The importance of the customer journey is well understood in our industry. 75% of practitioners conduct journey mapping and use it to digitize customer processes. However, as we move full swing into the digital world, 2 issues must be addressed.  

Digitized—and increasingly automated—processes work when customers follow a well-defined path. Exceptions involve interacting with a human, which businesses made more difficult in an attempt to deflect customers to digital channels. The effort required breaks the promise of a fluid experience.  

Proactive engagement is the most effective way to deal with these situations. By taking the first step after an exception is detected, businesses can reduce customers’ effort and frustration. Furthermore, they can optimize these engagements and provide agents the full context of the issues. 

So far, digitization has been applied to elements of the sales or service process. But the customer journey is no longer linear. It has become a collection of interwoven phases—micros journeys—mixing sales and service. Examples include assisting prospects online with complex buying decisions, onboarding new customers to help them get the most of their purchases, and helping customers unable to make a payment with options. Handling these critical customers’ moments hinges on engaging them. 

The need to handle exceptions and bridge sales and service has pushed engagement to the top of the agenda. It’s also changing how it must be done, leveraging all channels, personalization, and empathy.  

We went over the evolution of customer engagement in a mini webinar series with Sheila McGee Smith. In episode 3, she gives her perspective on the essential building blocks of a Conversational Engagement system. 

Watch it out: