How To Build A Great Omni-Channel Customer Experience
As consumers come to expect to interact with companies on any channel at any time of the day, companies are struggling to keep up.
Perhaps they’ve added a social media team to monitor mentions and deal with customer complaints. Chat bots online engage with customers day or night. And of course the telephone contact center it still the backbone for most customer service efforts.
Unfortunately, businesses in every industry are coming to realize that their existing contact center strategy doesn’t support true omni channel customer engagement.
They are hampered by outdated, legacy contact center infrastructure such as digital and voice channels operating in silos, which leave the customer journey unsatisfactory for most consumers. They may not be willing to invest in the structure to handle more interactions from new channels such as mobile apps and social media.
But delaying strategy and investments may be a risky decision as consumer expectations continue to rise. The alternative is a future for your company beset by fractured customer journeys, workforce inefficiencies, security and IT challenges. Perhaps the worst consequence is the company’s lack of ability to make data-driven business decisions.
While ramping up to embrace omni channel customer service seems daunting, the benefits will be substantial and long lasting as well as drive customer retention.
What is Omni Channel?
An omni channel customer service strategy is defined as gathering and using information across all engagement channels to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and sales, throughout the customer lifecycle.
Simply having a multitude of customer touch points does not equate to having an omni channel strategy. The goal is to integrate the customer’s journey through an integrated system that connects existing CRM and other back-office systems, and spans all channels, touch points and interactions.
Top Customer Engagement Channels
· Contact center infrastructure
· Voice and digital channels
· Employee engagement systems
· CRM, marketing automation & case management solutions
· Back-office systems
· Branches and remote offices
It’s no wonder that with all these channels that there’s no single unified view of the customer. Today’s customers will use multiple channels, often within a single interaction. Your engagement systems must be able to span all those touch points at a moment’s notice.
Shifting to an Omni Channel Strategy
The goal is to know your customer, what they care about, and how they prefer to interact with you. Internal organization and technological hurdles present the greatest obstacles to delivering a unified customer journey. The vision should be focused on developing unified communication channels for both inbound and outbound interactions to create a consistent, contextual personalized experience.
All customer-facing processes should be examined and optimized. Look at the steps agents follow while serving customers and look at the interdepartmental relationships between the contact center and marketing, finance, quality assurance, shipping, and other departments. Employee workarounds — custom spreadsheets, often-copied cheat sheets — point to broken processes and systems.
Businesses running call centers on legacy systems find it difficult to create an omni channel experience based on aging ACD systems and siloed channels.
Working with a contact center partner that is committed to using the latest technology and systems will help dramatically improve the customer experience without investment in new systems. The call center partner can scale in response to business needs.
Focus on Employees
Ensure your customer contact agents have the right training and tools, such as an agent desktop that supports omni channel interaction. New tools can help automate content and context from multiple channels to make service timely and comprehensive. A key metric to measure is your employee net promoter score.
Executive support is critical to empower agents to deliver services that actually satisfy the customer rather than simply meeting corporate standards.
Omni Channel Road Map Elements
Customer Engagement Strategy
Build your strategy from the customer out. Begin by identifying every customer’s intent, history, preference, and next best action for them. With unified communication
channels, inbound and outbound interactions, and task items, you can deliver a consistent, contextual experience. Personalized notifications can be sent to engage customers at key points in the customer journey while ensuring compliance with opt-in requirements.
Provide employees with a 360-degree view of the customer and targeted coaching to continuously improve their skills. Giving agents the support they need leads to better effectiveness, more insightful agent scorecards, and improved customer satisfaction.
Set up agents to succeed by sending interactions and work items to the right people with the right skills, at the right time, and through the channel that the customer selects. Integration drives efficiency, quality, and compliance. Each interaction and work item can be routed to the most appropriate agent.
An integrated strategy triggers agent workflows and notifies or influences agent scheduling and routing, drastically improving business performance. With an integrated approach, recording and analyzing customer interactions for compliance becomes much easier. Managers can use data-driven insight for employee training and improvement as well.
Creating an omni channel customer service experience can utilize existing channels and touch points operating through a centralized system of engagement across the entire operation.
With centralized management of the customer journey, the company can ensure service levels are met across the entire operation. The process for customers and internal teams can be streamlined, creating a seamless experience across their journey.
Typically contact centers are most effective in managing communication channels, such as voice, email, chat, and even social media interactions. Creating an integrated system can improve the abilities of contact centers to follow up on customer interactions and manage offline work tasks. An integrated system makes it easier to add new interaction channels such as social media listening.
Monitoring and Measurement
Part of the transition to omni channel is restructuring the metrics from operational to performance based. While it’s still important to monitor operational activities, those metrics should align with the performance models.
With a systemic approach to engagement, you can obtain a unified real-time view of activity and information across all channels. With a set of reporting and advanced analytics capabilities you can deliver a consistent omni channel experience and increase
employee performance. Real-time statistics empower daily management decisions to optimize workforce performance and operations.
For example, a company may see decreasing customer satisfaction rates related to live chat interaction, which could indicate that this channel is not performing as expected. A more detailed analysis is in order to determine root causes, such as deficient technology or a shift in customer preferences.
4 Steps to Prepare for Omni Channel Customer Engagement
Transforming your customer service experience is not just about technology. It requires alignment of strategy, people and processes. Beginning the transformation is a strategic decision that could be disruptive. Many companies begin with a self-contained group segregated by business functions or channels.
1. Exploration: First, map existing customer journeys to identify gaps and high-impact targets. With so many channels available, it may seem like the journey is random series of events. An integrated approach can turn those steps into chain of contact that is designed and managed across the customer’s interactions. Use a customer effort audit that includes contextual interviews, contact center observations, and readiness surveys.
2. Define Targets: Identifying critical areas of improvement using personas, stakeholder maps, brand values. Evaluate existing customer journey maps to identify gaps with the new goals.
3. Redesign the Experience: Develop new customer journey maps and service maps based on the insights from discovery efforts.
4. Execute: Implement the new roadmap in phases to optimize the new customer experience journey. In the early stages monitoring and measurement are vital to fine-tune the system. For instance a customer making repeated contacts via multiple channel could be an indication their needs are not being met. If they seek help through live chat and then follow up with a phone call to discuss the same issue, which leads to frustration for the customer and increased costs for the company.
Companies can determine common issues that lead customers to repeatedly make contact with the company to identify the issues that are leading to the customer behavior.
The Customer: A leading global online retailer eliminated its internal customer support team due to staffing issues and increased labor cost. TSD Global’s Omni Channel
Services division built a turnkey outsourced solution, resulting in increased efficiency and customer satisfaction while reducing costs dramatically.
For the online retailer, e-mail is the main medium of communication with its clients. However, the company was not able to respond to its clients’ emails quickly and accurately due to the rapid growth rate. Thus, there was an increase in the volume of cancelled orders and dissatisfied customers.
The Challenge and Results: TSD Global created a special team that took over the customer support function of the company; the entire structure was set up and operational in under 30 days. The team managed over 10,000 interactions per month, and brought down the average response time from multiple days to less than 3 hours with omni channel support provided 24×7, 365 days per year. Moreover, the company registered a drop in costs by 40% by outsourcing its customer support operations to TSD Global.
Additional Metrics Achieved:
• Average customer order size increase 12%
• Abandoned calls reduced 38%
• CSAT scores improved by 31%
• Upsell sales increased 22%
Overall, the program allowed our client to focus on scaling rapidly while their customer support is being handled efficiently and cost effectively.
There is a new normal in customer experience support. While the number of customer contact channels is booming, hopping on the latest digital media bandwagon is not enough. Today’s tech-savvy customers expect consistent, seamless, and personalized interactions with the businesses they buy from.
For world-class companies, true differentiation comes from orchestrating interactions across all channels for seamless, effortless customer experience.