Today’s customer service market is an omni-channel world. No organization can limit itself to a single communications channel anymore — not if they want to engage customers how and when the typical consumer is ready to communicate. The fact is, businesses need to deliver seamless, omni-channel customer experiences to truly succeed in the modern environment.
Five Stats On Why Multi-channel Customer Service is On the Rise
In the eCommerce world, multi-channel customer service is becoming a mainstay, especially since people have come to depend on online shopping over the last 18 months of being stuck at home. Studies show that the average consumer often does their initial research on their phone, utilizing chat or social media to reach out for information on a brand, then move on to an online purchase via their computer.
Stats on the omni-channel experience substantiate these claims:
Furthermore, research indicates that for many customers, voice is a last resort. They’re relying instead on email, SMS, or web chat to meet their needs. Research from SmallBizTrends shows that 54% of consumers want to receive text messages for business purposes. Yet Pew Research’s data from 2020 shows that only 39% of organizations have taken the hint and added text messaging as a way to reach consumers. This translates to a window of opportunity for managed service providers to deliver contact center solutions with proficient omni-channel capabilities. Those partners stand to dramatically improve customer engagement for their business customers in the process.
Elevating Customer Service Through Integrated Omni-channel Experiences
Even though multi-channel communication is becoming increasingly accepted in contact center environments, this capability alone doesn’t ensure that customers have a more fluid communications experience. Truth be told, there’s a significant difference between a multi-channel communication and a true, seamless omni-channel experience.
“In a multi-channel environment, the user has access to a variety of communication options that aren’t necessarily synchronized or connected,” confirmed customer experience expert Clint Fontanella. “However, during an omni-channel experience, there aren’t just multiple channels; the channels are connected so you can move between them seamlessly.” The key to creating this seamless, unified omni-channel experience is having a contact center solution that bridges all of the many channels through which a customer might interact, and makes moving between them truly seamless.
If channels are not coordinated through a streamlined, unified interface, users may meet with greater delays, knowledge gaps, and frustrations as they struggle to keep current with messages across disparate platforms. Consumers will be left toggling between channels, waiting for agents to locate and respond to their most recent messages. And workers may miss important details, for instance, when a colleague sends an initial message on a chat platform but follows-up via email.
The Omni-Channel Difference: Better Experiences From Beginning to End
True integrated omni-channel communications creates a friction-free journey for customers, one where agents are educated about past transactions and purchases and have fluid access to the resources and tools they need to answer questions and resolve issues — no matter what type of channel those customers choose. For instance, a technical service inquiry can move swiftly from an initial note on a social media messaging platform, to a video chat where the customer shares footage of the device or product they're looking to support. Or a consumer can gather product information on a web site, ask a question via live chat on their PC, then revive the conversation via mobile chat while comparison shopping at a brick-and-mortar mall.
In addition, integration with back-end platforms such as CRM systems can create another crucial advantage for users, allowing agents to seamlessly guide the customer’s journey across a variety of channels while maintaining information about that customer’s long-term buying history. The ability for agents to easily access a customer’s records throughout an engagement, all on the same platform, can contribute tremendously to a richer and more satisfying experience.
Businesses are learning that if they can’t connect to their customers wherever they may be, using the preferred platform-of-the-moment, then considerable opportunities will be missed. It’s the role of the managed services provider to deliver an integrated suite of solutions that not only incorporate multi-channel capabilities, but create a unified, omni-channel experience to accommodate this trend. An integrated communications ecosystem will allow users to manage those channels as if they were one. In this way, managed services providers can support more satisfying and efficient customer engagements for the businesses they serve.
To learn more about how Contact Center solutions can empower agents to deliver the best possible customer experience (for both traditional and non-traditional contact centers), download our exclusive Frost & Sullivan white paper.