Blog/Builder/Feature of the month: multichannel journeys

The importance of contextual, multichannel workflows

The concept of taking clients through flows that span multiple channels is nothing new. Consider the shopping app that sends receipts via email or the doctor’s office that schedules appointments by phone but sends reminders via text. Different channels of communication have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and when you’re looking to build out the best possible user experience, you want to be able to move seamlessly between different channels to ensure that the medium always matches your intended message.

However, when automating large swaths of a user’s journey, integrating multiple channels of communication can be time-consuming, forcing you to make tradeoffs between quality and speed. And if you try to take a user through multiple communication channels without taking the time to integrate them perfectly, you’re likely to make the experience worse than if you had simply left them working in a single channel, however cumbersome it might have been. If interactions that take place through multiple channels don’t complement each other, switching between them can only cause more frustration. Being forced to toggle through different channels in order to repeatedly submit the same information makes for a particularly draining user experience.

These sorts of concerns have been at the forefront of our minds since Airkit’s inception, and a means to eliminate the associated problems is built directly into the foundation of the Airkit platform. Out of the box, Airkit comes with the most common channels of communication pre-configured and ready to incorporate into a single, cohesive flow. This allows Airkit to serve as the single source of truth, keeping track of where users are within the flow of the application, as well as what they’ve done, entered, or requested in the process of going through it – no matter what channel they were using. 

As a result, it’s easy to keep moving forward without losing context, even as users switch from web to email to SMS to phone call and back again.

This is done by associating a particular user’s progress – or Journey, as it is referred to internally – with unique Identifiers. By default, Airkit provides the first Identifier automatically: as soon as a Journey begins, it is assigned a unique ID, which allows every Journey to be immediately considered its own separate entity, even if nothing else is known about the person embarking on it. But the real power of unique Identifiers comes as the Journey continues and more data is collected. For instance, once a user’s phone number is known, all of their incoming calls and texts will be automatically tied to that user’s existing Journey. When building multichannel apps in Airkit, seamlessly bridging information from one channel to another is the default. 

Driving up customer satisfaction with omnichannel journeys

Many Airkit customers view maintaining conversation context across multiple journeys as a top priority and a key element of their customers’ satisfaction. This is why AutoReturn, America’s leading towing services provider, partnered with Airkit to build a digital, multichannel experience using Airkit’s Journey Model that would reunite car owners with their vehicles more efficiently and at scale.

In order to streamline the process of getting car owners the information they needed to recover their vehicles, AutoReturn wanted to deflect calls to their call center to a self-service flow that would span text, voice, and web. The team had built their own internal API to power the flow of data between their internal architecture and their call center software, but unfortunately, their legacy on-prem contact center solution was too inflexible to enable them to build the multichannel, digital self-service flow they desired.

Airkit, however, is able to sit on top of AutoReturn’s new software-powered contact center solution, allowing the team to manage the flow of calls and information from a web-based dashboard, simplifying call routing tremendously. Now, when a user calls in to get information on their car, they can opt to be sent a link via email or SMS to provide details like their license plate and VIN number and receive an update through the channel of their choice. 

The combination of AutoReturn’s custom-built API and Airkit’s ability to maintain conversation context across SMS, email, voice, and web resulted in a 44% deflection rate and a 20% decrease in overall call volume. Read the full story here

Try it out: build text deflection into an existing app!

Airkit makes it easy to try your hand creating user Journeys that span multiple channels. Here’s how to get started by building an app that spans two – web and SMS:

  1. If you don’t already have access to Airkit, sign up for our free trial here. (For more on getting started, check out our Quickstart Guide.)
  2. Decide on a web app to direct users to. If you’ve already built or otherwise have access to web apps in Airkit, feel free to use any one of them. If you haven’t, check out AK101 for a step-by-step walkthrough of how to build your first Airkit web app.
  3. Add Chat Bot that replies to incoming texts with a link to your existing web app.

Once you’ve built out your first multichannel Journey in Airkit by following the steps above, you can apply what you’ve learned to start crafting your own! Build out more complicated Chat Bots, try your hand at adding a Voice Bot to what you’ve already created, or explore the many other external systems that might become separate communication channels in their own right. 

And if you run into any questions – or just want to brainstorm how to best implement your ideas – feel free to sign up for Office Hours and take those questions and comments directly to our Developer Advocate team.

Happy building!

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