Omnichannel Customer Support: Reach Your Customers Where They Are

multichannel-customer-support

Remember, back in the day, when you simply picked up the phone to voice a concern or to resolve an issue? You’d likely take a seat at the kitchen table as you waited to speak to a customer service representative, knowing full well you’d be camped out until the issue was addressed because the phone cord could only stretch so far.

These days, thanks to the influx of digital and mobile channels, customers expect to be able to reach companies anytime – and from anywhere. In fact, 89% of participants in a recent customer preference study indicated they wanted choices for how they could contact companies; 79% were frustrated with their available customer support options.

So how can contact centers provide omnichannel support to customers who are increasingly demanding it? Here’s a look at a few ways:

  • 360 Degree View of the Customer

Another study, which resulted in the “U.S. Contact Center Decision-Makers’ Guide 2014” from ContactBabel, indicates that newer customer communication channels such social, mobile, web chat, etc. will become increasingly important in the future. “Businesses have to accept that they need to develop an ‘omnichannel’ approach, as that’s what their customers are doing,” the report states. “This means that the pressure to unify the view of the customer across channels is a challenge that isn’t going to go away.”

By adopting a 360 degree view of the customer, companies can determine not only how customers prefer to communicate, but can also be ready to respond accordingly. In today’s social media era, where customers are quick to draw negative attention to companies via tweets, Facebook updates, etc., these real-time insights can prove critical.

  • Consider Messaging from a Customer Viewpoint

While it’s important to maintain a single view of the customer in order to drive greater customer visibility across channels, it’s equally important to consider messaging from the perspective of the customer. What’s, in fact, keeping some organizations behind the eight-ball is the failure to consider messaging from the customer standpoint, says Corinne Sklar, chief marketing officer at Bluewolf, Inc., in a TechTarget article.

Sklar notes that turning a call center into an engagement hub involves taking individual customer preferences into account (as opposed to simply hiring more customer service agents to reduce call times). “Younger customers [may] prefer to use a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to customer service by searching user forums,” she says. “But this approach may not involve direct contact with the company, making it more difficult to identify and remedy questions.”

  • Capture Customer Interactions Across Channels

Because the best multichannel customer experiences are those that offer customers a seamless transition between channels, it’s critical to capture customer conversations across channels. By not doing so, companies run the risk of making customers repeat information they may have already provided to different agents, which can prove damaging to the overall customer experience.

Omnichannel speech analytics solutions can help call centers forecast and schedule properly for each different channel by identifying broken processes and improving agent performance across channels. By monitoring and analyzing customer interactions across channels, these solutions can help identify what customers want, which can ultimately improve the customer experience.

Final Thoughts

In today’s fast-paced digital world, customer expectations of companies are skyrocketing. NewVoiceMedia research shows nearly three-quarters (73%) of customers surveyed are prepared to stand up for quality customer service. The business imperative for organizations, as a result, is to determine what customers want as quickly and efficiently as possible – and respond accordingly.

 

Image Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/kaan tanman