We recently asked attendees on a CX Insights webinar a question about their organisation’s inbound/outbound communication integration. How would they assess their current engagement with customers across all communication channels? The possible responses (and the percentage of participants giving each response) were:

  • We have a fully-automated inbound/outbound multichannel solution and are exceeding targets (0%)
  • We have some technology in place and are meeting expectations (13%)
  • We have a multi-touch strategy but could make improvements (57%)
  • We don't currently have a multichannel strategy (30%)

Pie chart of poll results

This was broadly in line with expectations because whilst organisations may have achieved that integration in isolated areas of the organisation, they are demonstrably a long way from putting all of those strategies together in an integrated platform. This remains, for nearly everyone a more longer-term vision.

Why do organisations see a CX Strategy as a 'long-term vision'?

One reason for this could be unkindly described as ‘Luddite’. Some organisations resolutely cling to the idea that operating separate outbound and inbound channels is just neater – never the two should meet. They have a hard time appreciating the potential value of applying a joined-up strategy to inbound and outbound customer communications.

Another reason basically comes down to the convenience of the organisation. Where long-established processes by which organisations would send out and receive back physical paperwork, the lumbering revolution was in providing and admitting that paperwork as electronic documents (send and received by email, for instance). For some companies the progress may have stopped there – under the pretext that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Modern standards would agree that it may not be ‘broke’ but it’s slow and inflexible, so fixing it would still be necessary to remain competitive.

Not having an integrated multichannel strategy for customer communications may be less important in some sectors, but in most cases it suggests a lag that needs to be addressed sooner or later, and it needs to be done as seamlessly as possible without disrupting service.

Going from multichannel communications to multichannel experiences

Just over half the organisations polled indicated they had in effect embraced the whole ‘multichannel’ idea but were in fairly early stages of making it happen to tangible benefit. These are the organisations soon to embark upon assessing their multiple channels and integrating them into a true multichannel CX strategy. Their customers of the future will be able to engage with them in any way they wish, not necessarily interacting via the same channel every time but switching tracks as convenient to them, whilst the organisation accommodates and responds seamlessly.

Are you a customer of such an organisation yet? If so, you should consider staying with them, all other factors being satisfactory. If they’ve got Customer eXperience right, the chances are that’s the result of dozens, if not hundreds of processes having been analysed carefully for efficiency and customer convenience. You may conclude we’re still a fairly long way from that becoming the norm – and we’d be forced to agree with you.