Which is More Important: Customer Experience or Interactions?

As we at Glia continue to explore the emerging strategy of Unified Interaction Management with our clients, we’ve been noticing that leaders at many organizations are still using the terms “interactions” and “customer experience” seemingly interchangeably. 

Yes, they are related, but what we’ve been learning is that as you start to pay more attention to how they are different–and especially what’s different about the impact each has on the overall success of your organization–you will see why managing your interactions differently makes so much sense.

The Difference Between CX and Interactions

DescriptionA qualitative assessment of every touchpoint a customer will have throughout their lifetime of being a customer.A 2-way exchange between two humans (whether by messaging, voice or video) typically driven by a customer’s specific need.
Nature of TouchpointsWide variety of active and passive experiences, typically over a long period.Unique and memorable. Interactions are more rare in an on-screen world, therefore more likely to influence future customer behavior.
What’s at stakeCustomer loyaltyCustomer loyalty
Operational cost-to-serve
Revenue generation
Risk mitigation
Outcome being optimized“Did we keep the customer happy?”“Did we create the greatest possible value during this interaction?”
Measurement methodologyCSAT
Customer Effort Score
Unified Interactions Index:
What’s being measured?Sentiment
VoC (Voice of Customer)
Interaction management strategyChannel-based, individual channels operated in silos by separate teams.UIM: A unified team that optimizes all interactions for value, through all forms of voice, messaging and AI.
Interaction architectureCombination of various vendor platforms.A ChannelLess solution, allowing for seamless transitions between modes of communication and collaboration
Prime directive“How can we best manage all the channels customers are using to contact us?”“How can we create the best interaction for each customer (one that is also the most efficient and effective) …regardless of which channel they used.”

The Benefits of a Customer Interaction Strategy

What we’re seeing: as companies evolve to using a ChannelLess platform, they can now begin to automate the process of matching the exact right kind of interaction to each customer, each time they contact you. 

In the Unified Interaction Management model, the customer’s specific need (the reason they are interacting with you right now, aka their “issue type”) becomes the trigger to determine which form of communication and collaboration is likely best for that need.

  • In many cases, a virtual assistant can solve a customer’s specific issue in seconds.
    • When that’s possible, everyone wins. Fast and easy resolution. Boom.
  • In other cases, proactively offering a chat session about that customer’s specific need is the right interaction.
    • When a customer is offered a proactive chat that’s personalized to them and anticipates their need, most are happy to engage.
      • Chat: “Hi Mr. Watkins, it looks like you’re thinking about applying for an auto loan, I can totally help you with that…” 
  • In still other situations, it’s best to proactively offer the customer a chance to speak with a live Agent–but not by phone, rather by touching a button on the customer’s screen. This is the ultimate effortless experience.
    • “For most customers who are trying to [issue type] they’ve found it’s been helpful to talk to one of our live Agents. Press this button and you’ll be connected immediately!”

The key benefit of ChannelLess-ness is being able to proactively offer the exact right kind of interaction for each customer based on their need at that moment. Maybe it’s a chat with a bot, a chat with a person, a live voice interaction,or a 2-way video, matched to the exact reason they are interacting with you right now. Whatever is most efficient and most effortless for that situation or need…which we can now predict with a high degree of accuracy by studying over 3 billion interactions between FIs and their customers and members.

To the customer, the interaction feels like “…they knew right away what I needed.”  To the company, it creates tens of thousands of more efficient and effective interactions, ones that cost less and maximize possible revenue opportunities.

The legacy model of managing to “improve the customer experience” and trying to increase your NPS scores isn’t inherently a bad idea.  

But managing your interactions in a more unified way is the strategy you need to evolve towards in order to keep from getting left behind in today’s hyper-competitive, hard-to-differentiate FI environment.

UIM offers the opportunity to manage and impact a far greater swath of outcomes–the ones that matter most to the folks in your organization’s executive boardroom.

Download the Glia Unified Interactions Index Report today!