“Channel thrashing” is when a customer goes back and forth between self-service (online forums, company website, etc) and personal interactions (live chat, call center, etc) at least two times. Our customer data indicates that anywhere from 10-25% of contact center calls are from channel thrasher customers. Imagine the potential savings to your contact center if 10-25% of your call volume was reduced simply be eliminating channel thrashing! For a large enterprise the immediate savings could be enormous.
Something had to go wrong that necessitated the customer take the very action they were trying to avoid. Remember that most channel thrashers are motivated to self-serve. The best way to eliminate channel thrashing is to identify what went wrong in the self-service channel that ultimately forced the customer to call. Based on what you understand of what the customers did before they called the call center, where did the self-service path fall short? Did it have:
For instance, an e-commerce site’s delivery confirmation emails might be getting caught in customers’ spam filters. Let’s say 5% of the calls to the contact center where from customers wanting to know about the status of their package. However, before the customer reached out to the company’s contact center they sent an inquiry via web asking about the status of their shipment. The response they get tells them the company cannot locate their package without a shipping order. However, because the customer’s email box flagged the confirmation email as spam they don’t know their shipping order number. And the merry-go-round of a bad customer experience continues!
Another example—the customer of IT software company is having issues properly installing their new software. They first tried using the support feature on the company website, but the page about installation isn’t loading properly, or maybe they’ve tried everything the support page already recommended and the software is still not loading. That customer is being now forced into contacting the company’s call center even though they tried to find the information they needed on their own. Chances are the experience is putting the value of the software company’s product at risk, especially if one of the selling points was its ease of use.
Many customers are looking to take customer service into their own hands, especially with the help of online and social information. Your customers are using each other’s knowledge and experience with your products to answer their questions! However, when that information falls short of a solution, they’ll turn to your company website, live chat feature, and contact center for help. Your company cannot control what your information your customers’ peers gives out, but your own self-help channels need to be well organized, functioning properly and user-friendly in order to eliminate channel thrashing.