7 Omnichannel Customer Service Best Practice Tips
Today’s consumers have way more power and are way more demanding. If you intend to impress them and convert them to customers, you need to have impeccable customer service. That is why you need omnichannel customer service.
What is omnichannel customer service?
Omnichannel customer service aims to deliver a seamless brand experience across channels. So, when customers switch between different channels, from text to social, and from email to instant messaging, they will still experience the same quality of service.
Why is omnichannel customer service important?
There is real value in perfecting omnichannel integration, both for your business as well as for your customer. According to a survey conducted by Aspect Software, businesses that adopt these strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates, in comparison to businesses that do not. A 2013 research from Accenture confirms it, by indicating that 89% of consumers experience frustration at having to repeat their questions to multiple customer service reps.
By adopting an omnichannel customer service approach you can serve your clients in a variety of ways that are not only convenient and effective but also boost your brand’s image, credibility, profitability, and business growth.
Tips for adopting an omnichannel customer service approach
1. Think mobile first
More people are searching and buying using mobile devices and they also seek customer service support through their mobiles. Think responsive and across devices. If your website is not optimized for usage on mobile or other devices, you will likely drive away a lot of potential customers. The reason is simple. 87% of customers use mobile devices to make purchases and often complain that customer service via mobile is unsatisfactory. Most businesses are not doing their part, as 90% of customers say their customer service experience on mobile was negative, while 52% of them say that a poor mobile experience makes them less inclined to do business with a company.
Make sure your website is optimized for mobile usage and across devices. Responsive design allows your customers to access your website in any format, whether it be a mobile, a tablet, or a desktop computer.
Allowing for responsive website design facilitates customers in contacting your business and enables them to do so from the comfort of their preferred communication device, their mobile, resulting in an optimized customer experience that keeps them returning to your business.
2. Be where your customers are
To provide top-notch customer service you have to be where your customers are. Consult relevant data which will tell you which platforms your customers often use. Keep in mind that 90% of customers look forward to consistent interactions across channels.
Effective omnichannel customer support does not limit the company and its customers to one or two channels. It allows multiple channels to work together to provide impactful customer experiences throughout the customer’s journey.
Look at your history of customer contact – and in particular, look at where the longest response times are. For example, you may discover that you need to change your team structure to place a bigger emphasis on emails rather than calls. Once you figure out which channels work best and for what purpose, the process becomes more efficient.
3. Improve your response time across all channels
Most customers expect (and demand) speedy replies and resolutions. It is important to try to meet these expectations. According to research, 39% of individuals anticipate a 1-hour response time via social media; however, businesses respond after 5 hours, on average. Another study from Call Centre Helper shows that only 12% of customer service managers focus on responding quickly to customer concerns. A Forrester 2016 survey indicates that 41% of customers expect a response via email within a 6-hour time frame, while most businesses respond at least 24 hours from receiving the email.
Make sure you improve your response time across all channels to keep your customers happy. The use of autoresponders can help you in this, keeping up with customer inquiries via SMS, email and social media.
4. Enable self-service to empower your customers
Another way to increase the speed and quality of your customer service is to have fewer queries to reply to. This can be achieved by making it easier for customers to help themselves, through a self-service method.
Many customers love looking for answers on their own. Nearly three-quarters of consumers prefer to use a business’ website to find a solution vs. other service channels. Being able to lookup an answer and fix the problem on their own time without having to contact a customer service representative makes it really convenient. The least you can do for them is to make the information available in the most accessible way. There are many ways you can cater to them. Create FAQs sections, PDFs, white papers, user manuals, instructional videos, or even going as far as opening an online discussion board to help customers immediately answer questions and find solutions, without the added cost. Empowering your customers is a great way to save time and resources, while also serving the customers’ needs.
To add to this, self-service options take off a huge amount of workload from your customer support team, which may lead to happier employees and better customer performance.
Based on a study by Oracle and Forrester, online self-service can decrease the cost by 11 dollars per call.
5. Hire the right people
A critical component of impeccable customer service is the people behind your company’s customer care team. No matter what you read here, if your customer team is not the right fit and able to carry out your customer service strategy, then all of these tips are practically useless. This is exactly why the hiring and recruitment process is crucial to a solid omnichannel customer service strategy.
Before hiring a member to join your customer support team, you should clearly define your company goals, culture, and values, to attract the right candidates. According to a study conducted by the Society for Human Resource and Management, hiring by poor culture fit can cost an organization between 50% to 60% of a person’s annual salary. This can definitely reflect on your company’s customer experience, especially when the wrong employees interact with customers.
6. Keep cross-platform information
There is nothing more frustrating for customers than having to be bounced between departments and platforms while having to repeat their issues over and over again. Tracking and analyzing the online customer journey gives you great insight into understanding what your customer is struggling with and enables you to improve knowledge management across platforms and teams. According to an Aberdeen Group report, companies that provide consistent service across platforms retain 89% of their customers.
You can support the omnichannel experience by implementing software that integrates all channels, which are part of your efforts, making it easier for agents to keep track of customer concerns and issues while streamlining the customer service handling process.
7. Μake real-time resolution easy
Customers are trying to get their problems solved quickly and they love quick-resolve routes. According to CCW Digital’s recent customer experience study, 70% of customers demand resolutions on the first contact. Text messaging, web chat, social messaging, and automated assistants (chatbots) help you provide instant responses to routine queries and thus, increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty in the process.
Live chat or chatbots are a very popular form of customer service, with 63% of visitors being more likely to revisit a site that offers live chat and 44% of customers reporting that being able to get answers to their questions during a purchase is one of the most important features a website should offer.
Besides being an effective channel for customer service, live chat can also improve sales. As customer support agents walk customers through a process, they may identify products or services that would be useful to them.
Transform your customer service
Offering efficient and reliable customer service to your customers across all channels benefits your business. Omnichannel customer service is the key. Put in action the above-mentioned best practices to successfully meet your customer service goals and boost your revenue. With the right customer service technology, talent, and strategies, you can transform your business performance. Always keep in mind that you can select an intelligent omnichannel platform to transform and improve your customer service experience by seamlessly communicating with your customers via SMS, email, messaging apps, voice and number services.