It may be tempting to say, “We offer our customers multiple channels to reach us…so we’re good!” But, customers today don’t really want only a multichannel experience. Instead, they want a seamless experience across channels. Or in other words, an omnichannel solution.
As many as 70% of customers say connected processes help win their business. But what does that mean, really? Maybe it’s having a seamless handoff between sales, enablement and support when they sign on. Or maybe it’s that they want you to automatically have context into what they’re calling about when they call so they don’t have to serve up a triple scoop of repeat pains for every interaction they have. Or, and stay with me here, maybe it’s both – plus more. These are the things that directly impact the quality of your customer’s experience and the loyalty they’ll have in their future purchases.
While an omnichannel experience is fairly easy to understand, it’s much more complicated to manage and deliver well. If you’ve invested in an omnichannel experience, but are still seeing inconsistencies and hiccups in your customer experience, it may be time to rethink some strategies. We’ve gathered 5 ideas to help you improve your omnichannel experience so you can deliver a better customer experience across the board.
1. Connect your systems seamlessly
Oftentimes companies think they’re already delivering an omnichannel experience when, in reality, what they’re offering is just a bunch of different channels that aren’t working together. In other words — a multichannel experience. This is when your multiple marketing and service channels work independently.
Maybe your customers can contact you in store, on the phone, by text, or over email, etc. But if each of those touchpoints are working on their own, when customers move between different channels, they have to repeat themselves over and over. This also only adds inefficiency and frustration among your employees who have to start from square one with each customer when they reach out on a new channel.
To combat this clunkiness and create an omnichannel experience, connect your channels so they can work with one another. As customers move across channels, move the customer data with them. This supplies employees across all your departments with all the company’s information about that specific customer. So as a customer switches from one channel to another, they won’t have to re-explain what they need. And agents won’t have to dig through multiple platforms to get the customer history.
Include this seamless interaction across all touchpoints in the customer lifecycle — websites, texts, live chats, emails, phone calls, and in-person assistance on the sales floor — to offer a more personalized customer experience.
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2. Make use of customer data for a cohesive CX
To deliver a solid omnichannel experience, data is key. With every interaction your customers have with your business, they share a lot of info about themselves. Use that information to deliver a more personal and more cohesive customer journey. Take time to understand your customers’ behaviors. Maybe that includes:
- Looking at what are the most popular pages on your website
- Noting which self-service tools are most used by customers
- Analyzing reactions to changes in your product and service offerings
- Tracking engagement from marketing emails
- Assessing sales by device and channel
- Tracking opt-ins for texting
What time of day are most purchases made? Which channels do customers use most to reach out to you? How many repeated times does a customer reach out about a single issue? All of this data provides a 360-degree view of the factors that influence your customers’ behavior so you know how to match your omnichannel experience to their expectations and needs.
3. Add automations
You wanna up your omnichannel customer experience? Add automations and bots to help your operations. Find a balance between bot and human interactions with customers to deliver speed and efficiency while also maintaining relationships.
Use automated texts, keywords, live chat bots, IVR, text IVR, and targeted emails to keep customers engaged and supported on different channels. Then, with the help of automated data collection, lean on automated technology to channel customer data and requests to live agents when the requests are more complicated. Automation can do the heavy lifting for those more menial tasks on your team, giving your employees opportunities to grow and resist burnout.
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4. Make your service consistent across every channel
It’s important that if omnichannel experience is being offered, employees are able to deliver consistent service quality across platforms. Companies that can do this retain 89% of their customers as compared to those that don’t only retain 33%. Every channel of communication should deliver the same quality of service. Let me illustrate:
Let’s say I go to your website. I find a massive FAQ page and a live chat bubble pops up to immediately offer help. But when I go to your site on my mobile device, it doesn’t fit the screen. The service portal is clunky to search and there’s no live chat offering. When I email, it takes an agent 3 days to respond. But if I text, they answer immediately. And if I call, your IVR menu is too confusing to get me to the right place. Sure, my data is transferred between channels, but has your omnichannel experience really worked? Honestly, no.
To make this better, make sure information and service is unified across every channel. Train agents on each channel so they know how to navigate them, know how the data transfers over, and understand how service style shifts between channels. Maybe even have teams dedicated to specific channels so employees can focus on delivering quality service no matter which channel they’re on that day. Then, as a customer moves between channels, they get an accurate and smooth brand experience.
5. Include texting alongside other channels
As many as 85% of people keep their phone at arms reach at all times and the average American checks their phone 96 times a day. Your customers are on their phones and use texting to communicate every day. Companies are finding that texting is a reliable way to reach customers. In fact, SMS response rates are 295% higher than responses from phone calls. And on average, it takes people only 90 seconds to respond to a text message versus the 90 minutes it takes to get a response to an email.
Customers want to be able to text you — 63% of consumers report that they’d switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel. So, if you’re not too overwhelmed by all these stats, hopefully you can see my next conclusion. It’s time to add texting to your omnichannel experience. With texting, you can relieve some of the pressure on your other channels.
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For example, reduce the number of incoming phone calls, and reduce the number of customers sitting on hold by offering for customers to move to a text thread with your agents. Or include texting as an alternative option in your IVR to deflect calls to text, giving more time to your agents to handle complex issues with customers over the phone and providing fast service to customers via text.
Adding texting gives your customers a more flexible way to contact you. Unlike live chat, texting allows customers to move about while they’re receiving help from you. They don’t have to sit in front of a desktop to carry on a chat, but can carry on their day’s errands and tasks while getting support from you using the phone in their back pocket. Add texting to your omnichannel experience to improve your service quality across the board.