The Complete Guide to Delivering an Omnichannel Customer Experience

Customers have more options than ever. This is great from a customer point of view, but for businesses it means that having a great product alone isn’t enough to stand out.

So how can you differentiate your brand? And how can you drive repeat sales and generate more referrals?

A good place to start is delivering an omnichannel customer experience and streamlining customer interactions across all your channels.

Customers want brands to provide seamless experiences no matter what device or channel they’re using. Delivering omnichannel customer service right can be challenging, but it can ultimately delight and retain more of your customers.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what omnichannel customer experience is and how it drives long-term growth. We’ll also walk you through how to create an omnichannel customer experience strategy.

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What is an omnichannel customer experience and why does it matter?

Omnichannel CX (customer experience) means unifying interactions across different channels into one seamless experience. An omnichannel experience enables customers to begin engaging with your brand on one channel and continue on another without any discrepancies.

Customers are willing to pay 16% more for better experiences.1 An omnichannel strategy allows you to deliver personalized experiences across all customer service, marketing, and sales touchpoints.

Here’s a closer look at why the omnichannel experience is increasingly becoming a brand differentiator.

#1 More customers use multiple channels

Prior to the internet, there were only a few ways to interact with a business — you either phoned in to make an inquiry or visited their store in person.

Things are different today as 67% of consumers globally use 3 or more channels to engage with a brand and 39% use 5 or more channels.2 

 

Visual representation of multiple channels

Communication channels include:

  • Email
  • Telephone
  • Social media
  • Live chat
  • Mobile apps
  • Instant messaging apps
  • Text message
  • Self-service

Taking an omnichannel approach allows you to deliver a consistent experience across all channels and engage your customers on their terms.

#2 Customers want contextual engagement

25% of customers say that one of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with customer service is repeating themselves.2

Screenshot of customer frustrations

If this happens, you risk leaving customers with a negative impression of your brand. They may vent their frustrations on social media or stop doing business with you entirely.

Here’s how an omnichannel strategy leads to a better customer experience: A customer calls customer service for help and then follows up on live chat. Because those interactions are fully integrated into a single customer service software (more on this later), an agent who has picked up the conversation can gather complete context of the issue and the customer won’t have to repeat the details.

In this case, the customer isn’t limited to one channel for support. They can use whichever channel is most convenient for them at that moment whether they’re at home or on the go, without worrying about a poor experience.

#3 Consumers prefer omnichannel brands

Customers have different communication preferences. Some prefer reaching out via email, while others prefer picking up the phone to talk to an agent immediately.

Offering support across different channels and unifying those interactions shows that your business is responsive to their needs. 70% of consumers say they prefer brands that offer support across multiple channels.2

Screenshot of a poll on omnichannel customer experience

Before we look at how you can deliver an integrated experience across multiple channels, it’s important to distinguish omnichannel and multichannel customer experiences.

Omnichannel vs Multichannel Customer Experiences

The key difference between omnichannel and multichannel experiences is integration.

Omnichannel customer experience is more customer-centric. All channels are integrated to provide a more consistent and cohesive experience across multiple touchpoints.

Multichannel means that customers can still interact with brands on their preferred channel. But those channels don’t work together in a unified manner.

Visual representation of multichannel vs omnichannel customer experience

The multichannel experience is the approach that many businesses take today — they have a website, phone lines, social media profiles, and even live chat. But those channels often exist independently of each other.

For example, a company’s phone support team may have minimal or no interaction with the social media team. This can lead to jarring and inconsistent experiences when a customer interacts with each team.

Many customers will likely churn as a result. 56%2 of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand in the last 12 months because of a single bad experience.

Taking an omnichannel approach is the future of engaging and retaining your customers. When you keep your channels integrated, you can deliver exceptional support regardless of the channel your customers use.

Let’s look at real-life examples of how companies are using omnichannel strategies to grow their bottom line.

Omnichannel Experience Examples That Are Delighting Customers

It’s one thing to talk about omnichannel experiences. But it’s another thing entirely to see it in action. 

Here are examples of how companies are taking an omnichannel approach to delight their customers.

ShipTime

ShipTime is a full-service shipping solution that helps customers save on shipping costs. The company currently services over 60,000 customers worldwide, meaning they get a lot of support tickets.

Understanding that customer support is the key to increasing customer loyalty, ShipTime developed an omnichannel strategy with Freshdesk’s omnichannel helpdesk software to integrate their support channels.

Their customers could reach out and receive support on their preferred channel. ShipTime also built an FAQ section and a knowledge base, so customers could find answers on their own.

Taking a customer-centric approach and unifying their support channels helped ShipTime achieve a 96% CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) and drastically reduce resolution times.

Read the case study here to learn how ShipTime implemented an omnichannel strategy for their business.

Instantprint

Instantprint is the largest online printing company in the UK. They provide over half a million small businesses with business cards, flyers, and other printed materials.

But as the company grew, it became difficult for them to track support tickets across their channels. If customers reached out on different channels, they would receive answers from different agents.

With Freshworks, Instantprint was able to bring communications onto a single platform and get a 360-degree view of their customers across all channels. Implementing chat also allowed them to handle an influx of support volumes on applications like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Instantprint has blurred lines between sales and customer service

Check out the case study here for more details on how Instantprint uses Freshdesk’s omnichannel helpdesk software to scale support across all their channels. 

How to Deliver an Omnichannel Customer Experience

Consumers today are using multiple channels to connect with their favorite brands. The best way to stay relevant and increase customer retention is with an omnichannel strategy.

Follow these steps to create an omnichannel customer experience.

1. Map the customer journey

The customer journey describes the path that prospects follow as they make a purchase.

For example, a prospect hears about a company through an ad on social media. Then they subscribe to their newsletter from a blog post. After a few days, they click through an email to start a free trial. Once the trial is over, they reach out to sales to subscribe.

Similarly, there are multiple touchpoints or interactions that customers have with your brand before they make a purchase. Understanding each is key to creating a more unified experience.

Screenshot of a customer journey map

Start by creating a detailed buyer persona — a profile that describes your customers. This helps you understand and meet the needs of your audience. 

Then list out all touchpoints that occur between you and your customers. Turn to customer data and get input from your sales team. Walking through the journey as a customer yourself can also help with this step.

Identify key activities for each touchpoint. What are your customers trying to accomplish? Is their experience positive or negative?

Note down any sources of frustration on your customer journey map. Examples include customers being unable to access your help center from their mobile device or receive support on social media.

Mapping the customer journey helps you identify areas of improvement. These actionable insights will be especially helpful in creating a more cohesive experience.

2. Choose the right omnichannel tools

Customers are going to reach out on different channels. They’ll expect a consistent experience whether they submit a support ticket, send an email, or connect via live chat.

Freshdesk, an omnichannel customer service software, streamlines customer communication across all your channels into a single screen. Freshdesk Omnichannel integrates the capabilities of Freshdesk, Freshchat, and Freshcaller, that is, an intuitive ticketing system, a modern messaging software, and a cloud telephony (like avaya) respectively, enabling you to cut down on agent license. Additionally, with Freshdesk, you also get:

  • Chatbots: Freddy AI by Freshworks enables chatbots to deliver instant customer support 24/7. Freddy can detect intent and hand over to an agent if necessary.
  • Messaging: Support agents can engage customers through live chat on and messaging platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Apple Business Chat.
  • Self-service: Self-service portals enable customers to find solutions on their own. You can offer a branded knowledge base, help widget, and chatbots.
  • Social media: Meet customers on their preferred social platform. Social Signals uses machine learning to detect and convert relevant mentions into support tickets.

83% of customer service leaders reported an overall increase in support volumes.3 Freshdesk’s omnichannel solution lets you unify communications and delight customers across all channels. 

Screenshot of an omnichannel inbox by Freshdesk

3. Unify your departments

You can’t deliver an omnichannel experience if your teams work in silos. Customers will get different and inconsistent experiences depending on the team they interact with.

Each department needs to work together to create a unified experience and increase customer engagement. Include your marketing, sales, and customer support departments early on as you develop an omnichannel strategy.

Each department should have a clear understanding of their role in the customer journey and how they can facilitate the omnichannel experience. Provide the right tools to help your teams work efficiently.

Freshdesk’s collaboration tools increase visibility and provide valuable context. For example, sales reps can view customer interactions and even collaborate through the unified interface. This avoids back-and-forth communications and keeps teams on the same page.

4. Take a proactive approach

Most customer service tends to be reactive — a customer reaches out with an issue and an agent troubleshoots it.

One way to differentiate your omnichannel strategy and delight your customers is by taking a proactive approach. This means anticipating and addressing issues before they even occur.

Consumers want brands to do more than simply meet their needs. 69% of consumers prefer brands that take a proactive approach.2

Visitors who are experiencing issues with your site tend to rage click (repeatedly clicking a button) or thrash their cursors around. Freshdesk’s help widget lets you proactively reach out to visitors who may be frustrated.

Screenshot of proactive customer service by Freshdesk

Another example is to proactively reach out to customers who abandon their carts. With proactive outreach for Shopify, you can reach out to understand what may be stopping them and provide assistance.

74% of consumers expect brands to understand their needs.4 Find ways to be more proactive with your omnichannel strategy whether it’s letting customers know about additional support options or following up with personalized emails. 

5. Collect and analyze customer feedback

There’s always room for improvement in any omnichannel strategy. The best source of feedback is directly from your customers.

Use customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT) to collect feedback from your customers. These surveys are generally added at the end of an interaction and ask customers to rate their overall experience.

Feedback surveys provide actionable insights that you can implement to continue refining your omnichannel strategy. With Freshdesk Analytics, you’ll be able to track your customer support metrics over time to measure your efforts.

Conclusion

Customers expect seamless experiences between different channels and they get easily frustrated when brands fail to meet those expectations. Developing an omnichannel customer experience gives your customers a fully integrated experience across all channels. 

Try Freshdesk’s omnichannel support software today to unify your support channels and deliver a seamless experience to your customers. Measure your customer experience with ease using the Opinyin-Freshdesk integration.

Sources:
1 – https://www.pwc.com/us/en/advisory-services/publications/consumer-intelligence-series/pwc-consumer-intelligence-series-customer-experience.pdf
2 – https://www.freshworks.com/assets/resources/freshworks/reports/the-new-rules-of-customer-engagement.pdf
3 – https://www.freshworks.com/assets/resources/The-New-CX-Mandate-US-Report.pdf?tactic_id=4098694&utm_source=Email&utm_medium=SM-CX&utm_campaign=New-CX-Mandate-US
4 – https://www.redpointglobal.com/press-releases/75-of-u-s-consumers-want-to-be-better-understood-by-retailers-this-holiday-season-finds-redpoint-global-survey/

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