Omnichannel Customer Service Makes Customers Feel Great
Many brands talk about their ability to offer omnichannel service to their customers. However, often they are just talking about their multichannel capabilities. What is the difference?
To begin, it helps to think back to simpler times. When customer service was provided to customers who wrote a letter or used the telephone to call the company, these were the only available channels. Queries that were not urgent would be in a letter, and the critical questions would be handled on calls.
Email was added to the mix for most companies in the 90s. However, omnichannel communication was not a priority until social media arrived.
Reaching Out To Brands Via Your Favorite Platforms
Since approximately 2010, it has been essential for brands to support and engage with customers on social media channels. Many brands were initially reluctant to engage with customers on social media. They believed that service was already available on the existing channels.
The effect of celebrities loudly using their social platform to inform fans of poor service from a telco, or similar service, quickly led brands to consider that responding to customers on social media was now essential. In addition to just answering questions, it also created a direct form of engagement that could be positive for the customer relationship.
Evolving Customer-Brand Interactions
This is taken for granted today, but channels have expanded beyond social media alone. Many social networks have integrated e-commerce directly into their platform. Customers can talk to friends, buy products, and talk to a customer service agent simultaneously.
Some research has suggested that customers now use 20 different channels to engage with brands. This sounds extreme but think about your activity. You still visit stores, but you also search for products on company websites and platforms such as eBay. You also browse products on TikTok and Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can still call the company or send them a WhatsApp message.
Navigating the Path to Omnichannel Success
This multichannel environment has changed entirely over the past decade, but the companies that manage it most successfully take an omnichannel approach. The main difference is the focus on creating a great customer experience, regardless of the channel used.
A customer may prefer to use text messages when riding a busy train, but then they may prefer to use a voice call when driving. They might even send an email if they have a question, but it is not urgent. The important thing that smart brands do is to connect this activity together.
Imagine sending an email asking about a product and not hearing anything for a few days. You call the company, and the agent knows nothing of your earlier question and asks you to repeat everything. Now consider the customer reaction if the agent apologizes for the slow response but then adds that they are aware of the email and someone is already looking into it – we will call you back within the hour.
It’s an entirely different experience for the brand, and it comes from taking an omnichannel approach – not just adding more and more channels. It’s all about connecting those channels and ensuring that customers feel valued.
Omnichannel requires effort, but it’s clear that customers value how it makes them feel.