The Role of a Secure Channel in an Omnichannel Strategy
In previous blogs we’ve touched upon how using an omnichannel strategy is a great way to provide a better experience for your customers. We’ve also discussed that an integrated, secure email channel is missing in most omnichannel experiences. However, we’ve yet to really dive into the demands for omnichannel, the benefits for successfully implementing the strategy, and provide a real-life example of how a secure channel in your omnichannel strategy can not only elevate customer experience, but also make things easier for your organization. It’s only appropriate then to take a step back for a few minutes to discuss these topics – let’s get started!
We’ve all heard it before – putting all customer interactions in one place allows you to provide an excellent experience and it makes your job easier. But do you know the data that backs this up?
The case for using an omnichannel strategy
According to one report, those companies with a strong omnichannel strategy retain up to 89% of their customers. Those who don’t? They only retain about 1/3 of their customers. This fact alone is enough to explain the increased emphasis on omnichannel and customer experience. In fact, Gartner’s 2019 Customer Experience Management Survey states that in 2017 only 1/3 of companies claimed to compete on and value customer experience as part of their strategy. But in 2021, it’s expected that 4/5 of companies will put customer experience first.
But what if you’re in a regulated industry – do these statistics still apply to you?
While these statistics are weighted on retail or ecommerce perspectives, providing an excellent (and secure) omnichannel customer experience for those in regulated industries is equally important. In fact, DataMotion recently conducted a survey to hear what IT and Financial Services Executives have to say about their own company and their customer communications. Almost half complained about inefficient workflows involving fax and postal mail. They also expressed complaints over limited ways to interact with their customers while maintaining regulatory compliance and the multiple user IDs needed to access their legacy methods of secure document exchange or email encryption. Unsurprisingly, this survey also revealed a desire to see all interactions with their customers in a unified interface.
That survey was conducted about a year ago and, as you can imagine, the push for an omnichannel strategy and seamless interactions in regulated industries has only grown since then. If not just because of social distancing and the coronavirus halting face to face business and pushing for all interactions to take place digitally, but also because of the generational shift and increasing influence of Millennials and Generation Z.
Millennials are some of the first people to grow up with technology as a large aspect of their life. And even more so than Millennials, Generation Z was practically born with a smartphone in their hand. As you can imagine, growing up with technology has greatly influenced how they expect to do business. These generations don’t just want businesses to be “digital-first,” they prefer to do business with vendors whose digital experience is polished and slick. And if they have a problem with a transaction, a question about their bank statement, or something else, they expect to be able to easily exchange messages and supporting documents digitally in their customer app to get their questions answered. If their problem resolution experience is difficult, time consuming, or requires too many steps, consumers from these generations especially will not hesitate to take their business elsewhere.
How you can meet these demands… while staying compliant
So, tying this all back to omnichannel, how can we meet these demands for a frictionless, digital-first customer experience without sacrificing security and compliance for those in regulated industries? We need to make the customer app or portal part of this omnichannel strategy and allow simplified and secure exchanges of sensitive information between your customers and internal customer service agents.
This experience needs to be native in the app. Your customers shouldn’t have to receive a secure email from their bank, then be taken outside of your app to some other portal to access it. Why is this? Because your employees, and especially your customers, do not want to deal with any extra logins or portals – they should be able to send, receive and review messages and documents, even those containing sensitive data, in a seamless and natural way.
How can we accomplish this? By using APIs to integrate a messaging center behind the login of an organization’s application, customer portal, or mobile app, we can allow all of these interactions to occur in one place. With DataMotion’s Secure Message Center, you can natively integrate the system that your customer care agents use with the portal and mobile app that your customers use – allowing simple, secure and compliant exchange. Your agents and customers can then easily initiate, retrieve and review sensitive exchanges from within the interface they’re already using.
A real-life example of an omnichannel strategy in a regulated industry
Instead of diving into the details of how a secure message center can fit into your omnichannel strategy, what it is, and how it works, it would be better to provide you with a real-life example.
Below is an actual graph of an integrated message center in use by a large wealth management firm with over 2 million customers. They actively use our secure message center peaking at about 100 API calls per second. On the left-hand side of this graph, you can see that they reach about 750 new messages or documents per hour. These are messages that are exchanged between the organization from their internal support systems and customers that are logged in to their customer app.
Over time, individual customer repositories or message folders continue to grow with exchanged messages and documents. This turns a customer’s message center into a personalized knowledge base of their relationship with the organization. In fact, on the right-hand side of the graph, you can see message center access peak at 14,000 per hour. So, for these 750 message exchanges per hour, customers are referring to prior exchanges over 18 times to 1 over sending a new message. They’re often able to find the answer they need in a prior exchange before asking a new question.
There are also some other benefits of implementing this secure message and document exchange as part of an omnichannel strategy which cannot be seen in the above graph. First, this organization’s customers are using the message center twice as much as they were the year before. Despite this increase in usage, the number of support requests that the organization now receives from their 2+ million customers has dropped by 30%. Not only that, but since the beginning of the year, the average size of messages has tripled, indicating that more documents are being attached and exchanged digitally.
So, as the usage of this private message channel grows, the repository of prior exchanges grows, and the customer’s relationship with the organization grows as well. This is because their customers rely on and trust this channel to get answers to their questions – it becomes a familiar touchpoint to them. Not only does Secure Message Center allow this organization to provide a superior customer experience, but this knowledge base aspect has also allowed them to increase the retention of their customers as well.
There was quite a bit of information crammed into one blog post, so I’ll summarize the key points in just a few bullet points:
- Implementing an omnichannel strategy is important not only for improving your customers’ experience, but also helping you to retain customers in the long run
- Customers are demanding efficient, secure, and frictionless experiences with the organizations that they do business with, including those in regulated industries
- Not only can secure exchange in your customer app or portal help you provide a superior customer experience, but it can also allow you to make your agents’ job easier, create a personalized knowledge base of information for your customers, and improve customer retention