How to Humanize the Web Experience

In this exclusive interview at the Executive Customer Contact Exchange, Wendy Schratz, Director of E-Experience at BSky B, speaks to us about how to humanize the web experience, customer online and much more. Watch the interview to find out more:

You mentioned that your role is focused on humanising the web experience. Can you explain what that means for BskyB?

My original mission was to really bring the digital channels, of which the web is the biggest, but also interactive TV, to bring those digital channels to the party at Sky so that customers could self-service more and phone us less, because traditionally phone was really almost the ubiquitous form of customer contact. So, we have a million phone calls a week, and the brief was please can we get self-service to be great so that more and more people do that. So, that's where we started, but what we've been finding, as we've been playing in that game is that customers now are adopting and using the connected world on the website, not because it allows them to self-serve but because it allows them to connect more to human beings, so not to replace human beings but in fact to be the hub of your, sort of, social network. So, humanising the web experience is more the mission that we're on now, and we think if we can humanise that experience and bring Sky and our customers to each other and to us, actually we can build more relationships and have a deeper conversation with customers, not simply stop you phoning, go away and do it yourself to some extent. So, it's about humanising that experience and really making the most of it. And by the way when we do that I suspect lots more people will self-serve as well, but they'll also connect to us, connect to our offerings and our brand, hopefully, in a different way than they've been able to in the past.

What has been the biggest challenge that you've faced on your journey with this, and how have you overcome it?

I think trying something new is always a bit frightening for some people, so Sky has all the success that it enjoys because it is very driven and very clear about what it does. So everybody knows without any shadow of a doubt what their objectives are and what their key performance indicators are, and everyone is very focused on delivering those. So, when we're trying to do something new, trying to put something different to customers, there is a fear in the organisation about what that's going to do; is it going to work, or is it actually going to risk or jeopardise the success that had been known so far? So, I'd say our biggest challenge is really just bringing all of those internal stakeholders from all around the company to the party and persuading and engaging and working with those guys to say, actually, look there's a bigger prize, why don't we stand it on its feet.

Conversely, what's been your biggest success and what do you attribute this to?

I think our biggest success has been really playing with these new communication channels, so live chat, or web chat some people call it, we've grown our offering fromã?¦ we had about 90 people doing sales for quite some time, but we're now going to have nearly 500 people engaged with service conversations during web chat, and we have found that that is not only at least an equally efficient channel of doing it on the phone, but our customers systematically rate it higher. They rate higher in MPS terms hugely, self-service on its own, often a negative MPS score, web chat often plus 50, it's double what it might be on the telephone, way better than self-service on its own, and better first contact resolution. So web chat has been an amazing new channel for us, and our other little victory that we've been quite quiet about is starting to really work in the social media space. We now have thousands of interactions with people on Twitter and on Facebook every week, as well as having one of our most healthy and fastest growing customer forums on our own site. We're starting to quietly win awards for actually engaging with customers and being where they are and talking to them, and that's been quite scary. We've started really small, so as not to scare everyone in PR and all of that, but we're gradually, actually really starting to work out the value that that can add for customers and for us too.

How do you feel solution providers in this pace can help drive the market forward? In other words, where are the gaps?

Really simple, by getting together. So, if I look at my solution array I've got a solution provider for me live chat; I've got a different one for my forum capability and my social media listening; I've got a different one for my email handling; I've got yet another one for my content management system and then another one for knowledge management. And I have contracts and agreements for all of those people who are very good at the pieces that they do, starting to knit over into each other's zones, so partly maybe the answer is I get a fewer number of providers covering a greater number of functions, but actually I might want to say, I'd like best in breed of that and that and that, but I need you to work together. And I need those solution providers to be prepared to be technically able to work together. A great example of that is live person having a module to connect into Lithium's forum so I can practically chat to someone who posts a private thing on the forum, so that's great. So, they can technically connect but I also need them to get behind our objectives for our customers and think about their commercial models, not on their own, because I'm not interested in driving more chat, or driving more email, or driving more virtual assistant, I'm interested in answering more questions better for the customer using whichever of those things works for them at the time. So commercially, how do we work together, technically, how do we get interoperable?