What is omnichannel customer service?
Omnichannel customer service is the process of integrating multiple channels into a single system to deliver a consistent customer service experience — whether the customer is engaging with you through your website, digital channels, mobile app, social media, SMS, phone calls, instant messaging apps, contact center, or physical stores.
Omnichannel customer service is also about offering a coherent customer experience throughout the buyer and after-sale customer journey — by giving customer service agents a real-time view of their customers no matter where they are interacting with your business. When support agents have a 360° view of each customer, they can deliver a harmonious and hyper-personalized customer service experience that is tailored to each customers’ unique needs across different channels.
The fact that 86% of consumers expect conversations with agents to seamlessly move between channels, gives all the more reason for companies to go omnichannel.
Omnichannel customer service vs. multichannel customer service
Multichannel and omnichannel customer support are often referred to interchangeably, which is not accurate. Your business can be multichannel just by being available in multiple support channels. But there is no active transfer of data between these communication channels as there is no centralized system. Multichannel points to a more siloed approach of gathering customer context from disparate sources.
On the other hand, an omnichannel approach not only offers customer support in multiple channels, but also integrates all customer interactions into a consolidated omnichannel customer service system. Omnichannel customer support eliminates the need to depend on different point solutions for each support channel.
With a concrete omnichannel strategy, you can provide your customers a connected and seamless experience through phone calls, email, live chat, social media, SMS, instant messaging, and every other customer-preferred communication channel.
What are the benefits of omnichannel customer service?
Omnichannel customer service can help your support agents delight customers at scale by removing the pain points synonymous with a disconnected digital customer experience.
Increase your customer satisfaction
Customers can reach out to your agents on any channel without repeating themselves about prior or ongoing conversations. Because agents can simultaneously access conversation history through all the other channels, there is no risk of losing context, either.
Omnichannel customer experience is not just limited to communication channels. With the right system, agents can also access every website or in-store touch point that customers have been through.
Maintain a unified brand voice
Omnichannel customer service helps maintain a consistent brand voice with an integrated online and offline experience. While brands can enforce a preferred voice and tone across channels, they can also ensure a seamless transition between online and offline stores.
Retail brands thrive on offering customers a coordinated support approach no matter where they are, and that’s exactly what omnichannel brings to fruition.
Access all customer data in one place
Customer data is not only limited to conversations. The ideal omnichannel system also gathers customers’ purchase history, touchpoints through the customer journey, and insights about their common support issues.
With AI-powered omnichannel customer service software, brands can also detect intent and customer sentiment to pay special attention when needed.
Evaluate agent performance fairly
Omnichannel console allows you to monitor agent productivity and performance, reward their KPI adherence, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and create training programs to help them inculcate best practices to delight customers.
Automate case assignment to agents
Omnichannel tools allow you to automatically assign cases based on workload, channel, agent expertise, and more customizable rules. Automating the case assignment process saves invaluable time on manual work and ensures a diligent approach to taking up customer issues.
Ebook: How to Resolve Issues Faster with the Right AI-Powered Routing Strategy
How to assess your omnichannel maturity before implementation?
It’s a good practice to evaluate your existing support operations before deploying a full-fledged omnichannel system. What’s already in place? What support processes could use an overhaul? Which communication channels need to be fine-tuned? Because, to some degree, your business might already be following a low-maturity omnichannel customer service strategy. You can make this process easier with a quick omnichannel maturity checklist.
Omnichannel maturity checklist for customer-centric businesses
Your website offers a fluid digital customer experience — Before getting into the channel conversation, your business has to evaluate the performance and quality of all product-related information on your website.
You have a well-researched customer profile — Forming an idea of your primary customer base helps tailor your channel and support strategy according to their interests, segments, and demographics.
You have a clear goal for each channel — Every service channel needs a clearly defined goal to address customer needs. For example, voice and instant messaging for urgent requirements, and email for routine but timely updates.
You document the performance of customer touchpoints — Your business has ample visibility into bounce rates of product and solution pages, cart abandonment rates, in-store pain points, landing pages that resulted in more conversions, and so on.
You have an actionable customer feedback mechanism — Whether or not your business is omnichannel-ready, you need to establish a system to listen to your customers with personalized surveys and social monitoring.]
5 best practices for a seamless omnichannel customer service strategy
Adopt self-service as a primary customer support channel
Enable customers to solve problems by themselves by integrating self-service into your omnichannel customer support strategy. With a comprehensive set of FAQs and solution articles, agents can also direct customers to a knowledge base or plug in the solution within any support channel.
Respond faster with dedicated social media and instant messaging support
The Facebook Messenger app hosts about 988 million active users per month. It’s easier for customers to get on social media and instant messaging to engage with businesses since these digital channels are a part of their lifestyle. With omnichannel customer service, you can prioritize messages that come through such modern channels for providing speedy resolutions for the public to see.
Establish a unified contact center
Your support teams no longer have to be disconnected from each other. With a unified contact center, you can manage your support workforce, route inbound messages and calls to the right agents, and access customer information – without ever leaving the platform.
Improve the quality of customer data
The data you collect for personalizing your support and business strategy is handy only if it’s actionable. When you have different data pools for each channel, it’s difficult to make them work together for meaningful insights. A well-conceived omnichannel support strategy solves this problem by bringing data from all native channels together in one interface — helping support teams to streamline processes and deliver real-time insights that help agents create better customer experiences.
Enhance customer experience with live chat and chatbots
Deploying live chat on your website or e-commerce platform can be a gamechanger for your business. Your live chat and AI chatbots can become a powerhouse of 24/7 customer engagement when it’s integrated with the rest of your support channels, especially self-service.
Chatbots can pick up cues from the customer question and suggest the next actions without the need for an agent. With an omnichannel strategy, agents can talk to a visitor on the website after gaining knowledge of the touchpoints they’ve been through.
Leverage Sprinklr to drive customer delight with a seamless omnichannel customer service experience
Customers hop from channel to channel depending on what they find easily accessible at a given moment. With the vast selection of modern messaging channels available now, they expect quick responses and consistent customer experience wherever they are. An omnichannel system is a must-have for a business to be truly perceived as customer-centric amidst today’s customer expectations and demands.
Sprinklr’s omnichannel customer service software is purpose-built to eliminate point solutions that deter agents from providing personalized, hassle-free, and frictionless support across different channels. Here’s how the world’s only unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform helps you drive omnichannel service that delights your customers:
Personalize your support by unifying conversational data and omnichannel context
Decrease time to resolution with AI-powered smart responses and self service that puts the power into the hands of the customer to find their own answers — freeing up agents time to support more complex cases
Streamline all customer cases into a single, intuitive 360° agent desktop
Use AI monitoring across 30+ digital, social and messaging channels to identify inbound messages that matter the most to your business
Auto-route sensitive and high-priority cases to the right agents at first-touch
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