12 Tips you cannot miss if you wish to offer an omnichannel customer experience
Omnichannel customer experience integrates text, social media, email, IMs, etc, to provide a messaging that is not only aligned but also where customers can expect the same kind of service and experience across all channels. Omnichannel customer service gives you many ways to make meaningful interactions with your customers as well as helps you build your brand’s reputation.
Customer’s biggest grouse with the brands they use is that most of them do not care to give proper resolution to their problems. In fact, some of the e-commerce sites are known to not even provide their email addresses for people to raise an issue. Having an omnichannel customer service is the first step towards reducing the frustrations of the average customer. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, here is your cue to do so.
Omnichannel customer experience scenario:
Let’s understand omnichannel customer experience through this scenario. Imagine you are a customer who wants to buy a Bluetooth speaker. You read online reviews, watch YouTube videos, ask on Facebook groups, forums and anywhere you believe people could help you out with their experience about the product. After narrowing down on the choices, you want to check if the cheapest price is available at a physical store or any of the e-commerce sites you frequent. This is where the magic happens- when you were searching for the Bluetooth speaker online, you stamped your digital footprint because of which you will find yourself bombarded with ads and recommendations about the Bluetooth speakers everywhere- YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, websites that run Google ads and so on.
You will also get a reminder from the e-commerce firm saying that the product you added to your cart is still available and ask you if you would like to purchase it. They might even offer you a discount over email or you could get a call to apprise you of a better offer! Everywhere you go on the Internet, you get reminded about the Bluetooth speaker and before you realize it, you click on the ‘Buy’ button. This is what we call as an omnichannel customer experience where customer’s digital habits are tracked, and it is used to facilitate a smooth interaction.
Remember one thing- customer journeys aren’t like the plots of a rickety romance novel- predictable. Each of your customers has unique problems that need to be addressed individually. This is where omnichannel customer experience as a strategy comes into place.
Benefits of Omnichannel customer service:
It connects your customers with individual customer interaction touchpoints over a myriad of channels thus making them think and experience a taste of the product repeatedly. This helps to bring the customer closer to the end of the sales cycle. Here are some of the benefits of creating an omnichannel customer service strategy for your business:
Get deep insights on customers:
Omnichannel leave a trace of the customer and the conversations they have had with your business on different platforms like forums, Facebook page, chatbot, live chat and more. This is extremely helpful information that can help you change your messaging to serve the customers better if you can use it wisely.
Save on costs:
With omnichannel service, you might think that you are spending a lot of money, but you are indirectly helping your customers get the best resolution for their issues. When they get immediate resolutions, they are more likely to stick to your brand as well as rave about you to their friends and family- thereby increasing the bottom-line.
Creates effective workflows:
Using omnichannel customer experience solutions mean that you will be able to create workflows that make it easy for service executives as well as customers to get a solution. Automated workflows ensure that customer service executives don’t have to do a whole lot of searching for the right resolution- thus saving time and money.
Gives accurate data:
The data that is captured in omnichannel solutions are validated and there are extremely low chances of inaccuracy. The up-to-date data is integrated and collated from a variety of channels that adds to the efficiency of the business and assists in serving the customers better.
SurveySparrow gives you these 12 action plans that can be done to create an omnichannel customer experience:
Respond faster on social media:
Social media can be one of your best tools to engage and connect with your customers. But it is also a double-edged sword since customers want your attention immediately. Customers want you to solve their problem as soon as they ping on your chatbot or engage with your Twitter account. It can be difficult, especially if you are a small business and you cannot afford to hire reps to provide 24*7 service. But you could always build a system that allows you to provide a solution to your customers immediately. You could create a list of FAQs and share them to the customer if they contacted you at a time when none of your reps are available. Check out this stat: 42 percent of complaining consumers want a business to respond within 60 minutes of their contact. Difficult? Yes. Can you create a solution? Yes, of course.
Empower customers with information:
The last thing your customer wants to do is to wait in a queue to get on a call with your customer service executive. People want instant results and as a service provider, it is your responsibility to provide them with solutions to problems of any kinds that may happen when using your product.
You might think that customers might not like wading through a lot of information on your website to find a solution for their issue. You couldn’t be more wrong. Customers want to find answers and are more than happy to do it at their end unless something complex arises. The onus is on the business to organize the information in such a way that it is easy to find. Not only does it solve your customer’s problem, but you also save time and effort of your service rep.
A dedicated forum for your customers might be another solution that you might want to implement. Sure, growing a community might be a big task, but the benefits are multi-fold, in terms of service as well as for branding.
When a potential customer chance upon your website and is intrigued by your products but still has a few nagging questions before buying from you, the most effective resolution at this juncture is a live chat customer service executive who can answer questions immediately. Harris Research says that more than 53% of customers prefer online chat over getting on a call with a customer service executive.
There are very few companies that use live chat as a tool to help their customers with the query. The fact that the live chat tool is usually available on the right bottom of the screen makes people click on it to get their questions answered. This is an extremely important point to note because all other means of communicating with the customer care takes more than a few clicks and a little bit of time to search as well. This could turn off customers who are only partly interested in your product while a live chat immediately gives an opportunity for the brand to connect with the customer and even close the sale.
Customers love emails:
Email marketing is one of the most powerful methods to drive traffic to your website and as a customer service tool, it tops every other tool out there. It is highly preferred by customers since everyone uses email these days and the communication is recorded (read official) and is effective. Email also gives the brand an opportunity to add other messages and provide helpful links that could solve the customer’s problem immediately or direct them to an upsell or a cross-sell. A Forrester report says that Email also has the same catch that most other customer service tools have to deal with- customers expect immediate resolving of their issue. Zendesk says that 54% of consumers used email to deal with service issues in the year 2018. 75% of customers expect a resolution to their emails within a day.
Customers are highly demanding these days and rightly so- because there are a lot of businesses they could choose from. When you don’t answer their questions in real-time, you are potentially driving them out to your competitors. Engaging with your customers in real-time helps you gauge their emotions and the chances of converting a sale is extremely high. Live chats, chatbots and phone calls help you provide real-time answers for your customers.
Reward your executives for work well done:
Motivating your employees to work better is as important as devising strategies to make your customers stay with you. Giving them the right impetus with any kind of reward will only boost their sense of accomplishment and self-worth, thus helping them to serve customers better. You can do this by creating a system where there is a clear guideline as to what is expected from them, issue milestones and even tell them about how they would be rewarded.
Make sure that all customer interactions are recorded so that they can be tracked and reviewed at intervals. Please do remember that the reward doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary, but it could include a variety of other things like coupons, dinner outings, travel vouchers and so on.
Review customer interactions:
The amount of insights that you get from studying your customer interactions is priceless as it not only helps you improve your service but also understand the areas that you need to get better as a business. Getting feedback from your clients is one of the most effective ways to run your business. Companies that always have their ears on the ground to get inputs from its customers will be the only ones thriving in this ultra-competitive time.
There are multiple avenues through which your customers can reach out to you. Make sure that if you get a complaint in one forum, it is discussed and resolved there itself without any hiccups. It makes no business sense to find the same issue for your customer being mentioned in another forum. It adds to the chaos and the customer is already frustrated by then.
Be empathetic to your customers:
Understanding and acknowledging that an issue faced by your customer is a big deal to them is the first step towards providing proper customer service. Technology has improved so much over the years, but the kindness of your customer service executive in empathizing with the travails of your customer will go a long way in keeping them happy and stay longer with you. A rude word or an irate response can bring down your company’s reputation and revenue. No one wants that.
Sure, a script to talk to your customers is necessary to resolve problems quickly but the foundation of empathy and understanding cannot be taught. The business needs to create such a culture to facilitate meaningful conversations with your customers.
Do not dole out senseless replies that are devoid of any emotion. Ask your customer service executives to talk to your customers in a way they feel they are heard and that the customer matters.
Provide all the data to your customers:
While it is extremely smart to provide your customers with various tools to contact you, the average person wants to solve their problem from their end itself. A Zendesk report says that more than 50% of customers would like to solve issues themselves. This is where you need to create a lot of documentation which has hordes of advice on how to navigate when a situation arises. These customers are happy reading documents instead of engaging with your customer service team. What would that mean? Lesser time spent for your executives. You could have a series of content in the form of videos, FAQ section with clear cut instructions or PDFs with information that can get their issue resolved.
Provide frequent updates:
Your customers know that on the other side is a business that is run by humans and that mistakes are bound to happen. Expect this level of empathy from your customers when the business is transparent and apprises of any hiccups from your side. Research says that customers are even all right with longer wait times, the only catch is that they expect to be provided with updates. When they are well informed, they are happy that they are being acknowledged.
Find out customer’s preferred channels:
Not all businesses are the same, and therefore, most customers are different although you can bracket them into personas which makes it easy for targeting. Understanding where you can find most of your customers helps you to chart relevant strategies. Add more manpower to areas where you think your customers have the highest attendance.
Omnichannel service is not only about being available to your customers in one or two avenues but in multiple forums to provide the best of customer experiences. Once you figure out the best channel for customers to reach out to you, the process to solve your customer’s issues becomes much more efficient.
There are very few decisions that are as bad as a terrible hiring process, in a business. A single employee can pull down the entire spirit of a company. All those individuals that are the part of a business should be able to work together with other individuals, share insights with them and behave amicably with everyone.
When you hire a team member, make sure that they understand the company’s goals, values, mission and the future that has been envisioned. Spelling out the above points will attract the right candidates and the ones who don’t align with your values might not be interested in taking up your offer.
Allow your potential employees to take a walk around the office, let them interact with your employees and see if they would like to work with the team. The interactions between them will help and give more clarity to the potential hire.
Your business might have run some of the best social media campaigns, have a highly optimized website, consistently creates a kick-ass content calendar and boasts of a marketing team that is the best at what it does, but if all of these don’t work in tandem, you are missing out on leveraging the power of omnichannel experience. Using all the above to engage with the customers in a way that they are having a seamless experience helps with the marketing efforts substantially. For businesses that are trying to convert more customers, omnichannel marketing is the way to go and there are no ifs and buts about that.
For businesses that want to be profitable and be remembered for their extreme adherence to keeping their customers happy, omnichannel customer service is the solution. Train your employees well to give the best experience possible for the customers who come to you with an issue. Also keep in mind that no matter how much you integrate all the channels, all the difference will be made by a distinctive human touch. Be honest and transparent in all the dealings with your customers and they will reward you with loyalty and referrals.
Guest Blogger at SurveySparrow
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Originally published at https://surveysparrow.com on June 22, 2019.