The delivery of services whether it be the proven IT Service Desk model, IT Service Management (ITSM), or the evolution of Enterprise Service Management (ESM) for a full range of non-IT services across the organization, brings with it the challenges of improving communications and automation to improve the customer experience and overall service management performance. Traditionally, the IT organization has offered limited communications as this was not a natural emphasis for the good people of IT. But the good news is that this is now changing and with new and powerful tools and technologies available to us and with a new emphasis on improved customer satisfaction, making technology more convenient, the blurring of our personal and professional lives, and much more we now have before us the opportunity to accelerate the performance of ITSM and ESM into the future and at levels not possible before. This can mean many things, but for our blog today, we will look at how multichannel communications can make everything related to service management better. To be clear, multichannel (or omnichannel) would include phone, email, messaging including text messages, chat, voice messaging, transcription, and more. We consider each of these vehicles to be a channel and new channels will continue to be added to a strong omnichannel platform that brings with it the ability to innovate and evolve.
Let’s take a quick look at a few examples of how multichannel can improve ITSM and ESM performance.
Reactive No More
The leap to proactive communications is a long overdue model for ITSM and ESM. Better communications instantly enhance any form of service management because, let’s not forget, these business processes are all about delivering a service and creating happy customers. And, what customer is not thrilled with good communications? The key for this point is to turn the communication model upside down and commit to a new standard for proactive communication and not simply reacting when an inbound inquiry or issue is received from an employee or customer. For example, providing frequent updates on progress in fulfilling a service request, proactive notifications for known IT outages or planned changes, or the notification of new services and infrastructure improvements that can assist or potentially impact users. When we are committed to being proactive and leveraging multiple channels, new opportunities can be found everywhere.
Speed is Sexy
With better communications, everything happens faster. When service delivery is in motion, we can all recognize that sooner is always better and good communications, both with the customer directly and across teams working in support of the customer, helps everybody be at their best every day and stay focused on creating happy customers. The old model of relying solely on email or phone calls is not good enough. For example, messaging brings a new level of flexibility in how information can be shared quickly and efficiently, and messaging, including text messaging, is natural for most people today and requires no training and no learning curve. Another great option is chat which is a great vehicle for providing real-time customer or employee support and providing an agent or analyst with the ability to assist customers quickly and conveniently and often in an extended-hours model. What we are trying to capture is a new standard of ‘Now’, with no delays and communications happening in real-time and providing exactly the right information to a customer. Many ITSM and ESM teams are now moving to a 24/7 service model with a core set of hours supported by phone and extended hours supported by chat. This is a very effective combination and normally results in thrilled customers knowing they can reach support whenever needed and helps to ensure service delivery is faster than ever.
Multichannel Communications are Natural
Most people are using a multichannel model every day in their personal lives so this one is right in front of us. Some combination of phone, social media, email, and text/messaging covers how we communicate every day with family and friends so why not leverage this model in the IT organization and bring some new options to customers? ITSM and ESM can quickly enable customers to work how they want to work and even more importantly, to live how they want to live. True multichannel communications provide tremendous flexibility in how we communicate and how information can be shared with customers, partners, and the extended web of relationships that together make every business run. Understand the preferences of a customer and then shape communications to fit their lifestyle.
Anywhere and Anytime
Flexibility is a key to our productivity in the future in the new remote work model that is likely here to stay. Most workers experienced a dramatic shift from the traditional workplace/office pre-COVID to working remotely in 2019 or 2020 and with that shift, we now see many things differently. What we thought would be a difficult transition ultimately underestimated the resiliency of our people and the workforce. Today, most workers feel they are equally productive or in many cases more productive than ever before. Multichannel communications are a great fit for the remote, work-from-anywhere model in that it offers so many rich options to fit every
need for how communications and information sharing can occur easily, on the run, and in real-time.
Building Strong Relationships with Speed and Omnichannel
It is clear there are many tactical and strategic advantages to multichannel communications and a proven omnichannel platform can instantly elevate the performance of ITSM and ESM by enabling service teams to communicate with a new level of convenience and speed. One clear strategic advantage is improving the quality of customer support and increasing customer satisfaction. Enabling customers to select how they want to be supported and how communications should best occur is within our reach and made possible by a new generation of omnichannel platforms. Few would argue that giving customers more control, more speed, and more convenience is a big step forward in building strong customer relationships and improving customer loyalty far into the future.