It’s the new norm for customers to be able to be in contact with your company through a variety of channels. But they also want be able to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the same conversation on another. Say a customer orders a pizza on their laptop, checks real-time updates (e.g. the order’s been received, the pizza’s on its way) via text on their smartphone, and calls the number provided if they need to speak to a customer service rep about a problem with the order. Omni-channel support — a multichannel approach that provides a customer with a seamless experience across all devices — is the solution to this now commonplace desire.
The end-to-end responsibility of great Customer Experience
According to Forrester Research, Walgreens found that 35 percent of its mobile visits are by customers who are in-store at the time. For Walgreens, this realization jumpstarted the opportunity to create multi-touchpoint digital experiences for their customers. Modern Customer Experience teams have a new responsibility to deliver not only great experiences, but also complete ones — meaning, engaging with customers using their preferred variety of channels from start to finish on any single transaction.
Why has omni-channel support become so important to organizations? For one thing, we have greater access to useful customer data than ever before. And with great data comes great responsibility. Forrester tells us that customers:
- Focus on what they want, not what’s available. As Forrester puts it, “Customers know that they have choices — but also know that different choices generate different arrangements of convenience and cost to them.” For instance, a repeatedly out-of-stock item at their local home goods chain may frustrate a customer. But frustrations aren’t only directed at the retailer; they’re also directed at the manufacturer. It makes sense: having the resources to gauge what products customers want and how to deliver them most economically is critical to businesses.
- Interact with all channels throughout their journey. As a consumer, there are few experiences more frustrating or futile than getting caught playing the telephone game with a call center, having to repeat the same problem to multiple customer service reps or having the message get lost in translation. Accessible, shared customer data is the key to creating seamless Customer and Worker Experiences.
- Transact in multiple channels. According to Forrester, 70 percent of U.S. online consumers state that they buy products online and pick them up in-store. Customers vary the channels in which they buy and interact with brands, so companies today need to offer fast, low-hassle service on a variety of channels and enable those channels to provide a consistent (and consistently great) Customer Experience.
Omni-channel support isn’t just a fancy term for giving the people what they want. It’s a futuristic, all-inclusive method of efficient buying, selling, and engagement for businesses, workers, and customers.
To learn more about omni-channel support and how to employ multichannel means for your business, read our ebook, The Digital Customer Experience Strategy Guide.