The internet landscape is changing. Evolution is occurring, much like it does in the animal world. Customers become more active and interested in new areas of the internet and continue to require help. Subsequently, forced by outside influences to adapt, support people also evolve and learn new software in order to better serve their customers. One of these new customer-first skillsets is the ability to use omnichannel software and methodology in order to provide a better experience to customers.
Omnichannel makes customers love your support. It takes an experience that could be disjointed, bumpy or frustrating and makes it easy and accessible. Rather than having to hunt for an email or a phone number to call when they are having trouble, offering an omnichannel support or marketing strategy for your company lets the help come right to them, rather than the other way around.
What is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a digital strategy that enables your customers to reach out to your support team wherever they are, using whatever channel they would like with no disruption as they shift between channels and mediums —and customers love it. Most customers prefer omnichannel support—compared to single channel or multi-channel support—because it allows them to feel like they are in control of their experience. Given that, omnichannel is so incredibly valuable, especially for enterprise customers, because it gives them the control and choice to pick up exactly where they left off, no matter what the case.
How frustrating is it when a customer support agent asks you for information that you’ve already provided? Supremely, especially if you are paying them a lot of money. Luckily, with omnichannel support, context is carried from one channel to the next. It makes everything less frustrating for your customers, agents are better equipped to help and you’re able to reduce your potential churn.
When your agents are able to follow along a customer’s journey throughout your ecosystem, it makes it easier for them to resolve the customers’ issues. For example, if the interaction began on social media, but needed to get moved to phone or another channel to better suit the customer’s needs, your omnichannel team would be able to do that—and you’d have all contextual information needed to answer the question efficiently. Having all of this information and the ease to move between channels without having to end and interaction, the number of cases you have resolved on first engagement skyrockets.
Customers Want to Engage Where They Browse
According to the Global Digital Users Study for 2018, 3.64 billion people are expected to go online regularly this year, of which 83.9% will use a mobile phone for access. Beyond that, 28% of people between the ages of 18 and 20 have no broadband internet connection, but do all of their internet browser and shopping via smartphone. Smart and mobile phones are trending upwards as an important venue for both supporting and attracting younger generations of users. People want to be able to get support where they are browsing and, right now, most people even beyond millennials, are keen on mobile.
Providing your customers the service that they need via an omnichannel strategy helps to improve their experience and the experience of your employees: And, you’re not alone: 29% of global companies are showing inclination towards this channel of engagement. It just makes sense—why try to make your customers go somewhere else for help when you could come to them just as easily?
I recall an experience I had trying to get support from an online app. I found their chat box and tried to use it on my phone, only for the user interface to be broken. Then, I transitioned to calling their phone line, as it was the next available options, and I had to rewrite all of the information that I’d already typed in via chat on my phone. In the end, I had to go through two chats, three phone calls, and an email to get my issue resolved, and I had to repeat my problems and all of my information every. Single. Time. Omnichannel would have helped in this case.
Customers Want to Help Themselves
If you asked a customer whether they wanted to have an elongated conversation with a support representative or solve their issue by utilizing a bot, or self-service documentation, they’d most likely pick self-service. For some, asking for support can feel like they are admitting fault or like they weren’t smart enough to figure out the solution on their own. That’s never how you want your customers to feel, especially not in relation to your company. This is great news for robots and text-based web pages, but what about your support team?
Documentation is a huge part of omnichannel support and is oftentimes forgotten as one of the channels that are part of the omnichannel offering. Along with offering interactive support channels like phone, video, chat, and social media support, documentation and self-service resources can really spice up the experience for your customers. Similarly, depending on the omnichannel service platform that you select, AI and chatbot functionality may be accessible as well. Bots and AI are some of the best ways that you can surface information to your customers.
What Does this Mean for Call Centers?
For many people, talking on the phone still feels like the best and quickest way to get an issue resolved. Dedicated call centers, though, are a thing of the past. You’ll see, over the next few years, that your company no longer needs to spend so many resources staffing cubicles with people able to resolve issues over the phone. In fact, as of a recent poll, 57% of customers prefer companies who can be reached via mail, chat, video chat, social media platforms over those using traditional means of voice-based customer support.
Call centers will need to adapt and evolve as well to be able to deal with customers moving between channels. That means using the right omnichannel software, setting up processes to handle channel transfers and empowering team members to follow up with customers.
So, instead of putting all of your chickens in one basket, try to diversify and give opportunities to your existing team members to shift slightly out of providing phone support exclusively, and give them a chance to try video chat, social media, or email support to see if that fulfills a different area of career growth for them. This provides benefits both for you and for your employees: first, it enables you to give customers the omnichannel experience which is so beneficial; second, it gives your employees the opportunity to grow their own career, try new things, and boosts your employee retention level.
So What’s the Real Reason Customers Want Omnichannel?
It’s just easier.
Omnichannel support is beneficial both for your customers and for support agents alike. Your customers will revel in not having to hunt down the right place to reach out, or being shuffled from one agent to another. They’ll deeply appreciate being able to talk to a support agent right from their phone, where they were trying to purchase an item. They’ll be grateful for you automatically routing them to where they need to be and who they need to be talking to.
Your support team will appreciate the additional context they have been given by using a software that aggregates all conversation history so that they don’t have to go through the embarrassment of asking for information that your team has already been given. Lastly, they’ll love the opportunity to stretch their abilities and dig a bit deeper into what they’d anticipated for their career as they support and move forward into an omnichannel ecosystem.