Whether we admit it or not, today’s customer experience is all about omnichannel. People are reaching out to companies on the phone, via text message, through emails and webforms—you name it, someone’s using it. When customers reach out to customer service, they most often use three or more channels, and most businesses offer multiple service channels to answer customer questions.
But an omnichannel experience isn’t just about having multiple channels: it’s about making sure those channels all work together. The idea behind omnichannel is that it all the service channels are connected, integrated, and consistent. When customers call your company, they don’t view your support channels separately; to them, everything is managed as a whole, not a bunch of different departments. And they’re not wrong to view the customer experience this way—91% of customers want to pick up where they left offwhen they switch between channels.
Have you ever reached out to customer service on one channel, gotten frustrated because things are going nowhere, and switched to another channel? Then, are you increasingly exasperated when you find out you have to start your conversation over?
Yeah, so are we.
Luckily, this type of customer experience can be avoided by companies that take an omnichannel approach. Despite its association with marketing and retail, omnichannel can be applied to customer service as well. Omnichannel service means bringing various channels together in a more integrated and consistent way, drawing on past interactions and customer data to create a seamless service experience. In fact, over 90% of customers expect this kind of experience from companies.
Providing great customer service can be a superheroic task. Agents have to provide helpful, knowledgeable support to people all over the world, and they have to do it fast. That’s no easy feat.
Luckily, agents don’t have to go it alone. They’ve got an awesome omnichannel lineup on their side to save their customers’ day. And what better team to help them out than the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?
Companies are connecting with customers in more ways than ever, but when it comes to customer support, many businesses still rely on just phone or email. While these are important channels, customers are beginning to expect more options from the companies they do business with. Customers ultimately expect businesses to support how they want to communicate — phone, email, web chat, social media and texting—and they want to work with the companies that make interacting easy.
Customers today use an average of three channels to contact your business, and they usually have to start over when switching between each one. It’s a disjointed customer experience, one that can lead to unhappy customers and potentially a loss in business.
That’s why businesses today need to provide an omnichannel experience. It’s a fancy word but a straightforward concept: customers should be able to switch between channels while maintaining the context of their conversation. What’s more, they should be recognized by companies and delivered a service experience that’s tailored to them.
Providing a sophisticated communication experience can be a difficult task. Today’s technology has advanced so much in such a short period of time that businesses have to account for channel proliferation (voice, SMS, social, etc.), multiple touch points (web, contact centers, branches, etc.), the different tasks being performed (reminders, customer support, confirmations, orders, etc.) and channel affinity (which channels customers prefer) when providing service.
Omnichannel. I first heard the term from an analyst during an interview at an Enterprise Connect Conference where we were unveiling our SMS Contact Center solution. He told me that most contact center experts were no longer using the term “multichannel” but were instead opting for the cooler term “omnichannel”.
An omnichannel strategy is one that seamlessly supports customer needs whether they use phone, email, web chat, Twitter, Morse code or smoke signals. While the idea of being so-called “omnipotent” sounds aspirational, it is beyond the reach for most mortal contact centers.