Nick NoniniNick NoniniFebruary 6, 2018


The rise of new technologies and their impact on a multitude of sectors has defined the digital disruption of recent years. 

Banks continue to close branches as the thirst for more efficient and online services grows, while a renewed focus on Digital Experience is sweeping the airline industry.

This drive for innovation is affecting organisations of all shapes and sizes, as they reconsider their operating models to respond to the demands of the digital consumer. At the same time, organisations are faced with an uncertain economic outlook as Brexit negotiations get underway; the prospect of rising inflation and slowing wage growth means that consumers will likely expect greater levels of customer service in the future.

But research from software firm Verint has revealed a far more complex prognosis, examining the causal link between the rise of digital technologies and customer churn, as companies are having to respond, or risk losing valuable business.

Retaining customers in the digital shift

The research shows that consumers who prefer to engage with brands via digital channels are more likely to swap providers than those who engage through human touch interactions, such as via the phone or in-store.

This link between communication channel preferences and retention showed that just under half (49 percent) of those who prefer to engage with organisations via digital channels have been with providers for more than three years, compared with 58 percent who prefer to pick up the phone and 57 percent who prefer to go in-store.

When executed properly, the value of the human touch in customer service can drive better customer engagement, retention, and feed into the bottom line. Yet in order to achieve this, companies need to strike the balance between embracing the modern digital agile customer, while taking care not to alienate those that prefer to engage through traditional human touch interactions.

To be successful, companies must adapt to new operating models, new ways of interacting with consumers, and new ways of selling. Back office integration is a key part of this, and plays an important role when it comes to meeting customer expectations today.

Aligning the back and front office

The front office has played the most essential role in delivering customer service in recent years, as it’s traditionally been the first point of contact for the consumer. Yet as more consumers engage with brands digitally, the line between front office and back office operations has become increasingly blurred. Consumers now expect the back office to deliver the same levels of customer service, such as billing, processing orders, and updating records, that the front office fulfills.

Back office operations no longer have to take a back seat. Companies must move beyond the customer contact centre and adopt a holistic approach to ensure the back office comes on this digital journey with them, balancing the older paper heavy processes with digital demand and ensuring nothing slips through the net.

The future and beyond

The drive for digital innovation across a huge range of sectors is unstoppable, and the consumer demand for these services is only set to rise. But with this demand comes equally high expectations, especially from a younger more tech-savvy generation. As this consumer base becomes more prevalent in the marketplace, so brands across sectors, and indeed across the world, are seeing their retention figures fall.

To meet these expectations and retain a strong customer base, companies must align their operations. This is particularly true in the back office where operations are often complex, comprised of many lengthy, multi-touch processes and extend over different work groups and systems. To move past the chaos to coordination, businesses must gain visibility and control over what is being done by whom, when and for how long.

In achieving this, companies need to look to introduce workforce management solutions capable of addressing the complexities and needs of different back office functions. By galvanising back office teams, the business can improve employee productivity and performance, helping brands to make the digital experience more personal, meeting the demands of the digital consumer.

Nick NoniniNick NoniniNovember 30, 2017


As consumers continue to become more digital-savvy, organisations are considering – and even implementing – more cost-effective digital channels as part of their evolving customer engagement strategies.

For many, this means investing in AI solutions like virtual assistants, in-store virtual helpdesks, and automated chat. But the message from customers is that a ‘digital by default’ approach isn’t always conducive to a positive experience.

According to research Verint conducted across 24,000 global consumers for The Digital Tipping Point, human contact is still critical.

More specifically, consumers say their channel of choice, whether digital or traditional, is determined by the complexity of their requests.

For simple tasks, the phone is the most popular option (22 percent), while email and SMS are secondary. However, as customer requests become more complex, reliance on human interaction increases. More than a third of customers prefer to go in-store (34 percent) for complex enquiries, while another third prefer to connect by phone (33 percent).

Businesses that understand the Customer Experience as the basis for how they compete and win the market need to not only establish their customer’s channel preferences, but ensure they deliver a satisfactory and seamless service across all channels. And, of course, it must be done efficiently and cost-effectively.

The often previously overlooked – and possibly under-invested in – back office plays a key role in doing so. With a well-functioning, predictable back office organisation tool implemented, all the information and data required by the front office to deliver a positive customer experience can be aligned.

To improve coordination between the two, it isn’t a case of simply adding back office employees to front office systems. The two environments are vastly different and require different capabilities and skills sets.

To drive the optimum outcome, agile organisations are opting to implement a back-office work optimisation solution to connect processes and tasks end-to-end to create and manage customer journeys and positive outcomes.

Immediate benefits are two-fold: front and back office teams can proactively collaborate to improve the speed and accuracy of customer service, whilst the organisation benefits from increased productivity and performance and a reduction in backlogs and complaint potential.

Evolving technologies like AI will continue to play a role in the future, allowing businesses to auto-mate simple requests and processes in order to prioritise the personal touch for more complex or personal issues.

Yet alongside all of this, businesses have to break out of the old ways of working – using command control tactics – to embrace a new way, centred more around engaging and empowering the work-force.

Work traditionally undertaken in the back office can, and should, also be broken out of its traditional bricks and mortar residence to become part of blended end-to-end operations. Remote workers, employees working flexible hours, and those in the call centre, branch, and field all play a major and effective role in responding to and improving the customer interaction experience.

To gain the most benefit, organisations need to be able to forecast the skills, availability, and capabilities required to efficiently allocate work to their increasingly blended workforce, optimising ‘downtime’ and reducing inefficiency.

They need reliable, predictive analytics, alerts, and notifications that identify exactly where latency and surplus capacity exists before things go wrong. Comprehensive metrics are no longer an operational luxury.

Visionary organisations are the ones which not only understand that positive Customer Experience is key to a sustainable competitive advantage – they recognise that this leads to customer retention and, ultimately, affinity.

It is vital to ensure clear collaboration between the front and back office functions to create a blended workforce. With the right infrastructure, processes, and culture in place, businesses can implement a strong strategy to effectively service and retain customers, influence sales, and heighten engagement and loyalty.

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