The omnichannel customer service approach has long surpassed the multi-channel one as something all businesses should strive for. In a world where modern technology has given consumers more choice than ever before, adopting a customer-focused management strategy is essential.
So what’s it all about?
The old multi-channel approach offers a range of services for customers, but an omnichannel one integrates them. The whole philosophy aims to provide the same level of high service across all channels. There should be no difference in the customer experience whether they’re in-store, on the phone, or contacting your company through social media.
Gone are the days when consumers would have to put up with repeating their query over multiple store visits or phone calls! Find our best practices for creating a seamless omnichannel experience below.
- Brand Book
- Understand Your Customers
- Keep Your Website Up-to-Date
- Choice of Channels
- Reliable Dashboard
- Regular Feedback Sessions
- Cloud-Based Software
- Align Human & Robot-Responses
- Stay Ahead of the Curve
1. Brand Book
Omnichannel customer service doesn’t start and finish with your service team. A brand’s philosophy needs to be clear from its product offerings, copywriting, and images, through to its salespeople and marketers.
Creating a brand book can inform all of your staff as to what’s expected of them at all times, no matter what the form of contact. From resolving complaints to upselling, a brand book can guide your staff to meet any consumer expectation. Get your philosophy right at the start, and you’re laying the foundations for great customer service.
2. Understand Your Customers
Creating customer personas is a must for any business. How old are your customers? What interests do they have? Are they affluent? What’s the average customer-spend for a year? This is essential knowledge to have when it comes to any consumer interaction.
Understanding should be an essential part of your customer retention strategy. Not only can this help your agents adopt the right tone and solutions needed when dealing with customer queries, but it can influence your service offering too.
Knowing customer preferences can help you see where the biggest investments need to be made. Small changes such as introducing an in-store app for shoppers or a fixed VoIP—What is fixed VoIP? It’s an internet-based telephone number with a fixed address, and more secure than a non-fixed VoIP—for customer callbacks can make all the difference to a business-customer relationship. Try to get customer feedback whenever you can and act upon it where necessary.
3. Keep Your Website Up-to-Date
Quality content can reduce the number of people who have to contact your customer service agents in the first place. With the need for speed and offering quick solutions, your website should offer a thoroughly-researched set of FAQs or detailed product-related content.
Structure this to answer any potential questions that may come along. If information is easy to locate on your website, this can offer an even quicker solution than a chatbot or SMS. It’s also important to ensure your website is running in-line with customer expectations. If your site is slow, hard to update, or prone to other repeat glitches, consider changing your ecommerce platform. Customers won’t waste time waiting for a page to load.
4. Choice of Channels
Simply offering a phone call to answer customer queries is an outdated response these days. For a seamless omnichannel experience, you need to offer every form of communication that your customers use. This could mean anything from a physical store to email, social media, SMS, apps, and chatbots.
Technology has seen trends shift from business-led services to customer-led. If you’re not giving your customers all the options for their preferred means of communication, they’ll simply shop elsewhere.
The next step is to ensure all of your channels are working at the same level. If response times to, say, social media contacts are lagging behind that of email or voice call, it will affect the quality of your whole operation.
5. Reliable Dashboard
Through careful selection and first-rate training, you can ensure your customer service agents are the best in the business. But there’s no point in having premium staff if they don’t have the right help desk software to do their job. With the omnichannel emphasis being on all channels having an equal standard of service, make sure your set-up empowers your staff to deliver.
If your own enterprise is just getting started, this may be less of an investment than it sounds. Even for non-established companies, there is a great range of small business mobile apps available that can simplify necessary procedures for employers and employees alike. The best gear will save both time and money in the long-run.
Whatever software you use should be reliable and built for speed. Agents need to have the capacity to switch between channels at a moment’s notice, with all the information to hand about previous customer interactions.
Make sure you utilize the best enterprise network security products for your software. Compromised security risks your whole operation, from dashboard usability to customer confidentiality.
On a basic level, all customer interactions need to be tracked, so agents have a step-by-step record of a complaint or inquiry immediately at their disposal. Call center analytics capabilities need to be first-rate, so you’re able to review your system and processes regularly.
Tracking every step of the journey through your customer service department can show what’s working and what procedures need refining. There may be channels that have fallen completely out of favor. Others may need greater investment due to customer preferences. Face-to-face in-store staff needs a way of logging their every meeting with a customer. And call center staff needs access to this information just in case their next interaction with your company is to pick up the phone.
7. Regular Feedback Sessions
Remember, your customer service staff are the real experts when it comes to reviewing your processes. They’ll not only know their job inside out, but they’ll understand your customers and software better than most. Make sure your staff can feed back in an instant to highlight any problems, no matter how small. And have regular feedback sessions so your agents can share their day-to-day insights face-to-face. Continual improvement is key to any successful system.
8. Cloud-Based Software
A seamless customer experience doesn’t just depend upon channel offering and quality of service. You’ll need to ensure your wider processes are up to scratch as well. Given Covid-19’s impact on both office and store-based approaches, a reliable remote work strategy should be the norm for any business model. As the global pandemic has shown us, we never know quite what’s around the corner.
Businesses that have been able to manage the shift from office-based to home-based working have been one step ahead during the past year. A cloud-based operating system makes such necessary shifts in company policy much easier than ever before.
In the same way that a free virtual phone service enables your staff to be on-call after they’ve left the office, an overall cloud-based system means they can continue working from anywhere in the world. It’ll also offer unlimited storage for the future and eradicates the possibility of hardware breaking down.
9. Align Human & Robot Responses
Coaching your human agents to become aligned with your philosophy is one thing – it’s a little trickier to do the same with robots! However, integrating machine-led responses into your customer service offering is an essential part of the omnichannel approach.
Chatbots are growing in popularity among consumers who don’t wish to waste time manually dialing a department and sitting in a queue. As well as investing in the best chatbot system you can afford, you’ll need to ensure your system is geared up for plan B. How do you react when your chatbot can take a customer no further? Your project management dashboard needs to be able to handle the shift from robot to human agent, and for them to have all the necessary information on hand to make an effective response.
10. Stay Ahead of the Curve
Anyone working in marketing knows that nothing stays the same for long. Preferences for specific forms of social media come and go. Keeping up with the latest technology and ensuring it fits seamlessly into your existing framework is a must.
Find out what your competitors are offering and see if it can benefit your own channels. Don’t forget that great customer support is not only there to solve problems, but it can generate more sales by enhancing your brand’s reputation and encouraging customer loyalty.