Omnichannel and Customer Service

Sunil Aryan, Director Practice in Asia, Verint Systems

Organizations are continuously evolving to meet changing customer expectations to deliver exceptional customer experience. Over the last decade, Millennials have become significant part of the customer base. They are the epitome of “always on, always connected” consumers who are continuously shaping when and how organizations offer services. Having been raised around technology, it is important for organizations to offer as many channels as possible to accommodate customer service needs.

Choice of engagement channels is now the prerogative of customers, and new channels of engagement are evolving all the time. Just four years ago, it was hard to imagine that social media and instant messaging would change so rapidly from casual social interaction platforms to important channels for customer service.The rapidly changing nature of customer expectations is also keeping organizations on their toes on how they conduct their business and offer services.

The Challenge of Multiple Channels

For organizations eager to offer great customer service, adding multiple channels is comparatively easy. However, many struggle with cohesively managing customer interactions over these multiple touch points.

When looking for service, customers want to engage on a channel most convenient to them, at the time of their choice, and receive quick, courteous, and correct responses without being asked too many questions. Nothing can be more frustrating for a customer than seeking service from organization that offers many channels of engagement, but fails to seamlessly carry conversations from one channel over to another.

Often, customers engage using two or more channels at the same time, such as web self-service, chat, and phone. An average service engagement may have multiple touch points over a period of time. For example, a customer could email about an issue, chat with a representative via web self-service a week later, and then call about a couple of days later.

This service paradigm is increasingly becoming the norm, rather than the exception.

Multi-Channel versus Omnichannel Service

When customers engage with your organization, they expect you to know who they are and to understand the issue at hand. Organizations with disconnected channels may have a harder time meeting these expectations. To set yourself on the right path, you need to recognize the difference between a multi-channel approach versus an omnichannel approach.

Going further, true omnichannel service includes the ability to analyze all of these interactions to offer the most reasonable solution with minimal effort on the part of the customer and the person offering the service. It helps the customer feel empowered while also enabling your employees to see case histories in near-real time, while automatically guiding them with suggestions on the best ways to resolve the case.

No wonder, Self-Service is rapidly gaining ground as the new preferred channel of choice and is seen as the future of customer service. Self-Service is moving beyond simple search and delivery of information to more complex services, combining information and data from multiple sources to deliver service. This is helping to empower customers to access services on demand.

Another key aspect of omnichannel service is ensuring your customers’ experiences are consistent and excellent across all channels. This requires continuous evaluation of their journeys and satisfaction across channels, so you can identify the engagement mechanisms that offer maximum results with minimum customer effort. Armed with this insight, your organization can stay nimble to changing customer preferences and adapt its products, processes, and services to deliver consistently great service.

A good omnichannel strategy is about making your customer’s life easier while giving personalized service. It is one of the most important elements for facilitating a customer-centric culture that cultivates customer loyalty. After all, it is easier to retain a customer than to acquire a new one.