What Is Omnichannel Customer Service And How To Deliver It In 2022

A major study by Harvard Business Review found that more than 70% of online shoppers use multiple communication channels to resolve their queries. It also found that customer service departments are unable to adequately meet this demand. And at a time when customers are using multiple devices and channels to make purchases, it’s self-evident that they’ll expect to be able to resolve customer service queries via these channels. 

In short, customers want to get their service queries answered quickly and professionally. The net result of this trend is that businesses now need to provide customer service across multiple channels including phone, email, web and social media. 

However just being present on all these channels is not enough. Companies need to be able to provide a uniform and consistent response regardless of which touchpoint the customer chooses to engage with.

How should brands provide this experience to customers?

The answer quite simply is via omnichannel customer service. This article will discuss exactly what that is and also will uncover the various ways to deliver this effectively.

This article covers:

  • Omnichannel Customer Service And Why Is It Important
  • How To Give Your Customers The Best Omnichannel Service
  • 3 Tips For An Efficient Omnichannel Customer Service

So let’s get started.

Omnichannel Customer Service And Why Is It Important

As mentioned, businesses often have several channels by which they can be reached including automated calls, instant messaging, SMS and social media handles. Omnichannel customer service integrates all these channels to provide a coherent brand experience. It consolidates customer data from all these channels and presents it in a single accessible data source.

Omnichannel customer service also provides consistency for all channels. Customers can switch from one channel to another without having to explain their problem again and again to different representatives. This saves time for both the customer and the brand, and helps the business function more efficiently.

Different branches of services provided by Omnichannel

Source: Ideafactor

As customer expectations of service levels are constantly growing, it has become even more important to implement omnichannel customer service. Here’s why:

1. It speeds up the customer service process

89% of customers cited response speed as one of the most important aspects of customer service. Omnichannel customer service can help speed up response times: It not only makes brands accessible from multiple channels, but also helps them resolve customer queries faster by storing client data in a systematic manner, in one centralized database. This means that when a customer engages with a brand, the customer service representative has instant access to that individual customer’s purchase history as well as their previous interactions. This also has the benefit that customers don’t have to go through the frustrating process of explaining their problem to a new representative all over again. 

2. Delivers a more personalized service

Personalized communication used for account based marketing is the key to better conversions. Omnichannel customer service helps you deliver this efficiently and impactfully using the data gathered from all the previous interactions with the customer.

Personalization can be used by brands to express how they value and prioritize their customers.

Omnichannel customer service helps in this personalization process.

How?

By suggesting products and solutions after carefully analyzing their pain points using their purchase history, website activity and observations from customer service agents.

3. Drives revenue growth

Omnichannel customer service enhances customer satisfaction by giving better solutions and a uniform experience across all channels. It also boosts ‘one call resolution’ by giving customers accurate information using their purchase history and previous interactions. 

Data from these interactions can also be very helpful for revenue growth as it can inform aspects of digital marketing. Insights from an omnichannel customer service experience can be leveraged and then fed back into an overall marketing strategy. For example if you had a bunch of users contact a company via Twitter tentatively enquiring (for example) about purchasing accounting software, the details of these users could be fed back to the marketing teams. Those users could then be added to a remarketing list which could target ads encouraging them to sign up to the software.

How To Give Your Customers The Best Omnichannel Service

Omnichannel customer service needs to be efficient and seamless in order for it to be effective. Delays or having incomplete or inaccurate data will just frustrate customers and make them less inclined to purchase again in the future. So to make a customer service system like this, businesses need to study their customer interactions closely and come up with innovative ways to improve them.

Here are some of the ways brands can improve their omnichannel customer service experience...

1. Interact throughout the customer journey

Customers need to be able to contact customer services at all stages of their buying journey. A good omnichannel customer service provides customer support from initial user acquisition, through to order placement and then right onto order tracking.

Interacting throughout the process helps brands track the customer journey on the website closely. It also helps to identify the potential hurdles or pain points faced by the customer.

2. Leverage technology

Using AI, brands can learn about their customers from the current customer service experience. User behavior and trends can then be fed back into making iterative improvements and efficiencies. For example: When completing an online contact form, if users are dropping off at certain points or can’t proceed because they can’t find their order number, what changes can be made to make the process more seamless?

3. Preference live chat over chat bots

Using live chat is nearly always preferable to bots as they can never match human interaction, free expression or emotions. Moreover, bots always have pre-programmed responses which might not always be relevant to the problem, leaving customers frustrated. Remember, a human live chat agent can also recognise opportunities to upsell a user where a bot will not be programmed to do this. That said, bots should still have a role to play for out of office hours support.

The use of live chat agents also enables customers to interact in real time and ask any question they want. Thus, agents can provide better and more accurate answers after understanding the nature of the query.

An Omnichannel customer service representative

Source: Revechat

3 Tips For An Efficient Omnichannel Customer Service

There are numerous ways you can make your customer service offering better. Here we have three top tips that can be applied to any e-commerce business to make omnichannel customer service run more efficiently.

1. Optimize for mobile

The increased usage of mobile phones for shopping online is no secret. In fact, mobile is now the most popular device when it comes to e-commerce. What this means for brands is that users not only shop via mobile but expect access to customer service on their mobile too. For this reason it’s imperative that all customer service touchpoints are device responsive.

One of the most common complaints from customers is when a website is not device friendly and is difficult to navigate. And although the vast majority of e-commerce stores are now fully responsive there are some instances of backend customer service portals that are still only really usable on desktop devices.

2. Shorten the response time with automation

While there’s no doubt that bots can’t beat human interaction, service agents can’t be available 24/7. This is where bots can play a role by providing boilerplate responses to acknowledge customer queries out of hours. In effect, it's a way of leveraging automation in lieu of having no available agents. Chat bots can also understand user instructions that may in fact solve simple customer queries and also facilitate automated customer emails in conjunction with CRM tools. However, if the bot can’t solve the query there and then, a human agent can pick up the query the next day, read the transcript and respond accordingly.

3. Test your customer service system before launch

One thing all brands should do is rigorously test their omnichannel customer service system before launch. It’s no good finding out the issues after a new system has gone live as this will leave a trail of dissatisfied customers. So test to see if bots respond quickly, or the email automation works. In this way you can experience how customers will feel when navigating through your customer service ecosystem. For example, do some of the emails go to spam? If so then you need to work hard on achieving better deliverability. 

Man looking at his phone thinking of what to buy

Source: Acquire

Wrapping Up

For an Omnichannel customer service system to succeed it needs comprehensive forward planning. This will ensure that all parts of the system are working in tandem with one another. If a channel is open to customers to contact a brand, there needs to be uniformity in the responses given.

Although it can seem a huge leap to offer customer service across all channels, users will expect this if you are using them for branding or marketing purposes. Human nature determines that users will pick the channel they feel is the most convenient to contact a company. Whichever channel the customer chooses, the response needs to be timely, accurate and consistent. 

Author bio: Vineet Gupta is a SaaS marketing professional who helps businesses in improving their online presence and lead generation. He blogs at 5minutesseo.com. Connect with him for more engaging conversations on Linkedin.

Vineet Gupta, author of What Is Omnichannel Customer Service And How To Deliver It In 2022

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