How to Improve the Customer Experience with Your Omni-Channel Strategy

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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.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joanna Jones
Joanna Jones is a professional copywriter and marketing strategist who has partnered with Impact Learning Systems for two years. As a marketing professional, Joanna works closely with customer service teams and helps companies improve their B2B and B2C communications and strategy.

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