Last updated: What is channel fragmentation, and how does it impact CX?

What is channel fragmentation, and how does it impact CX?


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We’re now undeniably living in the age of customer experience, with CX projected to overtake product and cost as the key brand differentiator by 2020. Meanwhile, customers are willing to spend a price premium of up to 16% for a better experience.

But it’s also the case that connected customers are engaging with brands through more digital channels than ever before.

What is channel fragmentation?

Marketers used to be able to rely on pretty specific mediums to reach customers: TV, radio, and print. As the internet evolved, soon there was another way to reach customers. Enter social media, and suddenly nothing looks like it once did.

This is what’s meant by channel fragmentation – there are so many mediums, platforms, and channels on which to message customers, that it can be difficult to know which is best for each customer.

Also, keep in mind that channels which are commonly grouped together under a single banner, like social, actually consist of a multitude of different platforms. Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp – these all come with their own opportunities and rules of engagement.

What’s the frequency: The risks of using the wrong channel

Every customer has their own preferred channel. This can depend on age, activity, location, and what they are looking to achieve, but there’s an element of personal preference and urgency which means it’s never completely predictable. But get it wrong, and your CX will suffer.

For example, 49% of customers prefer to receive support via SMS than a phone call. If the only support option you offer is a phone number, you’re essentially guaranteeing that half your customers will have a poor experience.

It’s no longer just a case of finding the best channel for your brand – but the one that’s best for the customer, at the moment they want to connect. This is a huge challenge: how can you possibly hope to anticipate every individuals’ wants and needs?

Discover the right channel, automatically

Leading multichannel engagement solutions utilize failover rules which are able to escalate and move conversations automatically between channels, like push, SMS, and social, based on user preference, data connectivity, and historical response patterns. This is all handled through a single communication interface, providing a customer view which cuts across all channels.

Thresholds can be set by the enterprise, so that if a message cannot be delivered, or isn’t read or responded to within a certain time, the system will automatically carry over to the next most appropriate channel – and ultimately to SMS which, with its global availability and acceptance, is the ultimate failover channel.

Intelligent solutions can stop channel fragmentation

Reaching customers on the right channel at the right time delivers superior digital engagement, boosts open and conversion rates, and reduces overall notification costs. And, of course, helps to improve that all-important customer experience.

This article was co-written by Meenal Prasad.

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