Omnichannel. Multi-channel. They’re hugely popular buzzwords in the modern world of customer service – and with good cause. But what do they mean? And how do you make them work for your business?

Defining Multi-channel and Omnichannel

Until relatively recently, customer service was pretty cut-and-dried. Your customers, should they need help, could pretty much call or fax you (remember fax?!) and that was that.

Today, customer service has gone digital. And customer expectations have changed.

They have new channels through which to seek service; social media; mobile; live chat – and that’s to name just a few.

The majority of businesses are getting pretty good at multi-channel, which means having a presence on all of these platforms. But omnichannel can be a much tougher nut to crack. This is all about ensuring a consistent relationship across all different channels.

The thing is, customers don’t just use one channel. They might Tweet you, then follow up with a call. They might have a live chat conversation then send you a private message on Facebook. We’ve all dealt with businesses where it seems like one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing – and it can be incredibly frustrating.

Multi-channel communication isn’t the worst thing; you are, at least, available and accessible to your customers. But this is problematic because, almost universally, customers hate having to repeat themselves. According to Accenture research, 89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives. What’s more, Kampyle claims that 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience.

Why omnichannel matters

Aside from the fact that consistent omnichannel experiences have become a basic expectation among consumers, there are a number of bottom-line benefits for your business.

  • Retention – Two pieces of Research done by the Aberdeen Group shows businesses that adopted an omnichannel strategy benefited with a 91% year-over-year increase in client retention rates compared to organizations that chose not to implement this type of interaction plan. Reducing the confusion of different messages across multiple engagement channels is a key attribute in retaining customers and increasing profits.In fact, Aberdeen Group Inc. claims that companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.
  • Lower Costs – by making it quicker for your people to resolve issues – and reducing duplicate effort in establishing problems – costs automatically fall.
  • Increased Profits – as well as improving retention, organizations that are implementing an omnichannel strategy will experience a 4% increase (on average) increase in customer lifetime value.
  • Competitive Advantage – we live in a busy world and people often choose the path of least resistance. If a company makes it difficult for us to resolve an issue – and we have a much better experience elsewhere – it’s pretty much a no-brainer who gets to keep our business long-term. Increased empowerment of consumers has led to less loyalty and more competition. And, crucially, while omnichannel customer service is clearly incredibly important, it hasn’t become the norm. You can still steal a march on your competitors by embracing it. Don’t believe us? Check out these eye-opening statistics:
    • 61% of consumers say they haven’t been able to switch easily from one channel to another when interacting with customer service.
    • Only 57% of respondents agreed that their experience is consistent no matter how they contact customer service.
    • While 94% of consumers say customer service should have the most up-to-date information on them no matter the care channel, nearly half (47%) say the data customer service typically has on record rarely seems to help resolve their issues.

The problem with legacy solutions

It all sounds easy, but clearly, there’s a fairly large amount of work thrown up by the idea of unifying a series of disparate communication channels.

Steve Jobs put it best when he said, “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwords to the technology.” Believe us – it’s important enough to justify the work.

The brutal truth is that customer expectations have changed so radically that your customer service function has almost certainly outgrown the legacy solutions you currently use. Rather than try to patch up those solutions, the right way forward is invariably to embrace new technology from the ground-up. Most legacy solutions are incapable of offering real-time visibility in one platform across modern channels – and that’s where solutions like Nubitalk come in.

Closing Thoughts

Customers have become empowered by new technologies and it’s time for companies to do the same. Omnichannel is developing into a necessity, so make sure that you don’t get left behind! For more information on how you can embrace omnichannel and ditch the legacy solutions, get in touch!

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