3 Myths About Omnichannel Support
The Rise of Omnichannel Support
Customers make decisions based on how easy companies make it to transact with them. From pre-purchase questions through payment and delivery of goods, your customers expect a seamless purchasing experience. That means your company must meet them on the channels they prefer, as well as move with customers from channel to channel.
Your customers also expect the same ease-of-access and smooth process when they need support after their transaction. Customers are quick to criticize support programs that require them to repeat information, explain concerns to a different agent, or otherwise feel as if they are starting over again each time they make contact.
The solution to this problem is a strong omnichannel support strategy that’s ready to meet your customers in the channels they prefer. Creating a seamless experience from pre-purchase through follow-up and support will make them happy to refer your company to others and bring them back for future purchases.
Omnichannel and Multichannel Strategies
Omnichannel, multichannel – these terms are used very broadly and seem similar, but there are important differences between them. And if you’re wondering whether your customers truly notice that difference, the answer is yes.
A multichannel approach to customer support means that you are providing support through any combination of two or more channels, such as phone and live chat, or email and social media. In this strategy, each channel represents a separate way to contact customer support. However, customers are often required to switch between channels, or may actually want to use a channel that is not offered.
With an omnichannel strategy, you’re still providing support on multiple channels, but each channel is also interconnected by a central dashboard, allowing your agents to share information and understand your customer’s history. By meeting customers in the channels that they are already using and linking the conversation behind the scenes for your agents to follow, your customers enjoy a seamless support experience.
Customers Prefer Omnichannel
You may think that the two strategies are similar enough that it ultimately makes very little difference to your customers which experience they have. With a multichannel strategy, if you have focused on training your agents well and they are able to source solutions quickly, customers will still get their answers and may be satisfied with the overall experience. However, an omnichannel strategy offers a stronger guarantee that your customers will have a convenient, impactful, and preferable experience that they are eager to share with others.
Three Myths About Omnichannel Support
Switching from a single support channel to multiple channels or a full omnichannel program can seem like a lot to manage. But the truth is, with powerful helpdesk tools, a clear view of the channels your customers prefer, and a robust support team training program, it’s easier than ever to launch a strong omnichannel support strategy and make your customers happy.
Myth #1 – You Need to Be on Every Channel
It’s true that you may need to add channels to your current offerings for an omnichannel program, and there’s a lot to choose from. Besides the common channels of phone, email, and chat, there are social media feeds (including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger), mobile-specific options such as SMS, and self-service channels such as knowledge bases, community forums, and AI-enhanced automated responses.
Focus on the Channels Your Customers Already Use
Before you get discouraged, don’t worry – you don’t need to offer every channel. You should only offer the channels your customers often use. If your customers are trying to contact you on a current channel, but you’re not meeting them there or are redirecting them to other channels, that’s a clear indication you need to incorporate that channel into your omnichannel strategy.
Find the Right Mix of Channels for Your Customers
Reviewing help center data can tell you which channels are valued by your customers, and which ones are not. If you’re still uncertain, there are a few good rules to follow. Your customers should have access to a core support channel, such as phone, chat, or email. Self-service options are often the first choice for customers and can reduce resolution time by as much as 50%, so a robust knowledge base is important too. And if you don’t yet provide channels optimized for mobile devices, such as SMS or app-based widgets, it’s time to make that a priority, as these are growing segments for preferred support.
Myth #2 – Omnichannel Support is Complicated to Manage
You may worry that adding channels will overcomplicate your system and bring confusion to your customers and agents alike. The key to building an omnichannel support program that reduces confusion and delivers a seamless experience is to use a helpdesk platform that uses a centralized dashboard to connect channels. With the right tools, your agents can even track customer history and preferences to build trust and loyalty, turning your omnichannel strategy into a revenue generator as well.
Reduce Complication With the Right Helpdesk
A helpdesk platform that provides a central dashboard for monitoring channels, feeds to track customer history and highlight recent support interactions, a robust knowledge base option for storing solutions, and cross-channel reporting metrics is a critical component of any omnichannel strategy. This will help your agents focus on finding solutions rather than hunting for information or needing to ask the customer to repeat information.
Find the Best Fit for You and Your Customers
You should take time to review helpdesk options against the needs of your customers While initial costs can seem steep in comparison to certain single-channel options, keep in mind that it’s a lot cheaper to add or experiment with channels to an integrated helpdesk system later on. And with one location for reviewing cross-channel metrics, the right helpdesk platform can streamline crucial reports on customer happiness, team health, and channel volume.
Myth #3 – Self-Service and Automation Replace Quality Agents
With technology rapidly making self-service channels and automation tools much easier to set up and maintain, you may be thinking that training and supporting your team may no longer be as important. However, your customers still expect to reach friendly, knowledgeable support agents when they contact your company directly. Your team needs to be fully prepared to resolve customer issues while reassuring them that your company appreciates their business and will always be there for them.
Technology Enhances Team Capabilities
Your agents need to be able to identify the best solution as rapidly as possible, no matter if the inquiry arrives via phone call or an SMS channel. Agents can quickly source answers when they have easy access to internal knowledge bases that are well-organized and kept up-to-date. This can be a great place to incorporate an AI-based toolset, which can provide suggestions based on optimal prior outcomes and further reduce complexity for your agents.
A Great Support Team Multiplies the Positive Impact of Seamless Service
Make sure agents have clear guidelines for prioritizing response times on channels where customers expect faster responses, such as social media. Agents should also have guidance on using helpdesk tools to route questions between channels without disrupting the customer’s experience. And of course, provide ongoing training to help agents deliver empathetic, effective, and engaging responses to every customer. When your team can deliver on these points, your customers will be delighted with their experience.
With the right omnichannel support strategy, you can keep your customers happy by working with them across the channels that are most convenient for them. Start with a focus on the channels your customers are already using to contact you, integrate a strong helpdesk platform with a robust central dashboard, and drive high satisfaction customer experiences through friendly, impactful agent interactions. This approach will help you develop your own roadmap for rolling out an omnichannel strategy that will have your customers coming back for more.