Methods of Contact

November 2, 2012 Off By Melissa Team

By David Loshin

In the last post, I suggested that a key aspect of managing customer centricity is the need to gain some mastery over the many varied channels for communication as well as the varied means by which individuals represent themselves within each (or many) of these channels. To that end, let’s look at media/methods, classifications, and identity.

For example, we have telephone connectivity, which basically covers peer-to-peer network connections, and can be deployed via physical wireline, wireless, or Voice over IP (VOIP). But contacting an individual via telephone involves both an identity (individual answering the phone) and a virtual location (that is, the telephone number).

In fact this seem like a bit of an anachronism; for VOIP connections, I don’t really need a telephone number, but the standard for “connectivity” already exists, so it is used. But services such as those provided by Skype or Apple’s FaceTime can use a telephone number or connect using different reference “handles,” such as an email address or yet another identifier.

In other words, to contact someone, there are many contact handles. Here is my first cut of a list (please email me at to add to the list!):

  • Postal address, including primary residential address, secondary residential address, office address, post office box address, privacy contact address, corporate address, delivery address.
  • Telephone number, including primary wireline residential telephone number, secondary wireline residential telephone, wireless telephone number, VOIP telephone number.
  • Email address, including personal email address, work email address, junk email address, device email address.
  • Instant messaging handle, including one of many different instant messaging platforms.
  • Website address, including corporate website, personal website, blog site address.
  • Video messaging locator, including Skype or FaceTime handles.
  • Customer or Loyalty identifier, such as shopping preference identification numbers, frequent customer numbers, insurance member number.

Note that none of these include any actual real face-to-face interactions. The point is that any specific person can interact with your business across multiple channels using multiple sources for multiple reasons, such as calling the customer service department via wireline service from the home, or wireless service on the road.