In customer service, you often have to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and visualize their experience so that you can understand where there are gaps in the customer experience, and to help you see what processes and technology you need to adapt so you can improve their experiences.
The terms “omni-channel” and “multi-channel” customer service are trending these days – and for good reason. When you put yourself into your customers’ shoes and examine the problems in your customer service strategy, you will start to see how many of your customer complaints stem from breakdowns in the omni-channel experience.
Let’s look at some of the most common customer complaints and then discuss how you can create an integrated omni-channel strategy that addresses your customers’ concerns.
Customer experience breakdown #1: Customers don’t want to repeat themselves
If a customer contacts you online – say through a Tweet, email, or with an online live chat specialist, the customer will have stated his problem once. If the customer is asked to call the company’s call center to speak to a live rep for further assistance, the last thing the customer wants to do is go through the whole story about what the issue is and how he needs assistance. The more a customer gets shuffled around, the less tolerant he will be when he’s asked to repeat his problem.
Customer experience breakdown #2: Customers don’t want to wait
Is there anything more frustrating than being put on hold? It doesn’t take too much visualization of the customer experience to know that long wait times are a justifiable complaint that customers have. In your current customer experience strategy, do customers have long wait times if they contact you through one of your platforms? If you have an omni-channel platform in place, what do the wait times look like as the customers are shuffled between the contact points?
Customer experience breakdown #3: Customers don’t want to be anonymous
Another common customer complaint is anonymity. When a customer calls or contacts you, do you have a customer profile available to your agents? Can you look at the products the customer uses, see a history of customer complaints, and understand what actions were taken to help the customer? Does the customer feel like she is introducing herself and explaining her history to your company every time she calls, or does it feel more like she is resuming a conversation with a personal sales rep?
Customer experience breakdown #4: Customers don’t want to notice the channel-to-channel switches
How integrated is your omni-channel experience? Is it frustrating (if not nearly impossible) for customers to move from an email to chatting with a live-agent? Do you have technology that allows your call center agents to email your customers if they need to send documents or provide follow-up? Does the customer feel like every point of contact is dealing with a different company?
Do any of these customer experience complaints feel familiar to your company?
When you visualized what your customer experience is like for your customers, did any of the above-mentioned customer complaints resonate? As an exercise, have you tried contacting your own company through your omni-channels to see where the pain points are? If some (or all) of the customer experience breakdowns hit home to you, read on. We’ll discuss how your omni-channel strategy can address these common customer experience problems.
What the customer wants: The same quality of experience across all channels
Your omni-channel strategy needs to appear unified, and your company’s brand and quality of customer experience should be identical, regardless of what channel your customer uses. Identify and focus on where there are inconsistencies across your channels. Addressing this issue is step number one in fixing the four most common customer experience breakdowns that we’ve identified.
What the customer wants: A seamless channel transition, no matter where or how the customer engages with you
The second step is to make the omni-channel channel transitions seamless across all of the platforms. If you switch from a Tweet response to a live-chat agent, the customer should hardly notice the difference – it should feel like the conversation is simply being continued. If you can successfully identify the breakdowns in your channel transitions, you will be tackling one of the most common customer complaints.
What the customer wants: Just the information that’s sufficient to solve the problem
Finally, the third step is to put customer complaints to rest by tackling the last problem that causes customer experience breakdowns: Understand the customer’s history. How informative is your omni-channel system? Do you have a program that shows the full history of your customers’ purchases and interactions with your company? Your customer doesn’t want to feel anonymous – as we’ve already discussed – so does your omni-channel strategy address anonymity? Can the customer call you and just receive the information relevant to solve his problem? If you have an omni-channel process that allows your agents to instantly access a customer’s history, you will be addressing the customer experience breakdown issue of anonymity.
An omni-channel system doesn’t matter to the customer unless it works
You can invest huge sums of money into the latest omni-channel technologies, but unless you first understand the most common customer frustrations and know how to address them through your omni-channel platforms, you won’t be actually improving the customer experience.
Omni-channel customer service can transform the customer experience – so put yourself into your customers’ shoes, and then implement an omni-channel strategy that truly solves the customer experience breakdowns.