Right-channeling often gets a bad rap. Many eBusiness professionals interpret right-channeling to mean railroading customers into the lowest-cost customer service channel. But that is only half the picture. Cost savings are certainly an objective — but not at the expense of customer satisfaction. Right-channeling means providing customers with a satisfying service experience through the most cost-appropriate channel.

Today, effective customer service right-channeling is challenged by limited channels. Mediocre site search and static FAQs result in unsatisfactory self-service with little option but slow motion email or the most costly channel: the telephone. Luckily, there are many variable cost-per-contact online customer service channels to consider: virtual agents, click to chat, mobile, and social. eBusiness professionals face the challenge of determining what customer service channel(s) to introduce and to what extent these new channels will deflect volumes from existing channels.

I have recently written a document called “Selecting Online Customer Service Channels To Satisfy Customers And Reduce Costs” to address this challenge. In this document, I look at how to select new cost-appropriate customer service channels that will satisfy customer needs and how to estimate the impact that introducing new channels will have on existing ones. This process begins with:

  • Determining what proportion of your current customer service contacts originate from your Web site.
  • Identifying what proportion of your customer service contacts are low-, medium-, and high-complexity.
  • Deciding which customer service channels align with your customers’ needs. 


I hope that you will find some actionable advice in this document. As always, I’m happy to hear about your experiences around this or other online customer service topics.