What You Need to Know About Omnichannel

Today’s customers expect omnichannel customer service. But what really does that mean? How is omnichannel customer service different from (or: better than?) multichannel customer service? Here’s the basics on what’s what between “multi” and “omni” – and why you should care.

Looking at year-over-year industry statistics from the yearly Dimension Data Customer Experience Benchmarking, the number of channels supported has been growing steadily between 2015 and 2017. That is not surprising because the number of channels we use to interact with family, friends or colleagues in our personal life has been growing steadily, too. The main reason for this is that digital channels such as email, chat, mobile apps, text / SMS, and social messaging are ubiquitous today. Your smartphone or tablet or laptop give you access to any of those channels anywhere, anytime.

Since we all use many different channels to interact in our personal life, it makecustomer s sense that we expect to do the same when we interact with companies. Customer service must support many (“multi”) channels because that is what customers expect. But today, a growing number of customers want you to not only support all (or “omni”) channels, but also the ability to move between those channels in a single interaction – with minimal effort.

Multiple channels are great – but not every channel is the best fit for every situation. Customers may start an interaction by initiating a chat on your website, but it turns out that the issue is more complex than expected, so they need to talk. With multichannel, the customer would have to end the chat session, then call in to speak to a live agent. They will have to spend time and effort repeating everything they already discussed during their chat interaction because the agent may not have any context from that chat session. In addition, you lose reporting continuity – rather than having a single interaction record for the issue handled across two channels, you have two separate records that are not “connected” as part of the same actual interaction. Definitely not a good customer, agent or business experience.

With Omnichannel Customer Service, the two interactions – chat and phone call – are part of one customer session. With CXone, the agent could call the customer with the chat interaction still active. They can clarify on the phone what needs to be done, and the agent could even send a confirmation email that would be tied to the same session – and the same interaction record. This is just one example of how omnichannel customer service can empower your contact center to provide a superior customer experience across all channels (voice and digital) – take a look at the video on this page for a firsthand impression of the difference omnichannel handling makes for the customer experience. And since customer experience is the number one competitive differentiator, omnichannel customer service is definitely a key ingredient in a winning recipe.

Recent NICE CXone research documents consumer demand for this kind of unified, omnichannel customer service approach. Interestingly, even though businesses aren’t typically delivering it, 9 in 10 consumers expect a seamless experience when moving from one communication channel to another, such as phone to text, chat to phone or social messaging to phone. At the same time, our research also indicates that only 24% of businesses globally give themselves an excellent rating on allowing customers to switch seamlessly between methods of communication – do you think there’s room for improvement?

Empower your contact center to provide a unified experience across agent-assisted and self-service, voice and digital, and inbound and outbound channels with NICE CXone. Omnichannel customer service makes it easier for your customer to interact with you, easier for your agents to deliver a better experience, and easier for your business to drive better results.

See for yourself how a true omnichannel approach can help to provide a better customer experience.