Customer service automation is evolving rapidly, and I experienced this myself this week. Here is an example of excellent use of multi-channel customer service from SiriusXM Satellite radio. The entire transaction went smoothly even though it switched between four channels.
Channel 1: Mail
I received a letter telling me that my SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription was up for renewal, and my credit card would be charged for another year. I no longer owned the car associated with the subscription and had forgotten to cancel it.
I called the phone number on the letter. My phone number was associated with the account and used to look up my account information. I was told that to avoid a wait for a customer service rep I could switch to text message (SMS) support. SiriusXM sent a text to my phone number.
Channel 2: SMS Text Message
The text message told me it was from SiriusXM and asked me to confirm my account number and vehicle information. I was cautioned not to enter this in the text chat, but directed to a web page with a link.
Channel 3: Web
The link took me to a page on which I entered my account information. After I submitted the form I was notified that the lookup was successful and directed back to the text message chat.
Back to Channel 2
I received a text confirming the account lookup. Two questions later, my cancellation was complete and I received a final confirmation message and invitation to complete a satisfaction survey.
My company InfoStrat helps customers implement CRM and customer service, so it was interesting for me to experience automation as the end user, especially when the result was a smooth transaction that likely was faster and more painless than I would have experienced just using a phone call or the website as a single channel. Having options to choose and switch channels is another way to empower customers and raise customer satisfaction.