Omni-channel is more than a buzzword. It’s a journey that effectively unites every service channel a customer could use to interact with a business. It provides a more comprehensive approach that leverages all customer data to provide a consistent, seamless and personalized experience that 77 percent of today’s consumers demand.
Companies with the strongest omni-channel strategy can retain up to 89 percent of customers, but many contact centers continue to make common mistakes that erode customer loyalty. With a recent DMG Consulting report revealing most organizations are lagging in the implementation of true omni-channel contact centers, now is the time to reevaluate omni-channel strategies and understand the common blunders destroying the customer experience.
Inconsistency across Customer Touchpoints
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Today, more than half of all consumers engage with companies on more than one channel to get a customer service-related issue resolved, and 61 percent of customers report being unable to easily switch from one channel to another. Although many brands claim they offer omni-channel customer experiences, most digital channels are siloed. This forces a customer’s contact journey to take place over a specific channel without the option to switch channels later.
Inconsistencies across touchpoints halt engagement, which is one of the biggest drivers of customer loyalty. To better unify interactions with customers, companies should not only include multiple channels, but also knit them together appropriately. For instance, a dialogue that starts on Twitter needs to be able to continue via SMS or voice call with all the relevant data preserved across all channels. Companies can accomplish this by interlacing channels into one single interface and transcribing all interactions, allowing agents to switch between channels more efficiently.
Failing to Leverage Artificial Intelligence
Companies need to provide a level of service based on what customers want, which is shorter wait times and more efficient services, such as the automated solutions provided through Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, only 35 percent of organizations leverage AI technologies, meaning contact centers are failing to meet customers’ demands. Contact centers need to embrace AI to stay innovative, especially since AI will power 95 percent of customer interactions by 2025.
AI plays a key role in contact support teams by anticipating a customer’s inquiry and predicting what they will ask. Each time a chatbot interacts with a human, it learns to recognize specific patterns and stores that data for future reference. Over time, chatbots will begin to understand language, not just commands, allowing businesses to increase efficiency while gaining helpful market insights in the process. Agents will also be able to focus more on first-call resolutions while reducing hold times and generating higher customer satisfaction.
It’s no secret that customer service agents have a demanding job, which is why turnover can be as high as 45 percent at some contact centers. Agents are dealing with dozens of consumers who are experiencing a multitude of issues and need to be prepared for almost every scenario imaginable.
Combining the stress with today’s demand for omni-channel perfection means that agents must be multi-skilled across multiple channels. However, contact centers are not implementing the necessary training to help agents deliver an easy, frictionless customer experience. In fact, only 30 percent of contact center decision-makers train all their agents to support multiple channels while 18 percent only train agents on one channel. By training agents to be more well-versed in every digital channel, organizations can combat discrepancies in service.
Lacking a Cross-channel Measurement Strategy
While 80 percent of companies claim to offer superior customer service, only 8 percent of their actual customers assign them the same grade. That’s why a measurement strategy is crucial to continuously improve service quality. Tracking the right KPIs will help reveal better omni-channel strategies for the future and deliver a superior customer experience.
Once benchmarks of success have been outlined, use analytics capabilities built in to your contact center platform for easy reporting. The most successful companies use omni-channel insights to measure, report, analyze and allocate resources as needed to ensure alignment of agents, technology and operations. Analytics will help determine which areas are lagging and require improvement.
Omni-channel is no longer just a CRM initiative but a way to ensure survival in today’s highly-saturated marketplace. As companies are now expected to compete mainly on customer experience, it is vital to deliver consistent omni-channel communication to maintain competitive advantage. Help drive your brand in the right direction in the new year by implementing omni-channel strategies that meet the needs of today’s consumers and integrate the latest technologies across all touchpoints.