Customer Experiences Need Work Across Channels

Earlier this year, we published a report called Best And Worst Of Cross-Channel Design, 2009 that examined results from our expert review of 16 companies across four industries: Online travel agencies, auto insurers, footwear manufacturers, and discount retailers. We examined scenarios that included interactions online, with call centers, via email, and through IVR systems. The evaluations also looked at transitions across channels.

Here are the overall results from that analysis.


As you can see, none of the 16 firms ended up with a passing score. Here were the highest scoring firm in each area:

  • Web site: Expedia
  • IVR: Nike
  • Phone agents: Orbitz and
  • Email: Nike
  • Channel transitions: Expedia, Geico, and New Balance 

The cross-channel reviews graded experience across 57 criteria. More than 12 of the 16 companies failed these nine criteria:

  • Is text legible? (Web Site)
  • Is the task flow efficient (Web Site)
  • Is essential content available where needed? (Web Site)
  • Can the user complete her goals in all required channels? (Channel Transitions)
  • Are keyword-based searches comprehensive and precise? (Web Site)
  • Does the system provide essential content? (IVR)
  • Does the site help users avoid and recover from errors? (Web Site)
  • Does the site present privacy and security policies in context? (Web Site)
  • Do menu categories immediately expose or describe their subcategories? (Web Site)

The bottom line: There’s a lot of room for improvement

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

7 Responses to Customer Experiences Need Work Across Channels

  1. Pingback: Movements Require Discipline (Plus Updated Open Source Social Media Process) » The Buzz Bin

  2. Pingback: Insetes on Customer experience « Fredzimny’s CCCCC Blog

  3. This is really hard to get right, especially what you call Channel Transitions. For instance, JetBlue normally does a great job with their web site, but recently, trying to use my frequent-flier miles for one person on a trip for 3 people, I had to go back and forth between the web site and the phone center, calling 3 times. The phone center reps wouldn’t take care of the issue because they would have had to charge me $45 ($15 fee per person) despite the fact that you couldn’t complete the transaction on the web site without calling the phone center. Creating different capabilities for different channels, when coupled with different fees, provides a complex customer experience.

  4. Colin Shaw says:

    Anecdotally I would concur with these findings. In my experience it is the siloed mentality of organsiations that cause this. Each silo have their own target to achieve and in some cases there is internal competition to be better than the other departments. Very little work is done to pull the Customer Experience together in most organsiations and even if there is some nominal appoint for cross functional teams, they do not have the teeth to get things changed.

  5. ok cross-channel but it’s very important that every customer service is ranged, ordered and organized to offer same quality

  6. Why is it we are not surprised by your findings? Multi-channel leaders all groan when this is discussed, because they KNOW the integrated experience is, well, not very integrated. I see two underlying contributors:

    1) Too often there is no single, clear, shared-across-the-organization view of the ideal, or target experience. Smart, well-intended leaders work on lists of initiatives driven by their own view of “better” customer experience. And as Colin notes, we have plenty of focus on function or channel performance but not enough on the effectiveness of the experience.
    2) Customer experience is often considered only the domain of customer facing functions – an even in your research here it is the most accessible to evaluate. Yet the choices Nike or Orbitz or Geico make in product design and employee talent strategy and capital investment all had a hand in the experience you observed.

    When companies make all operating decisions to achieve a defined target experience they reap the best performance. In the meantime, we’ll deal with the clunky channel transitions you found.

  7. Pingback: A few of my favorite blogs, Part I – Customer Experience - the customer experience for profit blog

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