Let’s start simple…
- Multichannel customer service means using multiple channels to service your customers
- Omnichannel customer service means using multiple channels to deliver a connected seamless experience to your customers, with consistency across channels
Omnichannel customer experience doesn’t question all channels vs some channels, but rather which channels. Which channels are right (aka preferred) by your customers, and the experience they expect on those channels drives how you manage them. Do you know what your customers expect?
What is a channel anyway? A channel is any method you offer your customers to interact with your company. They can call, they can write (an email, an SMS, social media… or yes, even a letter), they can visit (a store, a bank branch, a kiosk). An omnichannel experience provides a consistent, connected experience, seamlessly across any one or more of these channels – every time – for a seamless, informed, customer journey.
“Informed” omnichannel customer service is when you gather and leverage all possible data and information across every step of your customers journey. Maybe location, social history, past purchases, or even current mood. These are breadcrumbs that help you learn and inform from start to finish. Use that data to feed both the customer and agent experience. This context helps minimize effort on both sides and ensures the fastest resolution possible – across whichever channels come into play before, during or after the interaction.
Omnichannel is a shift in perspective. A shift in plan. It revolves around customer centricity, and this is what is driving the digital and customer experience transformations we see customer focused companies of every size embarking on today.
Customers today expect to be able to move from one channel to another in the middle of a single interaction (aka Omnichannel).
-> shop online -> ask question via chat -> launch a web collaboration session from chat -> speak to agent -> make purchase -> get SMS shipping notifications
-> call for service -> add video -> receive email confirmation
You get the idea, right? Everything, EVERYTHING is connected. To the customer these are single interactions, your customer doesn’t care about your technology and information silos, or that your agents have the right tools, and why should they?
Omnichannel customer service has significant benefits including increased revenues, lower cost of sale, more satisfied customers and therefore higher Net Promotor Score (NPS), quick response to customer demands, higher engagement, better data, and faster/better ROI. Not to mention customer convenience, leading to higher loyalty, through an experience and service focused engagement model.
Do you know which channels you can focus on in beginning to embark on your customer journey transformation to omnichannel customer service? Take a look at our new CX Transformation Benchmark to see which channels can help you improve NPS and how consumers are engaging across channels today based on preference.