There are more ways to stay in touch with our friends and family than ever before. From phone calls and handwritten letters to FaceTime and WhatsApp, we have plenty of choices when it comes to staying connected. This has also affected the way people communicate with businesses and, as a result, more companies are putting an omnichannel customer service strategy in place.
But what exactly does omnichannel customer service mean, and what benefits can businesses receive by using an omnichannel strategy? This post will help you get a better understanding of omnichannel support and give you some tips on the best ways to implement it in your business.
What is omnichannel customer service?
Omnichannel customer service is where all the different communication channels are integrated, with the goal of providing a seamless and consistent experience. So, if a customer needs help they’ll be able to get the same level of service regardless of whether they walk into a physical store, make a phone call, send an email, or use any other channel.
Although it might sound similar, omnichannel is not the same as multichannel. Multichannel support means it’s possible for a customer to get in touch using different channels. However, omnichannel customer support builds on this by combining all of those different ways of communicating into one unified channel, with the customer (and all their touch-points) at the center.
Why is omnichannel customer service important?
Omnichannel communication means a customer can move from one channel to another without any friction or having to start again from the beginning. Rather than each channel operating independently, information is shared across different channels to provide a far superior service to the customer.
For example, they might start off by sending an email to a support address, then visit the website and use onsite chat, before finally jumping on a phone call. With omnichannel support, the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves each time they switch to a different channel. Instead, the customer service team can quickly see the previous information and get on with helping the customer.
This can improve many of the metrics that are associated with customer service. When information doesn’t have to be repeated, issues can be resolved faster and Average Handle Time (AHT) decreases. Offering customers a greater choice of channels while also providing a unified service across those channels improves customer satisfaction, leading to higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS). In turn, happier customers are less likely to churn, improving customer retention and overall revenue.
Omnichannel best practices
Know your customers
Whether you’re just getting started or are looking for ways to improve the omnichannel customer experience, your customers have to be at the center of it. For example, you should know what the typical customer journey looks like. What channels do they prefer to use? What are the most common issues that come up?
Review previous support tickets, talk with existing customers, and find out what they expect from your customer service teams. Then find a way to surpass those expectations.
Make it easy to get in touch
When someone wants to talk with your customer service team, they shouldn’t have to spend ages trying to find your contact details. Make sure the contact information for your different channels is clearly displayed. Including a click to call button on your website, mobile app, or live chat makes it even easier. With SnapCall, customers can be given the option of jumping on a call without having to dial a number, wait on hold or repeat themselves.
Valley Driving School found that having a possibility to get on a call right inside the chat made things much easier for the customer: “Our customers are asking for the ability to chat, swap to a call and then sometimes even swap back to chat again, so allowing them to do that in the most convenient way is perfect.”
Read the full case study to see how Valley Driving School provided a full omnichannel customer experience for their customers.
Ensure staff have the customer information they need
The key part of omni customer service is sharing information between channels so that the customer has a frictionless experience. If the customer service team can’t see the customer’s details, or it’s too complicated or time-consuming to look those details up, then it’s not truly omnichannel support.
Make sure information relating to any support queries and their status is recorded for all channels and made easily available to your team. SnapCall provides support staff with customer data—such as first and last name, email address and even customer intention—all before they pick up the call. If you’re switching from text chat to voice call, you can choose to have the same operator handle both to provide a truly seamless service.
Reduce response times
When people get in touch with your customer service team, they want a quick response, irrespective of which channel they’re using.
The first step is to ensure that all channels are being properly monitored at all times; rather than having to check each channel individually, managing them all from a single platform makes it much more likely you won’t miss any messages and can respond faster.
However, even with the best tech, it can still be a lot of work maintaining all of your customer service channels. One way to reduce this work is by allowing customers to easily find answers to the more simple problems by themselves, such as through support documentation, FAQs and community forums. This enables your agents to focus on the customers with the most pressing issues.
As the different channels that customers use to contact businesses continue to grow, providing a true omnichannel experience is quickly becoming essential. By providing your customers with a seamless experience across multiple channels, you can provide a better service, improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn and increase revenue.
Interested in offering omnichannel customer service? SnapCall helps by providing tools that allow your teams to see customer data before they pick up a call and easily switch between text and voice chat. Book a demo and start your free 14-day trial today.