Why Creating an Omnichannel Customer Experience has Never Been More Important
The way customers and companies connect has changed dramatically in recent years. Phone, email, live chat, text messaging, social media, mobile apps—there appears to be an endless supply of channels for customer communication, with the majority of customers expecting to reach a company 24/7.
It’s often challenging for companies to not only be accessible in these channels, but for those channels to deliver consistent quality. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies that are able to provide a consistent customer service quality across multiple channels retain 89 percent of their customers—that’s a 56 percent higher customer retention rate than inconsistent companies. In order for a company to continue to improve customer experience, it’s become increasingly important to create an omnichannel customer service experience.
What is Omnichannel Customer Service?
Omnichannel customer service integrates web, phone, text, social media, email, mobile apps and live chat to provide a uniform customer experience. By taking a multi-channel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers, companies can create an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out. This is not only convenient and effective for the customer but can also help boost a brand’s image and credibility.
Improve Customer Service Experience
A great omnichannel customer experience is backed by a well-thought-out strategy that begins and ends with the customer in mind and focuses on delivering exceptional experiences in an increasingly connected world. And it’s never been more important for companies to be on their top game. PricewaterhouseCoopers says the demand for a great omnichannel experience will be amplified by the need for near perfect execution. Follow these tips to create and improve your omnichannel strategy.
Optimize mobile customer service
There’s no denying it—consumers are addicted to their cell phones. A Perficient Digital study showed a faster-than-expected shift of web usage from desktop to mobile in recent years, with both the number of visits and the time spent on sites using mobile devices growing significantly. As more people are tapping into the power of their mobile devices, delivering exceptional experiences on these devices must be a top priority for businesses. Customers encountering a poor mobile experience—which could be anything from limited/missing information to difficult navigation to slow load times—are less inclined to do business with a company.
It’s important for a company’s website, especially its customer service and support pages, to be optimized for mobile use. Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure that access points to customer service pages are prominently displayed on your mobile pages and all mobile-based customer service queries are being tracked in real time.
Develop a mobile app
Speaking of mobile devices, apps are becoming an increasingly popular channel for customers. According to a Synchrony study, 2 out of 3 customers downloaded a mobile app from a retailer on their smartphones in 2018 to browse products, access discount coupons, and make purchases.
It’s important to consider customer experience within your app. It’s smart to utilize in-app and push notifications to deliver timely customer messages. Mobile apps also give companies the ability to collect additional information from users and provide another touchpoint for customer communication.
Reduce social media response time
Social media has provided customers an easy way to catch the attention of companies (and their audiences) instantaneously. Whether it’s a rave review, query, or complaint, it’s important for brands to respond fast. By fast, many customers expect companies to respond to social media mentions within one hour—even on nights and weekends.
Reducing response times on social media and training associates to provide quick and effective solutions can not only improve customer experience, but also boost your brand image. In fact, Ambassador marketing agency found that 71 percent of customers who have a positive social media service experience with a brand are more likely to recommend it to others.
Pick up the phone
Telephone calls may seem outdated at this point, but it’s still one of the most widely used channels for customer service. In fact, the Avaya Consumer Preference Report found that 80 percent of customers prefer talking to an agent on the phone over any other channel. However, long hold times and phone trees without clear options are a surefire way to irritate customers.
Customers are nearly five times more loyal when they feel valued than when they’re annoyed. It’s important to invest in not only hiring enough associates to manage the influx of calls, but also in training them on your products and services and best practices for troubleshooting issues. Not to mention, talking to a human, rather than an automated message, can help personalize the customer experience.
Texting has become a popular customer service channel for many industries. From booking an appointment to placing to-go orders to bank account fraud detections, text messaging offers an immediacy that customers love. In fact, research by Single Point and Tatango found that SMS open rates exceed 99 percent, with nearly all text messages from companies being read within three minutes. Especially for companies looking to bridge connections with millennials—a generation that absolutely hates talking on the phone—texting can be a great option to incorporate into your omnichannel strategy.
Integrate live chat
Like text messaging, chat bots offer the immediacy customers crave, especially when making a purchase. According to a Forrester study, 44 percent of customers said being able to get answers to their questions during a purchase is one of the most important features a website should offer. By ensuring professional customer service agents are trained with extensive knowledge of the brand’s products and services, live chat can provide a positive customer experience.
Businesses can also see near-immediate results in sales by integrating live chat. Forrester also found that interactive chat can result in as much as a 120 percent ROI in a six-month payback period.
Create a marketing automation workflow
Don’t let email fall by the wayside. Marketing automation is still a great way to connect with customers. An Econsultancy report found that email is the preferred customer service channel for 44 percent of customers.
Email offers a secure platform that customers trust. For fast responses, create a marketing automation workflow to answer frequently asked questions. This will help free up customer service associates to focus on unusual email queries. Not to mention, email is a great opportunity to personalize the customer experience by sending customized messages in the forms of newsletters and discounts.
Leverage customer data
In order to provide exceptional customer service, it’s important to know your customers, which is why keeping up with evolving customer needs and behavior is key. An Accenture study found that 91 percent of customers are more likely to buy products from companies that use their name, provide personal recommendations, and know their preferences.
Businesses can obtain user data from their different channels—website, social media, email, point of purchase—to take customer service to the next level. This data can be leverage for targeted promotions, advertising, and product recommendations, which will help make customers feel more valued.
Validate Your Omnichannel Strategy
In all the ways you communicate with your customers—whether it’s in person, over the phone, or via chat bot, SMS, or social media—it’s important to be consistent in the quality of your service to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Omnichannel service evaluations offer the most objective way to validate your customer service strategy. IntelliShop’s solutions include in-person and online evaluations as well as telephone, mobile, social media, and everywhere else your customers are to provide a holistic picture of your customer experience, ensure consistency across all of your channels, and provide guidance for improving your omnichannel strategy.
Contact IntelliShop today to request a quote and see how we can help your business improve your omnichannel customer service experience.
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