An omnichannel strategy is not one size fits all – yet, most articles you find online about how using the strategy can improve customer experience focus on the topic in a retail or ecommerce setting. That’s why we sat down with DataMotion CEO, Bob Janacek to discuss how an omnichannel strategy can be used in regulated industries such as healthcare or financial services where the exchange of sensitive data occurs. Continue reading to find out how an omnichannel strategy helps businesses in these industries improve customer retention, satisfaction and provide a better customer experience – particularly, if they integrate a secure email channel as part of their strategy.
Hi Bob, it’s nice to sit down and talk with you again. The last time we spoke, we touched upon how customer service can be enhanced by integrating a secure message and document exchange channel as part of an omnichannel strategy. This time, we’re going to expand more on this topic to focus on omnichannel in regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare. So, for anyone who may not be aware, can you briefly describe what an omnichannel strategy is and the benefits to having a strong one?
Bob Janacek: Omnichannel is an evolution of a multichannel strategy. Like multichannel, an omnichannel strategy provides customer service over a variety of channels, including mobile and desktop portals and apps, chat, email, social media, fax and voice. But unlike multichannel, which uses different systems and databases to provide this range of services, omnichannel centralizes data from all channels in a customer record, providing a seamless experience for customers and contact center agents as customers move among channels.
As you mentioned, this links back to providing a superior customer experience – a topic which we’ve discussed quite a bit. For those who are trying to improve their customer experience with an omnichannel strategy, or even those that currently use one – what are some of the top challenges they may face?
There’s no doubt that the promise of omnichannel is compelling. But in practice, successfully implementing and receiving the benefits of omnichannel is challenging. Take, for example, email. Surveys show that about 30% of customers want to use email as their preferred support channel. But by nature, email is outside of the customer portal and mobile app, and may even be external to the contact center system. Companies in regulated industries, such as wealth management, financial services, insurance and healthcare have additional challenges since email isn’t a secure way to exchange sensitive data. So, they turn to encrypted email systems to supplement their customer service workflows. But those systems add another portal and login to the customer experience and are frequently cited by customers as an area of frustration when exchanging messages and documents with their vendors. Especially in these times of remote work and social distancing, organizations have to make doing business remotely with their customers as secure and seamless as possible.
Let’s focus on this a little bit specifically. You mentioned that email is one of the most frequently asked for channels, but it tends to be left out of the omnichannel experience. Not to mention, it has some limitations such as integrations into a customer portal as well as security. What are some ways organizations can leverage the benefits of email within an omnichannel strategy?
To achieve a seamless omnichannel experience, an email or message center experience must be integrated seamlessly behind the login of customer-facing portals and apps. By default, it should be secure to protect any type of data exchange. Integrating into the customer experience, and that of customer service agents, requires APIs for secure exchange and repositories that allow prior message and document exchanges to be viewed. These APIs should support single sign on and provide a secure, seamless experience to users.
Organizations that have integrated message centers in their customer portal or app have seen rapid customer adoption and escalating usage. We’ve seen examples where customers refer to prior message and document exchanges over ten (10) times more frequently than sending new messages, resulting in a 30% reduction in support requests. It’s as if this channel, which is secure, personalized and efficient, increases the customer’s understanding of their relationship with the organization.
So, you started to mention that the integration of a secure message and document repository decreases support requests and creates almost a knowledge base effect – can you elaborate some more on this?
That’s right. As a customer’s message and document repository grows, we see them referring to that repository substantially more than creating new messages. The repository becomes, in effect, a growing personalized knowledge base of their relationship with the organization. As time goes by, this repository gets bigger and grows in value to the customer, serving as a reference point for issues, document exchanges and transactions, answering questions on related or duplicate topics, and increasing their bond and loyalty to the organization.
So, in summary, you talked a lot about this missing secure email channel. This channel, although frequently demanded by customers, is often left out of the experience – causing organizations to miss out on the opportunity to unify and streamline their customer’s experience using an omnichannel strategy. Not only that, but they’re missing a vital opportunity to save time and money for their support teams. Why do you think so many organizations seem to be passing up on this opportunity despite these benefits?
For most technologies, the option is buy versus build. Since it’s not common to find secure email vendors that offer APIs, buy often meant having a co-branded email encryption portal with a separate login and user experience, all drawbacks of legacy multichannel solutions. When looking to build a secure message center, the significant scope and complexity of the project quickly comes into focus.
Fortunately, organizations are finding out about commercial off the shelf solutions, such as DataMotion Secure Message Center, that provide a secure, scalable, API-driven solution that can be rapidly integrated into their existing contact center and customer-facing portals and mobile apps. So hopefully the days of disconnected email and document exchange will soon be behind us, and customers and organizations will be able to effortlessly conduct business and transactions digitally and remotely in a secure manner.
Well Bob, as always it was nice to speak with you. I hope you and your family are continuing to do well. I look forward to speaking with you again for our next interview.