People use a variety of channels to communicate with one another today. You are likely to have both personal and professional communication all day long through messaging apps, emails, SMS, calling, video chats, social media platforms and so on. Such communication habits have also influenced the expectations people have as customers.
In the competitive landscape of today, customers are the ones driving the buying experience. As a brand, you are likely to have multiple interactions to manage throughout the customer lifecycle. It doesn’t matter whether you interact with them through a phone call, email, chat or even a tweet, you need to get the questions of the customers answered in time, across diverse communication channels.
To be a successful business, you need to understand that your brand has to be available where and when your customer wishes to reach out. This would typically imply to moving beyond traditional phone and email support, and enabling customers to connect with your brand on their terms, regardless of the platform they are the most comfortable with.
While this multi-channel approach is great for the customer, it can be challenging for the brand to ensure a consistent experience. This is where omni-channel customer service comes in. It helps in unifying customer experiences across all channels. If customers change communication platforms while wanting to continue the same conversation, by following an omni-channel approach, your support team can track all these channels, each with their distinct pieces of the conversation. As you have all the context of customer interactions with the brand on hand, your service teams shall be empowered to deliver consistent customer service to them, thereby meeting their communication expectations.
What exactly is omni-channel customer service?
Omni-channel customer service is a process of creating a unified and seamless communication experience for your customers across an expansive variety of service channels. This generally is accomplished with the usage of technology that aggregates support conversations for each and every customer, from all communication methods available. Your customer service representatives can always add context and notes to the unified customer history files. Such an approach makes information available to other agents for future customer touchpoints. With this historical context, your team would be in the position to respond in a manner that helps solve customer problems swiftly and makes them feel important to the brand.
Advantages of omni-channel customer support
More options for interaction: Hardly any customer will be willing to wait in the modern market. They want to engage with brands through channels they want, and at the time of their liking. With the growing use of smartphones, delivery of customer service through multiple channels like social media, chatbots, emails, live chat and more, has become a common notion. Omni-channel customer service helps you to expand the scope of customer engagement, while facilitating a smooth transition of communication between multiple channels.
- Provision of a flawless customer experience: If your omni-channel service strategy has been executed properly, then all the communication channels used by your brand should be harmoniously to steer your customers in a single direction. With the usage of data integration and centralization, one can create a unique voice for their brand to suit the needs of every customer. Omnichannel service is not only advantageous for your customers, but also for your support team. Among other things, it helps in saving the bandwidth of the support team by enabling swift response rates and promoting self-service.
- Improved customer sales and retention: As you keep your omnichannel resources aligned with your marketing strategies, your customer engagement will automatically improve. As a result, you shall be in the position to retain your current customers, as well attract new ones. Omnichannel systems allow you to leverage multiple, dynamic channels to enable conversations with the customers. You will have greater odds of convincing them to make purchases, the more you are in contact with customers.
- Improves quality of collected customer data: Omni-channel strategy follows customer intent and footprints extensively along diverse touchpoints. It helps in uncovering customer data that is laden with multi-channel insights, and is extremely relevant to your customers and business. Data relevance and quality can help you to make smart, data-driven decisions for your brand, which becomes important in the modern market where brand new trends keep cropping up daily.
- Allows brands to cater to an expansive range of audiences: If you limit yourself to particular channels and platforms, then you will invariably lose out on your opportunity to engage with both potential and existing customers. Not effectively addressing your customers on social networks can actually spiral into abandonment faster than you might realize. Social media is fast becoming among the go-to communication channels for asking queries and raising requests, owing to the flexibility of usage, availability of honest reviews and faster responses. You need to prioritize offering an omni-channel customer experience to your customers, so that they get more options for engagement than the usual ones.
- Improved customer satisfaction: An omni-channel service approach aims at making the life of the customer easier right from start to finish, while effectively ironing out any kind of friction they might face while engaging with the brand. This essentially helps in boosting customer satisfaction levels. By reducing time, dependency and effort across brand interactions, you can create a holistic eco-system for your customers to engage with your brand at their convenience.
- Increases brand accountability and reinforce customer trust: Increased gateways into your offerings make your brand more visible and your actions more apparent. You shall have no guarantee that any average review on a social media platform would not lead to several shares and comments. After all, people do talk more about bad experiences than good ones. One-to-many and one-to-one conversations essentially have a stark contrast in terms of the roles played by them to gain customer trust. Social media conversations are public and brands are aware of the fact that they have an image to uphold. This channel holds the brand more accountable, increasing its trustworthiness on the whole.
With an omni-channel customer system in place, you can treat your customers as individuals and cater to their particular needs, interests, and preferences effectively.