Thought provoking article in a recent edition of Customer Relationship Management entitled, "The 4 Key Customer Service Omnichannel Considerations" by Leonard Klie.
How many times have you spoken to your bank, cable company or another product or service provider with whom you have a relationship and had to provide them with a list of information about yourself, your order, your preferences, your previous issues and your most recent, unresolved, issue?
As customers begin having more satisfactory, holistic customer experiences with online retailers (i.e., Zappos), their expectations with regards to what is, and is not, acceptable customer service is increasing.
"Consumers expect a conversation that begins on one channel can be continued on another, with all relevant contextual data preserved across channels."
"You're omnichannel when the customer doesn't notice a difference between channels."
Based on research conducted by Aberdeen, companies that are able to provide omnichannel customer service see significant benefits:
- 8.5% improvement in first call resolution (which happens to be what customers rank as the number one driver of satisfaction after interacting with customer service).
- 7.5% decrease in average cost per customer contact.
- 9.5% increase in year-over-year revenue.
Other interesting findings from the research:
- Only 20% of companies are considered to be "top performers" in omnichannel customer service.
- 85% of those provide regular training to teach agents how to handle multiple channels.
- 77% store customer contact data across multiple channels.
- 77% route inquiries to agents with specific skills related to the customer's need.
- 69% identify topics repeatedly addressed by customers across channels to find where channels need to be improved.
One reason for the low adoption of omnichannel customer service is that most organizations are set up to deliver customer service around specific channels.
The "owners" of these channels have different goals and frequently have different, non-integrated, CRMs which make it impossible to have a 360-degree view of the customer.
In most firms, "organizational alignment really is the biggest hurdle."
Even if a firm has the desire to have a 360-degree view of their customer, the integration required to have different platforms exchaning data with one another is time consuming and costly.
If you are in the process of creating an omnichannel customer experience for your customers, I strongly recommend buying an all-in-one solution which allows you to share resources and information from a single database.
Ensure the solution is mobile friendly since this will ultimately be the first place your customers will want to engage with you, if they're not doing so already.
"If you want to be truly customer-focused, you want your best agents doing the best jobs on the channels where they feel most comfortable. You do not have to have everyone doing everything."
One of the best ways for an organization to become customer-centric is to have a senior level person, perhaps a chief customer experience officer, overseeing all customer interactions, especially those falling between the silos, to identify where and how customer experience can be improved.
Is you firm providing, or planning to provide, omnichannel customer service to improve the customer experience?