Interacting with customers via their digital channel of choice is now more relevant and more important than ever. If ten years ago a phone would’ve been enough to interact with customers, nowadays they expect you to offer your services on an array of different channels – from voice and email to social media and webchat.
On top of that, with the pandemic hitting physical stores and some industries the hardest, customer service demands rose – while calls waiting times reached new highs, customers turned to digital channels to get their issues resolved more quickly.
In this new reality, almost 70% of customers use more than three channels to interact with customer service. Unfortunately, research shows that too often, offering multiple channels doesn’t mean a more seamless experience. One of the biggest issues of a multichannel experience is jumping from one channel to the other without losing continuity of interaction. As a matter of fact, one-third of customers are frustrated by having to repeat themselves to multiple agents.
Unifying communications channels is not easy – but it’s the fundamental difference between a multichannel experience versus an omnichannel one. While offering different channels of communications to choose from might seem enough, the modern customer wants more from your business.
Multichannel vs omnichannel
In Latin, ‘multi’ means ‘many’ – when your business offers a multichannel experience, it means you can provide many communications channels for your customers to interact with your brand. While a few years back this would’ve been a great start to deliver a good experience, nowadays the only good experience is a seamless one. Unfortunately, in a multichannel environment, all your channels work in siloes – this means that your agents won’t be able to access any information about any interaction that happened over different channels. In short, your agents lack the context necessary to deliver a good experience.
‘Omni’, on the other hand, means ‘all’ – all channels of communication. While this doesn’t mean your business should offer all possible existing channels (that would be quite the feat), it does mean that all the channels it does offer are interconnected – regardless of whether that is two, three or even ten. In an omnichannel environment, your customers could start a conversation on a webchat, but then decide to call an agent a few days after that. With an omnichannel solution, your agent would have all the information from the first interaction and would be able to seamlessly continue the conversation started on the webchat.
The benefits of an omnichannel solution
Seamless customer experience
As we’ve mentioned before, customers want to be able to contact you from any channel knowing that their experience will be as seamless and quick as possible – they need to be able to go from a phone call to instant messaging in a matter of seconds, without having to start their conversation all over again.
Omnichannel contact centres allow your business to offer different communication channels that are integrated and connected, therefore providing a seamless customer experience. Thanks to an omnichannel environment, agents have all the necessary historical customer data to provide a more personalised experience and customers don’t have to repeat themselves over and over again to get their issues resolved.
Improve agent productivity
An omnichannel environment doesn’t just keep customers happy, it also improves your contact centre’s productivity and success. How much time do your agents spend retrieving customer information, triaging problems, and routing to the right department? With an omnichannel contact centre, agents can easily access all the information they need about any customer interaction, regardless of the customer’s preferred channel of communication. Moreover, while an agent can only attend to one customer at a time on a phone call, it can reply to multiple emails and live chat at the same time – increasing agent productivity and efficiency.
Reduce costs and complexity
When agents can get through customer queries more quickly, your business saves on costs and resources. By employing different, yet unified channel of communications, your contact centre will see customer queries handled more efficiently and waiting times reduced – your business might want to direct customers who just want a bit more information about a service to choose email or webchat to get in touch; leaving phone lines free to handle more important queries. Nonetheless, if your customers ever want to chat with an agent following an email interaction, they can do so seamlessly – all customer information is available across all channels. Additionally, having separate communication channels often means requiring separate support teams and different platforms; a setup that can become extremely expensive and complicated over time.
Leverage the power of data
We’ve all heard the saying ‘data is the new oil’ – when it comes to your customer experience, this couldn’t be truer. By having all your customer interactions data sitting in one place, your business can discover important insights into customer behaviours and preferences. An omnichannel solution allows you to leverage this data and offer a better experience for your customers – one that is more personalised, quicker and more convenient for them. This doesn’t only keep your customers satisfied, but it also increases your customer loyalty and your chances of success.
With customer demands changing and digital channels becoming the preferred channel of interaction for many, your business needs to be able to interact with customers wherever they prefer. An omnichannel contact centre connects all your channels of communications to ensure a seamless and comprehensive experience for your customers, regardless of whether they interact with you by phone, email, or webchat. Providing an omnichannel experience doesn’t just keep your customers happy, but it also improves your agents’ productivity, reduces costs and provides better data to improve your customer service strategy.