The diagram below shows the six phases in a customer life-cycle as defined by Forrester Research:
It also represents a map of the omni-channel experience for customers and approximates hand-off points. As far as the customer is concerned, the experience should be a seamless continual loop regardless of whether they engage via retail outlet, online, contact centre, chatbot, IVR, etc (or more likely, a somewhat random mix of all).
From a CSP’s systems perspective, there are usually completely disparate functions that are designed in isolation, perhaps with only loose integration / hand-off between segments in the ring at best. Typically, the only thing that entwines the ring is people and process. For example, that might be a contact centre operator who hopefully has some level of visibility of each of the segments (but often doesn’t) and can tie the pieces together elegantly for the customer.
If we truly want a robust omni-channel experience for our customers, then all systems need to be designed with a seamless continual loop in mind. We can’t expect human-cost reduction automations like chat-bots or online self-service to thread the pieces together unless we can track every single user’s journey, via common linking keys, through each system.
Our OSS/BSS are better positioned than any others to provide this seamless interlock. We’re typically involved in the Buy and Use segments. We’re often called upon for the Ask segment and sometimes for the Engage. If we can also loop in data from the Discover and Explore segments (usually handled by digital or retail/sales), then we have access to the pieces. Then it just remains for us to pull the jigsaw pieces together.
I’m actually really excited by what this ring-thinking could translate to for CSPs – disruptive customer experience models. It gives the opportunity to re-imagine our systems from the customer experience out, as alluded to in the recent OSS Singapore analogy.