been the first point of contact for the consumer. Yet as more consumers engage with brands digitally, the line between front office and back office operations has become increasingly blurred. Consumers now expect the back office to deliver the same levels of customer service, such as billing, processing orders, and updating records, that the front office fulfills.

Back office operations no longer have to take a back seat. Companies must move beyond the customer contact centre and adopt a holistic approach to ensure the back office comes on this digital journey with them, balancing the older paper heavy processes with digital demand and ensuring nothing slips through the net.

The future and beyond

The drive for digital innovation across a huge range of sectors is unstoppable, and the consumer demand for these services is only set to rise. But with this demand comes equally high expectations, especially from a younger more tech-savvy generation. As this consumer base becomes more prevalent in the marketplace, so brands across sectors, and indeed across the world, are seeing their retention figures fall.

To meet these expectations and retain a strong customer base, companies must align their operations. This is particularly true in the back office where operations are often complex, comprised of many lengthy, multi-touch processes and extend over different work groups and systems. To move past the chaos to coordination, businesses must gain visibility and control over what is being done by whom, when and for how long.

In achieving this, companies need to look to introduce workforce management solutions capable of addressing the complexities and needs of different back office functions. By galvanising back office teams, the business can improve employee productivity and performance, helping brands to make the digital experience more personal, meeting the demands of the digital consumer.

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