Customers today spend an average of 4.8 hours per day on their devices and are constantly switching between apps. When they need assistance with their orders, such as shipping updates or returns, or have questions about future offerings, they expect businesses to be available on their preferred channels of communication.
By offering omnichannel customer service, businesses can ensure that they are present where their customers are, and provide a seamless and consistent experience across all touchpoints.
For example, a customer might make an initial inquiry through social media but then switch to email for a more detailed discussion about a product or service. With an omnichannel approach, businesses can track and analyze these interactions across channels, enabling agents to pick up the conversation where it left off, regardless of the channel.
By providing customers with the flexibility to choose the most convenient communication channel for them, businesses can build stronger relationships and improve customer satisfaction. Moreover, businesses can use data and analytics from these interactions to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences and pain points, enabling them to tailor their marketing and customer service efforts more effectively.
- Why is omnichannel communication essential for customer service?
- 1. Be present where your customers are
- 2. Efficient issue resolution
- 3. A more holistic view of your customers
- 4. Reduce costs
- 5. Give a consistent (yet personalized) customer experience
- 6. Better customer retention
- Develop your omnichannel support strategy from the basics
Why is omnichannel communication essential for customer service?
Here are six reasons for adopting an omnichannel communication for customer service:
1. Be present where your customers are
Customers have different preferences for communication channels and devices depending on their age and location, and offering multiple channels enables businesses to cater to these preferences and provide a better overall customer experience. For example, a customer might prefer to interact with a business through social media, while another customer might prefer to use email or phone.
Moreover, some regions or countries have specific communication channels that are more popular than others. For instance, WeChat is very popular in China, while WhatsApp is the preferred communication channel in India. By offering multiple channels, businesses can reach out to a wider audience and improve their customer engagement.
2. Efficient issue resolution
Different types of issues may require different communication methods, and allowing customers to choose the most appropriate channel can lead to faster and more effective issue resolution. To solve your customer's queries on the first call, you should implement first call resolution best practices in the contact center.
For example, a customer might have a complex technical issue that requires real-time assistance, which could be best resolved over a video call. On the other hand, a customer might have a simple query or feedback, which could be handled more efficiently through asynchronous live chat. By offering multiple channels, businesses can provide customers with the flexibility to choose the most appropriate channel for their specific issue, leading to quicker customer response times and higher customer satisfaction.
In addition, an omnichannel approach can also improve the efficiency of customer service by enabling agents to handle multiple customer interactions across different channels simultaneously. With the help of advanced technology and tools, agents can switch between channels and respond to customer queries more quickly and efficiently, reducing wait times.
3. A more holistic view of your customers
Omnichannel communication allows businesses to have a more holistic view of their customers by collating, analyzing and understanding customer preferences across multiple channels. Customers today interact with businesses through various channels such as social media, email, phone and more, and each channel provides a unique set of insights into the customer's behavior and preferences.
By integrating data from these different channels, businesses can develop a 360-degree view of the customer, enabling them to better understand their needs, preferences, and behaviors. This can help businesses to offer more personalized experiences and targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with their customers.
For example, a business might use customer data from social media to understand what types of products or services their customers are interested in, while data from email communication can provide insights into how frequently customers engage with the brand. By analyzing this data together, a business can develop a more comprehensive understanding of their customers and tailor their marketing and customer service efforts accordingly.
4. Reduce costs
By offering chat, video, messaging, and other digital channels, businesses can reduce the number of phone calls and in-person visits required to assist customers.
For example, a customer might prefer to communicate through chat rather than making a phone call or visiting a physical store. By offering this option, businesses can reduce the costs associated with staffing call centers or in-person customer service desks. Moreover, by automating certain processes and using chatbots, businesses can further reduce costs while still providing customers with the support they need.
The cost savings resulting from omnichannel customer service can be significant, allowing businesses to allocate resources more efficiently and concentrate on other areas of their operations.
5. Give a consistent (yet personalized) customer experience
Customers today expect a consistent experience across all channels and want brands to remember their past experiences and preferences. An omnichannel communication approach allows businesses to leverage customer insights and preferences from multiple channels to create a personalized experience for each customer.
Furthermore, this personalization is channel-agnostic, meaning that it is not tied to a specific channel. This allows customers to transition between channels without experiencing a drop in the quality of their experience. For example, if a customer starts a conversation with a brand on social media but then moves to live chat or phone, the brand can use information gathered from previous interactions to provide a seamless and personalized experience regardless of the channel.
According to research by McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to provide personalized interactions, while 76% become frustrated when they don't receive them.
Moreover, businesses can use customer data and insights gathered from multiple channels to optimize their marketing and customer service efforts and send personalized offers, targeted ads, and more relevant content to customers based on where they are in their customer lifecycle.
6. Better customer retention
Omnichannel customer service is a valuable tool for improving customer retention. Research shows that companies with effective omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared to just 33% for companies with weak strategies. By offering a seamless and consistent experience across various channels, customers feel valued and satisfied, leading to increased loyalty.
For instance, suppose a customer contacts a company's chatbot with a product query, and the chatbot is integrated with the company's other channels. In that case, the support team can access the customer's information and chat history, providing personalized assistance that improves the overall customer experience.
Similarly, by offering multiple return options like in-store, online, or mobile app returns, companies can provide flexibility and convenience to customers, resulting in positive experiences that can lead to repeat business and referrals.
Develop your omnichannel support strategy from the basics
When developing an omnichannel support strategy, it's important to start small and focus on the essential features that matter most to your customers. Begin by identifying the channels that your customers prefer, the features they find most important and how they define convenience.
Additionally, consider how you can build consistency across channels to ensure a seamless experience for customers. As you develop your strategy, explore different tools and integrations that can help you achieve your goals.
While omnichannel customer service can offer significant benefits, it's important to approach it with purposeful consideration and not rush into a complete implementation. By taking a deliberate approach and focusing on key components, you can develop an effective strategy that works well for both your customers and your team.