When it comes to keeping your customers happy, you probably do everything you can to ensure they view your brand positively. You engage with them on social media, greet them with a smile when they walk through your door, and reinforce your customer service support team with as many tools as possible to keep the truck rolling along.
What is Omnichannel Customer Experience?
Omnichannel customer experience occurs when customers interact with brands with the channel (or channels) of their choice. They are able to switch channels seamlessly, which creates one continuous conversation between a brand and a customer.
Now that a majority of adults in the U.S. have regular access to a computer, cellphone or tablet, shoppers can contact brands via email, texting, site chat windows and even social media platforms. With the right tooling, these communications between shoppers and CX teams can jump from channel to channel, often picking up at one point where they left off elsewhere. For the customer service agent, it allows them to assist the same customer no matter which channel or mix of channels they use. An omnichannel customer service strategy integrates multiple touchpoints like:
Customer Experience Channels
Web: Where people likely first encounter your brand.
Voice: When people call to talk to a customer service or call center representative if they have a problem or question.
Digital: Where interactions on social media matter.
Email: The place people turn to when they’re not comfortable or don’t have time to talk on the phone.
Chat: A growing first choice of customers for all types of industries.
The idea behind an omnichannel customer service is to provide an integrated customer experience. When implemented correctly, the digital omnichannel experience creates loyal, engaged customers who feel heard. After all, we all want to feel like we’re being listened to, right?
Omnichannel vs Multichannel Customer Experience
“Omnichannel” and “Multichannel” are words that are often used interchangeably to describe customer service and contact centers. In reality, however, they create two very different customer support experiences. Multichannel contact center approaches tend to be very siloed. Take, for example, a customer who emails a company with a question about her order. She then wants to ask a clarifying question about the return policy over the phone. A multichannel contact center experience means that this customer will get two, separate interactions. The agent responding to her question about the return policy will not address her previous issue with her order. And how could they? If this agent only handles phone calls and sees nothing else, they can only respond to the present issue. If, on the other hand, this agent could see that she had emailed earlier about her order, the agent can ask her about her order, if it arrived and if it was satisfactory. This latter example is the power of an omnichannel customer experience.
In other words, multichannel customer touchpoints don’t “talk to each other” throughout the customer’s journey. In contrast, an omnichannel customer experience does exactly the opposite—it removes the silos, enabling customers to have multiple touchpoints with brands while maintaining the same conversation.
The obvious difference between omnichannel and multichannel contact centers is the barriers that customers might face in a multichannel strategy. The multichannel platform presents barriers that can cause customers frustration. Omnichannel communication enables customers to experience seamless interaction with a brand and that otherwise exists with multichannel platforms.
Why is it Important to Provide an Omnichannel Customer Experience?
Customers want a seamless experience as they switch between channels (or even between in-person and contact center support). Did you know that 76% of customers expect agents to see interactions across multiple platforms? If you don’t have solid omnichannel customer service strategies in place, you’re likely in the 81% of companies that are failing to meet their customers’ expectations in this regard. According to our study, only 19% of customers actually receive a seamless omnichannel consumer experience from one platform to the next. Similarly, two out of three consumers expect agents on the phone or digital channels to know about their previous interactions in retail stores and vice versa.
Sure, consumers’ expectations are high in today’s always-connected world, but that means it’s up to businesses to step up and meet these demands—or their competitors will be happy to oblige. The brands that are able to ensure minimal frustration and repetition on behalf of their customers, no matter what platform is used, are more likely to win the loyalty and attention of their audience.
Complete Customer Profiles are a Must-Have For Every Omnichannel Customer Service Strategy
Having a complete customer profile is key to any successful customer interaction. When all the information about a customer is available in a single view, including their lifetime value, partner’s name, and even their personal preferences, the focus becomes solving their problem, rather than gathering data.
Another huge advantage to having a complete customer profile is that you avoid ticket duplication and reduce backlog. With a multichannel system, separate tickets are created for each interaction on each channel. This creates a disjointed, impersonal and negative customer experience. When everything is in one place, you don’t have to create multiple tickets for each interaction. You can, instead, see all interactions in one place, no matter what channel they use.
Omnichannel Customer Experience Examples
As technology evolves, consumers’ expectations are changing. It is incumbent upon businesses to incorporate omnichannel customer experiences into their overall success strategies. It’s important to pursue a holistic approach—one that leaves customers feeling like they had a positive experience because they were able to seamlessly transition from one platform to another without any communication snags along the way.
Here are some successful omnichannel customer experience examples. They each showcase how brands can bring customer channels together in ways that work best for their audiences:
JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores
JOANN has been dedicated to outstanding customer experiences since it first opened more than 75 years ago. Thanks to JOANN’s partnership with Gladly, the company’s Customer Care team has been able to understand its customers’ journeys throughout the process, from past interactions to purchase preferences and order histories. Here’s what happened:
- Email backlog was reduced by 93% within the first month of incorporating an omnichannel customer experience
- Email response time was decreased by 70%
- Customer Care experts were able to see each customer’s profile, ensuring they had a world-class experience, no matter how they interacted with the brand
Gladly helped keep humans at the forefront of TUMI‘s customer experience by incorporating an omnichannel approach that changed the way customer service representatives interact with consumers. This change ensures continuity throughout the omnichannel journey and customer experience, from the very first person someone speaks with to the last, bringing the ability to engage, empathize, and relate. The end results included:
- Giving agents the ability to see customers’ complete conversation histories in one view so they’re now better able to understand customers’ needs
- Building bonds with customers because agents are now able to relate in a more empathetic, conversational way, regardless of the channels used by the customers
- Seamless integration for customers, which enables them to reach out on whichever platform works best for them with fluid communication throughout the process
Gladly took customer service to new heights with JetBlue. With 40 million customers annually, this airline needed a way to support chat, email, SMS, phone, and social conversations all in one place. JetBlue is focused on providing outstanding customer experiences that build long-lasting relationships with the brand. After working with gladly, this company was able to:
- Gather information about customers in a single view so agents could meet customers’ needs more easily, no matter how the conversation initiated
- Route customers to the same agents with whom they’d spoken previously so the agents are now empowered to build rapport based on prior conversations
- Avoid unnecessary repeating and recapping of information because everything is gathered in one place
How Omnichannel Customer Service Solutions Help Companies Provide a Better Experience
Now that you know what omnichannel customer experiences are, how do you achieve them? Let’s take a quick look, shall we?
1. Consistent Experiences Across All Support Channels
The purpose of an omnichannel customer experience is to provide interconnectivity across all platforms, including chat, voice, and social media. This helps your customers get to a solution quickly and painlessly as possible – no matter which channel of communication they prefer. [Read More: Professional Chat Etiquette]
2. Service Agents Have Access to Multiple Channels
It’s important to think about the experience of your agents, just as it’s vital to consider your customers’ experience. They are, after all, the people who will be helping your consumers. You need a solution that’s fluid and flexible – one that easily integrates into your backend systems so your agents don’t have to spend a lot of time searching through multiple platforms to retrieve pertinent information. Giving your agents access to all the channels your customers may use to contact you is great, but consolidating this information down into one single, useful screen is what’s going to win everybody over and maximize customer engagement.
3. Reporting with a Full View of the Customer Journey
You need to measure metrics to ensure you’re providing optimal omnichannel journeys and customer experiences, but that’s incredibly hard to do when everybody’s using different platforms. Bringing everything together into a single spot ensures that comparing reports and achieving logistical visibility is apples-to-apples across all agents and customer interactions. Omnichannel solutions enable you to have a single channel whereby you can measure metrics in real-time so you can make staffing adjustments on the fly as needed.
Final Thoughts: Omnichannel Customer Experience
In conclusion, an omnichannel customer experience means putting the customer at the center. When an agent has the freedom to interact on any channel, switch channels and see the customer’s entire conversation history – irrespective of channel – this is where true customer loyalty is born.
Gladly is a customer service platform for digitally-focused B2C companies who want to maximize the lifetime value of their customers. Unlike the legacy approach to customer service software, which is designed around a ticket or case to enable workflows, Gladly enables radically personal customer service centered around people to sustain customer loyalty and drive more revenue.
The world’s most innovative consumer companies like Godiva, JOANN, and TUMI use Gladly to create lasting customer relationships, not one-off experiences.