The omnichannel approach has been used by marketers to reach as many customers as possible, especially in the current circumstances, where most physical stores remain closed and rely on product deliveries and online purchases.
In 2020 alone, more than two billion people made online purchases, with online retail sales surpassing the $4.2 trillion mark. With many companies resorting to omnichannel strategies to maintain consistent service quality across channels, they have also been focusing on improving their customer service channel via an omnichannel contact center, which unifies customer interactions across all channels in an effort to enhance the overall customer experience.
To really achieve total customer satisfaction, or at least something very close to it, an organization should take the outside-in approach. This approach leverages available “listening tools” like social media to put the company into the customers’ shoes. The power has always been in the hands of the customer, but by using what companies know about their customers, they can turn the tables to maximize the benefit for both themselves and the customer.
The omnichannel approach differs from multichannel by integrating multiple marketing and service channels into a cohesive whole. This allows different departments and teams to work together toward the common goal of ensuring quality and enhancing customer satisfaction. An omnichannel contact center, similarly, integrates customer service channels—including email, phone calls, instant messaging, and the like—to consistently provide a unified customer experience.
Omnichannel Contact Centers for Improved Customer Service
A holistic view into how your organization provides quality products and service will help you determine what you’re doing right and what needs improvement. Taking all channels and looking at them as pieces of a bigger puzzle ensures that you leave no stone unturned in providing your customers the best experience possible. Below are key considerations in establishing an omnichannel contact center for your business.
- Customers expect good—and fast—mobile and web services
Mobile and online channels have been on the rise in recent years, with digital channels being used more by customers for shopping and complaint resolution. However, 64% of customers complain of difficulty in navigating websites; even companies with good websites don’t provide the same experience when it comes to mobile. They have shown preference for online chat for resolution of issues, but two thirds of these customers also report waiting up to a day or more for their issues to be addressed. These problems should be viewed as opportunities to improve the customer experience and make them loyal patrons through memorable, pleasant experiences.
- Customers expect instant responses.
The dawn of social media has increased the expectations of customers; compared to email, customers expect quicker response times when it comes to social media. They treat social media channels akin to one-to-one conversations, and letting this conversation die down leads to customer churn. If customers are unhappy with the way they are treated, reasonable or not, they will leave or go to your competitor.
- Customers expect a conversation.
If you really want to keep the conversation going, live chat is one of the best ways to provide real-time interactions with customers. Through it you can answer questions, address concerns, and make product or service recommendations instantly. You can also use it to get insights on what your customers currently want, making adjustments or improvements to your products as needed.
- Customers expect easy solutions.
Customers rely on instant responses from brands or companies, but they also expect simple solutions to simple problems. Often, customers want to resolve issues on their own, without having to reach out to customer service. Convenience is key when it comes to customer satisfaction, and there’s nothing more convenient and empowering than knowing you can solve a problem yourself.
- Customers still read emails.
Despite email being dismissed by some as a dying medium, it remains one of the most effective digital marketing strategies, with over 6 billion emails sent and received in 2019 alone. This is predicted to increase to 374.3 billion emails in 2022 despite the availability of more modern communication media like instant messaging and live chat. This jus t goes to say that email still works. It should be noted that customers also expect quick responses when it comes to email communication. Companies can use email as an opportunity to respond directly to customers and send branded, personalized messages.
Humanizing the Customer Experience With Omnichannel Strategies
In the quest to provide excellent and memorable customer experiences, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the “human touch” makes all the difference. This means that your organization and your employees should be attuned to customer sentiment and current market trends. Empathy is still one of your best tools, and active listening will always get you farther than even the best marketing spiels. The key here is in applying this level of understanding across the organization. By providing a unified customer experience across all channels, you also build stronger relationships and transform prospects into patrons.
About the Author
Efrat Vulfsons is the Co-Founder of PR Soprano and a data-driven marketing enthusiast, parallel to her soprano opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A from the Jerusalem Music Academy in Opera Performance.