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Omnichannel Customer Service: Definition and Benefits

Increasing market share and getting products noticed are goals that every business works toward. With consumers shopping in so many ways these days, competitive businesses strive to make their presence felt in as many places as possible. Of course, most of these “places” aren’t physical locations. Social media channels, websites, and apps allow businesses to market and sell products to bigger audiences. 

The Omnichannel approach, which works to unify customer experiences across all these channels, is currently replacing the older multichannel approach. In multichannel models, no provision is made for the fact that customers don’t necessarily stick to a single channel when interacting with your business. This makes interactions disjointed and inconsistent. 

For example, if you engage with a chatbot or live chat, email a company and then follow up with a call, you’d like the call to be handled within the context of earlier interactions. The ability to do this requires an omnichannel approach. 

Omnichannel Customer Service: an Essential Accompaniment to Omnichannel Sales

If your business sells to people using several channels, it makes sense that customer service must be available and consistent across all of them. Omnichannel customer service, like omnichannel sales and marketing, doesn’t work in platform or channel-based silos. This brings us to our definition. 

Businesses that adopt omnichannel communication for customer service use software to link each customer’s current situation to past events regardless of the communication methods customers chose to use at the time. This allows customer service personnel to provide highly relevant assistance based on previous interactions. It benefits both the customer and the business. 

Benefits of Omnichannel Customer Service

Happy Customers, Repeat Purchases, and Recommendations

Great customer experiences make for satisfied customers who will be happy to support your business again. Customer service is a very important component of customer experiences. Research indicates that up to 90 percent of customers will give you repeat business and will recommend you to others following a satisfying customer service interaction. In fact, you’ve probably heard it from others: “Try X Company: I was very happy with their service.” Your omnichannel approach makes offering efficient service much easier. 

Saving Time and Building Relationships

One of the secrets to great service is understanding the path leading to a request for assistance and the individual customer’s context. It saves time, and if more than one interaction is needed to achieve a desired result, your service agents and customers don’t have to navigate the whole support process from scratch. 

Think about the old-fashioned interactions you enjoy with small brick-and-mortar businesses where you’re a “regular” and staff recognise you instantly and know what you want. There’s an existing relationship, and these businesses know its history. Scale that up to a business with thousands of customers. Can you help customers as if they were old friends? With the right technology and the right people to use it, you can. 

Valuable Insights Into Customer Experiences and Self-Service Improvements

You’re already investing in self-service options, but you’re still getting plenty of support calls. Why? The answers to this question are easily found in the type of customer service requests that live agents must field. That’s why record keeping and analysis of customer service needs are so important. 

By the time customers reach out for help, most of them have already attempted self-service options – sometimes, with mounting frustration. Some customers won’t contact you at all. Finding it difficult to get what they want, they simply move on in search of another solution – possibly from your competitors. That’s why data on customer enquiries is so valuable. 

According to Gartner, it’s often possible to reduce live service interactions by 20 to 40 percent using existing functionality. Your happiest customers may well be the ones you never hear from. Your live customer service requests give you valuable information on how you can make things easier for all your customers. Up to 80 percent of them prefer self-service and just about everybody sees a call or live chat as a last resort. 

How to Implement Omnichannel Customer Service

Identify Your Channels

When people have questions, they may not want to switch channels to get them answered. Their reasoning? If you’re using a channel, it should be possible to get quick responses right there. Make provision for customer service on every channel where you have a presence. Using social media as an example, you may primarily be using it to raise awareness about what you do. All the same, customers will expect you to attend to any queries they direct to you there. 

Use Specialised Software

You don’t have to hover over your social media accounts and email while monitoring your phones and automated chat constantly just to see if anyone needs help. Specialised software does the job for you. 

You can see who is struggling to get answers from your chatbot, who has requested information on social media or via email, and which voice calls you need to field on a single dashboard. You’ll also use your software to record data about the interaction: what it was about, why it occurred, what help was offered, and whether customers were satisfied with the solution. 

Always Allow for Voice Calls

There are times when customers need to talk to someone. If their query is a complex one, they’re not sure how to express their question in text, or they’re short on time, an efficient call agent can help them reach a solution faster. 

Apart from this, customers should always be in a position to choose in-person voice calls – not everyone likes to type – especially when they’re using mobile phone keyboards! Cynical online comments show that customers take a very dim view of businesses that make it hard to reach a human representative over the phone when they feel the need to do so.  Don’t let this be your business – especially if you’re offering a premium product. 

Be Available 24/7 

Omnichannel business? Your customers can shop around the clock no matter where they are. They don’t care that it’s 2:00 AM in your country. They don’t want their enquiry to wait for “business hours.” If you want to do business around the clock, you must also provide service and support at all hours of the day. 

Offer Multilingual Support

If you’re doing business multinationally, you must be able to offer multilingual support. Customers will expect help in their mother tongue. Failing to offer this option reflects poorly on your professionalism and attitude towards customers. 

Choose the Right People

When customers contact support, they want to talk to people with strong product knowledge, excellent listening or reading skills, and strong communication skills. They’re looking for empathy and a personal touch. Simply regurgitating scripted responses that seem appropriate isn’t always enough. Customers will judge your business based on their touchpoints, and when they’re engaging with support, the way your representatives help them are the criterion they’ll use to evaluate your business. Quality matters, and for that, you need the right people.

Monitor Analytics

Although you might want to engage in real-time monitoring at times, it isn’t always necessary. However, your analytics grant you an opportunity to get to know your customers better, showing you patterns that indicate where your business can improve. Are you making it easy for customers to find information on their own? Do they struggle with product selection, at the checkout, or beyond? The answers lie in the data your customer support interactions generate. 

Dealing With Omnichannel Customer Service Challenges

A look at the best practice for implementation of omnichannel customer support uncovers a host of challenges. Feeling overwhelmed? The solution could be perfectly simple. Even the biggest companies are inclined to outsource omnichannel customer service.

Deciding to outsource customer support is the smart thing to do – but choosing a company to represent your business isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Apart from practicalities like scalable access to live support agents and software that helps you to gain an overview of support activities, the quality of the personnel is an important factor.

Although cost savings are definitely on the cards when businesses outsource customer service, simply opting for the cheapest solution may not be the best idea. You can probably think of examples from your own experience: long waits on hold, agents who don’t even try to understand your query, unclear diction, and lack of interest spring to mind. 

At RSVP, our successful omnichannel customer service and support track record is attributable to quality – both in terms of the tools we use and the people we employ. Our agents know that every interaction matters and that each customer should be treated like a VIP. That’s why major companies like Audible and Mercedes Benz trust us to deal with their most valuable asset – their clients. Want to earn a reputation for great omnichannel customer service? It could be as easy as partnering with us. Contact us today!

 

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