For companies today, their customers are increasingly demanding and prefer to engage with brands digitally. This creates a problem for companies as the range of digital communication channels is expanding exponentially.
Whether via FB Messenger, WhatsApp for business, social media posts, live chat, video calls or SMS, the number of ways that customers prefer to engage with companies is extensive. The great challenge for a business is not only to be accessible in all communication channels but also to deliver an integrated and consistent level of service to customers.
Omni-channel customer service allows a company to integrate all communication methods to project a unified brand experience so customers can seamlessly switch between digital channels whilst still enjoying an excellent level of service throughout.
Building the capability to provide omni-channel customer support will both enhance a company’s image and credibility as it serves customers in both convenient and effective ways.
The most successful companies can deliver consistent communication to their customers across all the brand’s different communication channels, avoiding any situations where customers repeat their enquiries. Customers get frustrated at having to repeat questions to different customer service agents and it is detrimental to the brand.
If you want to emulate companies that provide excellent communication, there are omni-channel best practice tips that you should consider. We will now cover what we consider the most important areas.
People both buy and search on mobile, it is logical that they also expect a company to offer full customer support across mobile. Studies have found that up to half of customers are less likely to deal with a company if they have a poor mobile experience.
Recurring customer complaints about their mobile interaction with a company revolve around company websites not being optimised for mobile. Complaints include navigation difficulty, the display not appearing correctly, slow load times and search results that are not helpful.
Your company can provide excellent customer service through mobile by:
A popular type of customer service engagement online is through live chat. Convenience and low hold times are two of the main reasons that customers like live chat. The ability to help a customer rapidly and in a convenient manner reduces customer irritation; statistics have shown that over half of website visitors are more likely to revisit a website that has live chat capability.
Some live chat software also allows for the escalation of web chat conversations to both voice and video calls. It is a useful feature when a conversation becomes more complex and a chat conversation clearly proving slower to resolve than transferring to a video call.
As well as customer service, live chat can also improve company sales as agents are able to run through, identify or upsell a product or service.
An increasing number of customers are looking to self-service to be able to resolve issues themselves without the need to use a customer support team.
Customers that are prepared to self-serve are valuable for a business as they take the least amount of resources. If the self-serve documentation and videos are excellent customers will be happy to use them meaning self-service becomes the new customer service.
If customers are unable to find a solution to their problem, having high quality documentation available still serves to enhance the customer experience.
To facilitate the self-service experience, it is good practice to ensure:
Every click, tap, or swipe by a customer on a web browser or mobile app can be tracked. It provides companies with a broad insight of difficulties a customer may have engaging with the company.
If, for example, a customer is requesting documentation through one channel, they would not be pleased if they were asked to request the documentation again through another channel.
There are ways to track customer interactions across all your digital channels to ensure excellent customer service:
Customer expectations can be high when it comes to social media. For companies, it can be a great customer service tool with high customer satisfaction rates if they can provide fast responses and turn-around times to client requests.
Statistics indicate that increasing speed of response results in a positive experience for the customer. In fact, slow responses to social media posts on Twitter and Facebook are regarded even more negatively than if a company does not reply at all.
In customer service, email is still considered a relevant form of communication as it can resolve many customer queries and is easy to manage. CRM systems today make email management simple as they provide email automation workflows that can greatly cut down on the work of customer service agents.
Best practice techniques to use email automation workflows to provide excellent customer service include:
In an extensive customer service system, it can be difficult to keep on top of customer service quality and keep it at a high standard. Offering internal rewards for customer service agents can be a useful way to maintain great customer service.
Although an older form of customer engagement, texting is still an extremely versatile customer service platform for many sectors and is used anywhere from making restaurant bookings to sending out appointment reminders.
Research has shown that 90% of all received text messages are read within the first 3 minutes of receipt and a total of 99% of all texts are read. As a customer service channel, it is millennials and Gen-Z that use text as a means of engagement whilst shunning telephone calls and voice mail.
As well as being a fast means of communication, SMS is also a unique marketing channel due to its lack of dependence on an internet connection means its reach is far wider than other digital channels.
It all points to SMS as still being a central channel for omni-channel customer communication.
Both live chat and phone support are good starting places for providing initial customer support. However, with both these communication methods, agents are still asking you questions like whether you are on the website and what you are able to see.
Co-browsing gives customer service agents the ability to support customers when customers can co-browse on a device with the agent and point out the issues they are having.
The ability for customer service agents to co-browse is essential in many customer support scenarios. Agents are better able to help customers when they can show agents what is happening on their device.
How your business undertakes customer service can affect the success of the brand and bottom line revenue. It is not enough to just build the capability to handle digital communication from customers across the digital spectrum. By also successfully employing omni-channel customer service you will boost the performance of your company.