Why It’s Important to Have an Omnichannel Approach to Customer Service
Omnichannel is the latest buzzword. Everywhere you turn, people are talking about it, with good reason. Today’s customers are present on multiple channels, and one of the best ways to stay relevant to them is to be available on all of these channels. To handle the volume of this ask, businesses are now taking an omnichannel approach to different functions such as marketing, customer service, sales, etc.
Omnichannel is most often associated with the marketing function. However, that isn’t necessarily always the case. As a matter of fact, the principles of omnichannel marketing apply to customer service as well.
In this article, I’m going to discuss how you can apply the omnichannel approach to your customer service and create an immersive customer experience that goes beyond the regular marketing game.
What is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel is the concept of having all of your channels work in parallel around the customer, to create a completely seamless customer experience.
The general idea is that your brand is your channel, as opposed to being merely an extension of a channel. This way, the channels of communication you offer to your customers automatically adjust to give your brand a consistent voice. This unified voice and tone are adapted around your customer’s purchase journey.
While that seems rather theoretical, this idea can be applied in many ingenious ways.
For instance, your customers are going to go through several touchpoints with your brand before they feel comfortable enough to purchase from you and trust your brand. If each of those touchpoints is moving in the same direction, the customer will have a unified experience.
Omnichannel puts the customer at the center of the strategy. This customer-centricity doesn’t just make a marketer’s job easier; it simplifies work for your customer service team too.
How to Apply Omnichannel to Customer Service
To strengthen your omnichannel approach, what you should keep in mind is that the customer service team is the marketing team’s biggest ally. They are on the front lines listening to the customer, and what the customer has to say is crucial.
While there’s no denying that marketing can learn a lot from the customer service team, the customer service team can take a page out of the omnichannel marketing handbook.
Now as you are aware of the effectiveness of the omnichannel approach, let me share with you three ways you can create an omnichannel customer service strategy.
1. Centralize your Customer Data
Your customers are going to reach out to you from different platforms, and it’s necessary to be ready to engage with them on their preferred channel. Whether the customer submits a support ticket, pings you on Twitter, or calls your support line, your customer service team needs to be ready to provide the best possible assistance.
It’s important to invest in centralizing your customer data so that no matter what channel they’ve used to engage with your brand, you have a record of it. Whether it’s CRM or a marketing automation platform, having your data in one hub will make the omnichannel customer experience smoother.
2. Turn Every Channel into a Support Channel
Every channel is an opportunity to provide a great customer experience! Be it marketing, sales, or customer service, you can create the perfect moment no matter where your customer reaches out from.
Turn Facebook Into a Support Powerhouse
Do you use Facebook to engage with your customers by posting your product’s photos? That’s a great customer engagement strategy. However, using Facebook Messenger to send order and shipping confirmation, is even better. With Messenger, you’re using a channel that your customer is likely engaging on all day. Having Messenger as a part of the omnichannel approach enables enormous opportunities for better customer experience.
For example, as in the above image, you can send the whole journey of the customer’s package to them. Like “Your order has been shipped,” “It has arrived in your city, will be at your doorstep by tomorrow.”, etc. With this kind of experience, you allow customers to chat with you on the same thread. Customers won’t need to track their shipment by typing their ‘Shipment ID’ on some other site, hence saving on time & effort.
Transform Your Product Pages into Support Channels
Adding live chat on your site transforms your product pages into support channels. I can’t tell you how many purchases I’ve made (and not made) because I was able to ask a quick question about a product before placing my order. Live chat is an added bonus for customers who need an answer quicker than email, but don’t feel like talking to someone.
Don’t Discourage Replies to Your Promotional Emails
If you’re using email marketing, don’t use a do-not-reply or no-reply email address. You want your customer to reply and engage with your brand. Using a no-reply email address only discourages them from doing that and is a sign of poor customer experience.
Offer Phone Support for Emergencies
Sometimes, you just need to talk to a human being. If something goes wrong, it can be reassuring to have someone actually looking into your issue in real time, while talking to you about it and keeping you posted.
With centralized customer data, you’ll be able to see exactly what the customer’s issue is. If they’ve contacted support before, you can pick up the conversation right where they left off.
Notice how the Freshdesk site offers various resources to help you find what you’re looking for.
But if that fails, there’s still a phone number and an email address to help the customer get in touch. This builds trust, and reassures your customer that you’re always available to assist them.
3. Create a Self-Service Help Area
If you’re like me, contacting support is the absolute last thing I want to do when I’m shopping.
Don’t get me wrong, I want support to be available, but it’s usually my last resort.
Most of the time, I just want to find the information I need quickly, and carry on with my day.
Chances are, your customers feel the same way. Adding an FAQ section on your site can be of great help in this case. FAQs help your customers understand basic yet important things such as your shipping and return policy, payment and product information, sizing charts, or anything else that’s frequently asked on your site.
Giving your customer the information they need to make an informed purchase is going to give them the confidence and reassurance that they’ve made the right decision in purchasing from you. After all, an informed customer is a happy customer!
Plus, adding a self-help section on your store will cut down on the number of questions your support team receives, allowing you to focus on helping customers with more complex issues.
Offering an omnichannel customer experience isn’t just an option anymore, it’s becoming mandatory. Today’s customer is omnichannel, and brands need to start realizing that.
By creating an omnichannel customer service strategy, you’ll be able to maintain a great relationship with your customers and foster more trust in your brand.