Today’s consumers interact with brands across multiple channels, from websites to brick-and-mortar stores, social media, chatbots, call centers, and more. The challenge for companies is delivering a consistent, contextual experience at every touchpoint and across every channel throughout the customer journey. That’s where omnichannel technology comes in.
By leveraging omnichannel technology, companies can aggregate data from multiple channels, enabling customer service representatives to quickly understand the context of a customer’s inquiry based on previous interactions. The result is faster response times, improved first contact resolution rates, and overall better customer service experiences.
For instance, tools like multi-channel speech and text analytics analyze every interaction your agents have with customers across phone, email, chat, social media, and even customer surveys, providing valuable insights into what your customers want and enabling you to optimize customer engagement at every step of the customer journey.
Learn how speech analytics can provide valuable omnichannel insights to improve the customer experience and boost satisfaction, download our whitepaper, Reduce Churn and Increase Customer Satisfaction with Speech Analytics.
To learn more about how companies can leverage omnichannel technology to enhance customer service and boost customer satisfaction and retention, we reached out to a panel of experts and asked them to answer this question:
“How can companies use omnichannel technology to improve customer service?”
Meet Our Panel of Customer Service Experts:
Read on to learn what our experts had to say about how your company can leverage omnichannel technology to improve customer service.
Shayne Sherman is the CEO of Techloris.
“Helpdesk software is a good investment for an organization looking to…”
Strengthen bonds, enhance loyalty, and observe an increase in CLV (customer lifetime value). Below are some significant benefits of helpdesk ticketing systems:
- Omnichannel support: Omnichannel support connects your help desk agents to clients over various channels. Inquiries, service requests, and refund issues are all handled in one inbox. This inbox can receive calls, direct messages from social media platforms, emails, and chats. As soon as a client assigns you a query, a ticket is created and is allocated to a helpdesk agent.
- Ticket allocation: Helpdesk ticketing systems help to eliminate the human element of ticket allocation to increase resolution rates. The helpdesk software lets you create folders for each department. Once you do this as soon as a ticket arrives that is targeted to a specific department, it is auto-assigned to the concerned helpdesk agent.
- Keyword based prioritization: While setting up folders for each department, you can designate keywords, subject lines, emails, or Facebook IDs as high priority. The helpdesk system then auto-tags the ticket before allocating it to the helpdesk agents.
Bruce Hogan is CEO of SoftwarePundit.
“At the foundational level, omnichannel is about the aggregation of customer data into a single, unified database…”
Making this complete dataset available to customer service representatives can have a material, positive impact on customer service.
The primary reason is that an omnichannel approach ensures that customer service representatives have the appropriate context for each customer interaction. When engaging with customers, it’s critical to know if they’ve recently had another issue, completed a survey, or made a large purchase. These data points should be leveraged by customer service representatives to make each customer feel like they are building a relationship with the organization, and that the organization is tailoring the customer experience based on previous learnings.
Carol Tompkins is the Business Development Consultant at AccountsPortal.
“Companies can use omnichannel technology to deliver personalized customer service experiences to each of their customers…”
Such experiences make the customer feel valued, understood, and cared for by the company.
Companies can also use omnichannel technology to cut down on their response time to customer queries and concerns. Keyword tracking across the company’s socials can help ensure that customer service never misses a customer’s comment or question on social media regarding the company.
Amara is the CEO of Book Learn Pass.
“Savvy companies can use omnichannel technology to boost their revenue by…”
Offering discounts to customers that have dropped off towards the end of the purchasing journey. Customer service agents can send discounts via SMS to customers that have abandoned their basket at checkout with products still in it. This is especially useful and effective if the customer was shopping on mobile.
Live chat is a must-have communication touchpoint for most businesses. Live chat can be used to walk customers through set-up, to explain documentation, and provide a support function for different areas of the business. Omnichannel technology can then be used to track and follow up on all chat conversations, using the customer’s preferred method of communication.
Shiv Gupta is the CEO of Incrementors.
“Focus on mobile based service and social media…”
If you run a company and can’t offer an uncompromised post on mobile, you will face the wrath of frustrated clients. Today’s market prioritizes convenience, and mobile phones are the most common easy-access media. In fact, 87% of customers actually use mobile tools for shopping and often complain that customer service via mobile is unsatisfactory.
Collectively, social media, email, and chat comprise 47 percent of the customer care channels now supported. This shows that providing an excellent omnichannel experience is no longer optional, but absolutely essential to ensure businesses do not fall behind the competition. Social media can be a great customer service tool. However, many brands fail to recognize customers’ expectations when it comes to providing customer service through social listening.
Edgar Arroyo is the President of SJD Taxi.
“Omnichannel technology can help companies offer support via a customer’s preferred channels, including social media and online chat…”
The customer journey now involves both offline and online channels. For example, a customer who walks into a shop to browse products may then go online to conduct more detailed research before buying. Using omnichannel technology can help companies ensure they are meeting their customers’ needs at each touchpoint to increase sales and reduce abandoned carts.
Omnichannel technology can also collect information about the customer across multiple touchpoints so that companies have a full understanding of the customer. This allows them to deliver highly personalized customer experiences where they can be proactive in making recommendations that are highly relevant to the customer and improve customer service.
Kevin Lee is the CEO of JourneyPure.
“An increasing number of customers want to be able to solve their issues themselves by looking up information…”
Using omnichannel technology to make more information available for customers to find solutions can improve customer service, as customers know more even if they have to call in for a solution.
Texting customers alerts can also improve customer service so that customers can take action promptly. Live chat can also ensure that customers have their questions answered quickly before they make a purchase or when they have a problem with the product or service.
Nathan Sebastian is a Content Marketer with GoodFirms.
“Omnichannel technology is a multiple-channel sales approach that offers customers a heightened customer experience…”
Customers can shop online from devices like a desktop, smartphone, or telephone or in a brick-and-mortar store. Omnichannel technology will help make the customer experience seamless irrespective of the device or platform they are using.
Here are some ways companies can use omnichannel technology:
- Be impossible to miss: A majority of internet users are using navigation systems like Google Maps. Make sure that your website and Google My Business page offer this tool, so it becomes easy for the customers to locate your physical store locations.
- Ensure a seamless shopping experience: A significant number of customers use more than one device while shopping or searching for things online. For instance, in the case of online shopping sites, make sure that customers’ wish lists or baskets are synced with their accounts so that their information will be available whenever they login on any device.
- Bridge the digital gap: Consistent service between digital channels and physical stores is necessary. Features like easy returns and delivery to a wide range of locations will encourage customers to keep coming back to your brand.
Olesia Melnichenko is a content writer at HelpCrunch.
“Omnichannel customer service is now gaining traction…”
To make the most of it, there are various options:
- Offer mobile-based support: Make all your FAQs, self-service resources, and other materials available on mobile, make your customer support button easy to see in an app, and make customer service links available with a single tap.
- Choose live chat assistance: Adopt reliable software so that you can provide timely and professional assistance. To streamline your support processes and save yourself a lot of time, create canned responses and send them when customers ask repeated questions.
- Enable self-service resources: Given that customers are now more tech-savvy than ever, they want to find answers by themselves. Create a well-thought-out resource hub, such as a knowledge base, and include how-to videos, guiding materials, and other visuals. This way, customers can find valuable info faster.
- Set up an email automation workflow: Consider email automation as one of your most important weapons. Emails are still popular these days; it’s all about how you use them.
- Take advantage of customer behavior data: Use tracking software or CRM to better monitor customers’ actions on a website. You can also use the data to anticipate customer needs.
Valerie is the MarTech and CX Observer at Iflexion.
“Companies can make use of the AI capabilities of omnichannel technologies that…”
Provide customer service agents with powerful tools for improving customer experience and making agents’ lives much easier.
For instance, chatbots can become an additional communication channel for the connected customer. Chatbots can cover basic and frequently asked questions and switch users to an agent once the user requests a live agent or the situation warrants it. Chatbots can also be used for automating routine operations, such as password reset, order status checking, or changing a subscription plan. Chatbots are available 24/7, so they can assist users beyond agents’ working hours and forward open issues to agents once they are online.
Be careful, though, to make customers aware of the fact they’re communicating with a robot. It allows them to ask to connect with a real person right away in case they are not comfortable conversing with chatbots or formulate full and clear questions to give the chatbot more chances to understand and help.
Michael Miller is the CEO of VPN Online.
“Companies can use omnichannel technology to create a seamless connection on whatever platform the customer chooses…”
For example, with omnichannel, the customer can start an interaction by using a chatbot from the website from their computer. The customer stops because they need to go to the grocery store or run some errands. While traveling, the customer opens their smartphone and tweets the same company to continue discussing the issue. Eventually, after the incident has been resolved, the company can engage the customer via email for feedback and comments.
With omnichannel technology, customer service can quickly bring up the customer’s record to continue from where they left. This creates a seamless transition as if nothing has been interrupted, creating a memorable customer experience that leaves the customer with a positive impression of the company. Bringing a smile to a customer’s face, even amid a mountain of issues, can turn a customer from a potential detractor to a very satisfied promoter.
Ian Wright is the CEO of Bequests.
“Omnichannel technologies enable businesses to provide customer service in various ways, depending on where the customer is…”
To improve customer service experience, you must ensure that your website support pages are mobile-friendly and load faster. You must also have detailed and comprehensive FAQ pages. Likewise, your social media pages should have fast response rates to avoid customer frustrations with trying to reach out to you.
SMS, emails, and live chat support are still effective tools in engaging with customers directly and quickly. They haven’t lost their charm and convenience for many customers, so you must take advantage of that to provide quality customer service.
Will Ward is the CEO of Translation Equipment HQ.
“These days, companies need to leverage all channels available via mobile phones…”
That includes all social media applications, text messaging, email, toll-free phone calls, and live chat.
Companies should invest in a database that stores all customer interactions with your brand via all mediums. This is the only way to ensure that the customer experience is uniform. Having an updated database will help improve coordination between each customer support team. For example, if the call center support team has no idea what a customer emailed about yesterday, the customer will need to explain their problem again, creating a poor customer experience.
As creating a database is difficult, make use of applications like Acquire. You can get started with zero coding.
Deepak Shukla is the Founder and CEO of Pearl Lemon.
“With the pandemic in full swing, many businesses are looking to optimize customer service strategies via online platforms…”
Frustration with long phone queues and wait times is only growing due to companies having to
One way to improve customer service is through quality chatbots on your website. While these are by no means a replacement for human interaction, you can use them to direct the customer to an appropriate department. Chat helplines are a great way to resolve basic issues, and these can be operated by remote workers in a range of time zones with minimal hassle.
Andreas Johansson is a UX specialist.
“The key to using omnichannel technology properly is to serve (and be) where the customers already are…”
Meaning companies should look at the different touchpoints your customers interact with when they engage with your company.
One way to do so is to create a customer journey map through which you can visualize the different touchpoints throughout the whole customer lifecycle (from becoming aware of your company, to customer onboarding, to usage, to support), as well as the users’ needs and goals at each step.
A concrete example could be to offer helpdesk apps, a customer support call line, as well as a chat that all serve the same purpose – helping the user with product support throughout multiple channels.
Justin Nabity is the CEO at Physicians Thrive.
“Here are two ways companies can use omnichannel…”
- Live Chat for Priority Assistance: Customers want quick responses and interaction that is hassle-free, especially executives who have little time on hand. These customers should be made a priority.
You can employ live chat software that can provide omnichannel assistance to customers. Make sure the script you use does not sound robotic and makes the customer feel the human-human interaction.
- Focus on Mobile-based Service: Customers prioritize the accessibility of companies today, and this they get through mobile phones.
To make sure you are excelling at customer service via mobile, make sure your videos, documents, and FAQs are mobile-friendly.
When you place your customer service button on your mobile website/app landing page, make sure it is explicit. Make customer service links single-tap sensitive.
Courtney Quigley is a Reputation Consultant from Rize Reviews.
“According to one survey, 50 percent of customers prefer to fix their problems by themselves without needing to involve your customer service staff…”
It is important to appeal to those clients because they are the ones that can cost the least and turn decent pay-to-profit ratios for your customer support staff. Typically, these customers are happy dealing with self-serve FAQs, documents, and video material.
How to create optimized FAQs and documentation:
- Ensure that your FAQs are comprehensive but organized and easy to navigate.
- Create A/B tests for your FAQ and documentation landing pages so they can be optimized for the best design and ease-of-use.
- Hire the best copywriters to create killer copy that turns customers into returning customers by offering an excellent self-service experience.
Tasso Roumeliotis is the founder of Numa.
“While calling someone seems old school in our fast-paced digital world, most consumers still initiate their first contact with local businesses via phone after finding them online…”
Sixty percent, in fact. Yet, for many small business owners, more than half of all calls go unanswered, especially during peak times when staff and employees are at their busiest. Add to this the fact that 1 in 3 consumers will text a business expecting a reply but never receive one, simply because the number is not text-enabled. All these factors contribute to missed opportunities, lost revenue, and customer frustration.
Businesses across all industries can benefit from adding an omnichannel communication platform like Numa to their communication strategy, not only to ensure every call is answered, but also to improve customer service and provide more convenience, from appointment scheduling to sales and everything in between.
Caroline is the growth marketer and co-founder of CocoSign.
“Customer expectations are continually evolving as new and innovative channel solutions become available in the marketplace…”
Whether through traditional support channels (such as phone) or a new channel (like social media), customers expect a consistent, quality experience. This is projected to become even more important in coming years.
Meeting these expectations is possible through delivering superior experiences across all channels by employing industry-specific expertise and knowledge. In order to use omnichannel technology to improve your customer service, consider the following tips:
- Decentralize customer care delivery.
- Use multi-channel care delivery.
- Personalize the experience.
- Focus on the existing customer relationship.
- Mind the knowledge gap to increase loyalty.
Maria is a content creation enthusiast at Blast Sourcing.
“Omnichannel customer service integrates emails, texts, social, and instant messages to deliver a unified experience…”
It provides an amazing opportunity to serve customers in a number of effective ways that boost a brand’s credibility. There are several key aspects to consider when it comes to using
omnichannel technology to improve customer service.
First, people expect good mobile services. Nowadays, more and more people are searching and buying goods with the help of their smartphones, meaning that they want the same great experience with the brand from their mobile phones. According to a recent study, people are less inclined to continue doing business with a company with a poor mobile experience, so it is worth delivering exceptional customer service across different devices.
Second, response time matters. Social media has already proved a great customer service tool, improving customer retention and satisfaction. However, some brands fail to meet customer expectations when delivering customer service through social listening. While many brands keep their social pages alive and thriving, they forget to establish stable two-way communication with their customers, answering questions and addressing concerns. When brands reply to their customers faster, it not only reduces churn but also results in a more positive customer experience.
Third, emails still work, and they work well. While emails are not considered modern marketing tools, their efficiency hasn’t reduced, and they are still one of the most effective marketing tools for customer retention. Emails give brands opportunities to offer personalized messages and are still a secure way of communication that people trust. Over 40% of customers still address customer service concerns via emails. It is essential to remember, though, that as with social replies, people expect to receive an email response within the shortest period.
Omnichannel customer service is the solution for forward-thinking businesses. But it is important to always remember the human touch to tie it all together and maintain well-trained staff to address any customer concerns and deliver a positive brand image.
Dawn Gribble is the Founder & CEO of Virtual Solutions Global.
“So many people connect to businesses through the digital world, and making sure you have a presence on the channels that your customers visit is essential…”
If your customers like to spend their time on Instagram but you only have a Facebook page, you’re not going to attract their attention.
By having profiles on the major social media platforms, a responsive and easy to use website, and regularly updating them, you can actively connect and answer questions, respond to feedback, and gain insights about your audience that you can use in your marketing and sales campaigns.
Technology such as Hootsuite, Facebook Business Manager, etc. make it easy to monitor and manage multiple channels in one place, so you can upload your updates, schedule in advance, and prepare a posting calendar to better manage your campaigns.
Clay Parnell is the President and Managing Partner of The Parker Avery Group.
“While omnichannel capabilities have been increasing steadily over the past several years, the 2020 disruptions have put many solutions on the fast track for deployment…”
As prime examples, offering curbside pickup and BOPIS (by online, pick up in store) have gone from nice-to-have for convenience to critical for survival for many retailers in order to support shoppers who are not ready to return to normal in-store shopping.
Customers are increasingly shopping across multiple channels before making a buying decision, and retailers should be aware of these steps and aid in the journey to provide a positive experience with the brand and the product. Understanding a customer’s feedback through every interaction with the retailer is key to a lasting relationship.
Customer service at its core is finding the right product in a frictionless and pleasant buying experience. Good omnichannel capabilities let customers seamlessly shop across multiple channels, research and learn before buying, and have orders fulfilled in store, curbside, or via home delivery. Further, retailers must now increasingly account for online returns to physical stores. It’s important to keep this reverse cycle in mind to be able to manage and process returns in a similar positive manner.
To be successful in an omnichannel environment, it helps to have a unified approach to inventory, pricing, and customer service. Omnichannel solutions have tentacles into various other systems and data to determine inventory availability, inventory location, order promising, and pickup/delivery options. An indirect but very important capability is demand forecasting, which enables retailers to have the right levels of specific inventory by location over time. By ensuring the overall solution is able to provide accurate and detailed information in a timely manner, retailers will ensure their customers’ needs are met, and they will likely be loyal return shoppers, as well.
Augusto de Ezcurra D.
Augusto de Ezcurra D. is the Marketing & Communications Executive for GOSO.io.
“Customer service is not about you; it’s about understanding someone that comes to you…”
By implementing omnichannel technology, you can be in touch with as many customers as possible and deepen your connections with them by being present in the spaces where they spend most of their time.
You want to hear all of what your customers have to say about you. Sometimes, they’ll express their opinion without tagging you or messaging you directly. Every channel works differently. First, you need to analyze which platforms you should be considering, and then develop a strategy for each of them.
The whole purpose of being present on all relevant channels is to understand your customers (their needs, concerns, interests, etc.), how they feel, and what they think about your brand, products, or services. That is why omnichannel technology is crucial for any company looking to excel in customer service.
Sachin Bhatia is a co-founder of Ameyo.
“Today, voice and email sit at the core of a customer engagement strategy…”
But with the advent of social media platforms and the easy accessibility of the internet, we are seeing a massive shift in customer behavior, where the adoption of new-age channels is growing at a significant rate and will very soon match the levels of traditional media like voice and email.
Meeting customers where they are is becoming a new mantra for businesses, and an omnichannel technology platform makes that happen. There is a high focus on cross-channel personalization at scale, and companies are forced to rethink end customer experience.
Omnichannel technology enables brands to improve customer service as follows:
- Engage with customers on their preferred channel. Broaden the customer service presence from traditional voice and email to new age channels as WhatsApp Business, Google’s Business messages, Instagram, chat platforms, and messengers. Use a combination of channels as per your customers’ interests.
- Get a 360-degree view of the customer journey across channels. A real omnichannel customer experience is achieved when customer queries originating from different channels can be captured in one single view. This leads to the preservation of customer context and ensures a consistent customer experience across all channels.
- Make it easy for agents to serve across channels. Using a single omnichannel platform can shield brands from high IT and maintenance costs and integration challenges. A unified platform approach comes in handy when distributing your customer service workforce across real-time and non-real-time channels. Having separate tools for individual channels can quickly become overwhelming and affect customer service levels.
- Complement human interaction with AI to personalize and scale. Brands can now invest in conversational AI offerings such as chatbots and voicebots for personalized real-time engagement. Complementing AI with voice and conversational messaging channels can significantly reduce the first contact resolution rate and improve customer confidence in a brand. AI can play a significant role in serving lower complexity and repetitive service queries without human intervention.
Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls.
“Omnichannel is about creating a seamless experience for your customers regardless of channel or device…”
Consumers now engage with a company in a brick-and-mortar store, online or mobile app, by catalog, or via social media. They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their mobile smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Every piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary. For me, content and messaging are the key. If a customer has previously engaged or purchased your product or service, your marketing should reflect that. If a customer has put something into a cart but hasn’t yet purchased, use your content to reference that intent.
People use multiple devices during a single transaction process. Make sure that you are able to listen and respond to these interactions. E-commerce retailers should preserve items in a shopping cart across devices so that if a customer adds an item to their mobile shopping cart, it should still be in their shopping cart when they access the site on their desktop, for example. If a customer recently bought a pair of pants, omnichannel technology can recommend a great shirt or sweater to go with it. The goal is to provide better service to your customers, which should drive more sales.
How does your company leverage omnichannel technology to improve customer service?