5 questions you have to answer before going omnichannel.

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Image: Blickpixel via Pixabay
Image: Blickpixel via Pixabay

In a customer service obsessed era, the pressure is on to diversify and offer multiple contact points. Here are 5 fundamental questions you need to ask yourself before going omnichannel:

Self-service, email, social media, web chat, live video and apps. With all that digital extravaganza going on, an invention of good Mr Bell is at risk of becoming an endangered species on the company’s budget plan. While companies focus on delivering a multichannel experience, customers are dangling for hours on the telephone.

“According to the survey, self-service channel usage has increased from 67% in 2012 to 76% in 2014, while phone usage remains the same at 73%.”

Forrester Research

Before jumping head first into developing the omnichannel experience, better check the basics off and ask yourself following five questions:

1. Is your self-service up to a challenge?

If the statistics are to be believed, almost 58% of consumers will try your webpage before dialling your number. If your representatives keep answering the same questions that are just standing around on your FAQ page, it means that something isn’t quite right. Updating Frequently Asked Questions is a first step to reducing the number of incoming calls.

“Recent survey from CEB that says 57.7% of customers will first visit a company’s website to resolve their issues. And that’s terrific, except that 35.5% were on the company’s website when they called an agent.”

(B2C)

2. Are you ready to handle the app traffic?

You probably heard about Salesforce’s improvements to their Cloud Service Apps feature. The CRM giant lately introduced one of the four solutions to be rolled out in 2015. The first of them is an SOS-style button embedded in a mobile service app. It connects desperate customers with an agent via live video chat.

“64% of the people using a smartphone app want it to facilitate connection to a live rep.”

(Loyalty360)

The other three features will include a phone call button, chat button and an FAQ page link. In other words, three of four improvements will still require a presence of a knowledgeable human, with at least one of them wearing pants (video chat). It means more ways leading to a call center. While giving customers a choice, new digital solutions are still relying on existing resources. Allocating them wisely will be the biggest challenge in 2016.

3. Are you relying too much on social media?

Oh, social media, you can’t live without them, but you can’t truly count them as a customer service tool either. The past few years proved that social media is not an effective channel for solving customer’s issues. Not only do they handle a tiny fraction of brand’s communication volume, but the resolution rate of those few issues that make it to the wall or feed is low as well.

“Despite the increase in channel use, social media has a 29% success rate in resolving customer service issues, compared to 69% over the phone, and only 1% of respondents found social media to be the most satisfying channel, signifying that these modes of customer service still need improvement.”

(Loyalty360.org)

4. Are you spreading yourself thin?

Unless you are blessed with unlimited resources consider diversifying carefully. Splitting your contact center attention may put an even bigger strain on most popular channels. The truth is, only the most affluent brands can provide a call, email, web chat, video chat, app, FAQ – service and keep their customers satisfied.

“With social media-grabbing headlines with claims that it’s the future of customer service, there’s a risk that contact centres will spend too long developing a social strategy and neglect the good old-fashioned phone call.”

(Salesforce)

Take the time to analyse patterns of engagement. It may turn out that by getting ahead of competition you’re leaving your customers behind.

“Satisfaction rates for chat are only superseded by those for voice (63% rating for chat, 69% for voice)”

(Forrester Research)

5. What do customers want?

A quick tip: They want you to pick up the damn phone! Despite what headlines say, the call center is far from being dead. It still handles about 70% of customer interactions. That statistic is unwavering despite the emergence of web chat, apps and live chat. The only aspect that is changing is the willingness to invest in this vital touch point by companies.

94% of marketing budgets are aimed at convincing customers to call (…) only 6% is spent on handling customer phone calls.

(Flavio Martins, B2C)

Watch this space to find out how to leverage the efficiency of your existing channels!

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