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Channel Shift - Realising the benefits

Channel Shift is the term now commonly used for moving customer contact from one communication channel to another. Increasingly, the Channel of choice is ‘online’ (i.e. over the internet) due to the enormous savings that can be achieved, not to mention that it has now become the preferred channel of choice for much of the population.

At a recent Call Centre Conference, I asked the audience if their preference would be to book a restaurant table online or over the phone; almost the entire audience chose online, which surprised many of those present. People want to communicate conveniently ‘from anywhere, at any time’ and the internet provides exactly this opportunity. Smartphones now outsell toothbrushes, allowing us to change the way we engage with others. A recent article in The Telegraph reported that 54% of people now use their phones in place of alarm clocks; 46% have dispensed of their watches; 39% have dispensed with a cameras and 26% have dispensed with a laptops. The Deloitt Mobile Consumer 2014 report stated that:

• 35 million people have a smartphone in the UK

• One in six UK adults look at their phone more than 50 times a day

• Over 30% of UK adults look at their phone within 5 minutes of waking

• The average Instant Message (IM) user sends over 55 IMs a day

When it comes to the cost of online communication, the below table provides evidence of the average cost per transaction by channel and demonstrate how communication carried out online can be done at a fraction of the cost.

Source Face to Face Telephone Post IVR Online
PWC Report £10.53p £3.39p £12.10p N/A £0.08p
SOCITM £14.00p £5.00p N/A £0.20p £0.17p

The PWC figures are averages from 19 Local Authorities in London and the South East. The SOCITM figures were gathered from a group of Local Authorities in the North West. Both are now widely used as evidence of the savings that can be achieved from Channel Shift.

If we accept that shifting communication online needs to be an essential part of ICT strategy, how should we go about achieving it? The team at 3C are highly experienced in helping landlords get it right, improving customer service whilst maximising the cost saving. If we consider the investment case in order of priority:

1. Reduce Avoidable Contact. The most important objective is to endeavour to resolve customer issues on the first contact. Providing easy access to the information needed to achieve this is key and a necessary part of then moving services online.

2. Promote Existing Digital Options. If you have existing digital services, then encourage more customers to use them – promoting them will increase their use.

3. Target New Digital Services. Where can the greatest savings be made by taking processes online? Target those where the greatest advantage can be achieved.

4. Transform your business to be digital by default. While you need to preserve the customer’s right to be digital by choice, your business processes must be re-engineered to ensure they are automated and suited to working efficiently over the internet. If not, they will be less efficient for you to deliver and less convenient for your customers to use.