Out of the Box Omnichannel Support Ideas
Customer service support is shifting dramatically, from a single channel model to an omnichannel one. Today 90% of customers expect to be able to move seamlessly across service channels, including mobile, chat, and online. But the problem is companies are still struggling to do this well. 61% of customers have not been able to easily switch from one channel to another when interacting with customer service.
Thankfully, this means that if you can excel at omnichannel support, you will have a distinct advantage over your competition. I’m going to show you six out of the box omnichannel support ideas that will create above-average customer experiences, leading to greater customer loyalty and retention.
1. Integrate Online and Offline Shopping
If you have physical retail locations, it’s critical to integrate your online and offline shopping experiences. Consumers not only want to connect with your brand both on and offline, but they also want to be able to easily switch between the two.
This may seem like an ‘in the box’ idea, but it goes further than just allowing customers to see what’s in stock or selecting in-store pick-up for online orders. Here are two methods to take your integration outside of the box:
1. Allow customers to view and try on samples in-store and then complete orders online. Using integrated platforms and mobile technology, customers can browse a product in-store, scan it with your mobile app, and then add it to their bag to purchase later. Bonobos is a great example of this, with its Guideshops.
2. You can also offer a mobile app that allows customers to scan in-store products to find and order out-of-stock items or check for discounts. Sephora has created a mobile app to allow their customers to do just this.
Customers love using integrated retailer touchpoints in all sorts of combinations and places.
2. Create Seamless Platform Integration
Integrating online and offline is only the first step. It’s important to create a seamless experience across all online platforms as well. Customers data, shopping content, and actions should transfer from platform to platform.
Creating a seamless customer journey requires organizations to understand how customers move across channels to complete tasks, and also identify and eliminate potential roadblocks in the journey. To do this, you need to connect your website with your mobile app, social apps, chatbots, email, and any other channels that your customers use.
If someone adds a product to their cart from your website, it should show up on their mobile app too. If they are on Facebook, they should see retargeting ads based on their previous product viewing.
3. Make Every Touchpoint Shoppable
One major key to designing an omnichannel retail strategy is making every touchpoint shoppable. This is because shoppers who have the ability to convert on any channel have a 30% higher lifetime value.
Platforms such as Shopify Plus, allow you to integrate your online Shopify store directly into Facebook so that people can purchase your products without ever leaving the social media platform. Other platforms offer similar capabilities as well. For instance, Pinterest allows you to set up buyable pins for customers to shop your pinned offerings.
Your goal needs to move beyond producing sales on one specific platform such as your e-commerce store. Instead, sales should be able to naturally occur on every platform, syncing perfectly between them.
4. Send Cross-channel Recommendations
Valuable, personalized recommendations can lead to repeat purchases and improved customer loyalty. Omnichannel integration enables you to automate customer recommendations across channels. You can now provide suggestions across multiple platforms based on customers’ shopping and browsing history on other channels.
For example, you can email them recommendations based on their mobile app browsing. Or you can send discount offers on new products they might like through Facebook. You could also use messenger notifications to alert customers when new styles are released or items are back in stock.
5. Support Continuous Activities Across Platforms
It’s important to make it easy for customers to continue activities where they were left off, no matter which platform they log back on to.
Four ways to support continuous omnichannel interaction are:
1. Authentication. Tying customer activities to a profile and requiring users to sign in as they use a channel is an easy way to provide continuous access. However, depending on your product offerings and the channel, it’s not always acceptable.
2. Deep linking. You can allow users to email themselves a link through which they can resume their activity. Another version of this method is sending a custom QR code or passcode, that, when entered, will allow users to finish their tasks on a different device.
3. Handoff. Some operating systems such as Apple allow users to hand off experiences between devices with the touch of a button. For example, a movie being watched on the smartphone Hulu app can be continued on the iPad Hulu app.
4. Sandboxes. Provide sandboxes such as wishlists where users can store items and access them later even through different channels.
Whichever solution you select, make sure it provides ways to stop and start an activity without losing progress or doing rework. For example, on Amazon.com there are multiple ways to save items for easy access later. These include wish lists, the save-for-later feature at checkout, and a list of recently viewed products.
6. Identify and Facilitate User Patterns
To deliver out of the box support, it’s valuable to identify normal customer patterns of use. If you can understand when and where customers switch channels, it provides unique opportunities for you to support them.
You can use customer journey maps to discover if your customers are following a consistent cross-channel workflow. Also consider if there any actions that trigger users to a different channel, such as your chatbot linking out to your e-commerce page.
Once you find where transitions are occurring, you can tailor support to ease the switch. For example, Google Maps understood that their audience was often looking up directions on a computer, only to then have to pull them up again on their mobile once they were on route.
So the company created the “send to phone” feature which allows them to smoothly transition to a different device with the click of a button.
Omnichannel customer support is the way of the future. By 2020, there is expected to be a significant demand for perfectly integrated omnichannel customer experiences. Using these six out of the box ideas you can provide this kind of service today. This will result in improved customer loyalty, greater lifetime values of customers, decreased costs and increased revenues.