Omnichannel customer experience is quite the buzzword these days.
It’s almost a cliche for those who have heard the term hundreds of times, and it’s confusing for those who don’t know what it is.
But understand it or not, omnichannel is the new normal when it comes to customer-centric experience.
The reason is clear: today’s customers interact with your brand across more channels and more devices than ever. And they expect a seamless, relevant experience every time.
If you can improve omnichannel customer experience via intelligent phone systems, chat and contact centres you will benefit from better customer data, increased sales and a standout customer service that causes delight and loyalty. In this post we bring you some expert advice on taking your omnichannel strategies to the next level.
Why omnichannel customer experience matters
Let’s look at some powerful statistics that show how important it is for companies to improve their omnichannel customer experience:
- 9 out of 10 consumers want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods.
- After interacting with 3 or more channels, customers purchased 287% more frequently than those who interacted with only one channel.
- Companies who employ omnichannel marketing enjoy 90% higher customer retention rates and 18.86% higher customer engagement rates.
1. Meet your customers where they are
What is omnichannel customer experience? Omnichannel experience is a cross-channel approach to marketing, selling and serving customers in a way that puts the customer, not your product, at the core.
Customers can engage with your brand wherever they are—rather than treating channels as independent silos. An omnichannel marketing strategy uses channels that respond to and update customer data as they interact with your brand during their journey.
In essence, a good omnichannel strategy removes the boundaries between different sales and marketing channels to create a unified, integrated customer experience no matter how or where the customer reaches out.
So how can you identify what the right omnichannel strategy looks like for your unique situation?
The first step is to evaluate what elements are needed most and determine which channels your customers are frequently using. The goal is to break down silos and integrate internal communication channels.
To make your omnichannel strategy work, you need the right tools to put your data to work, reach your customers at the right time, and help them convert.
Example: Orvis changes the game
Orvis is a sporting goods retailer who has won awards for its omnichannel strategy because the company understands its target audience and knows the most effective channels to communicate with them. Orvis equipped their employees with tablets that customers can use to order out-of-stock products and learn more about an offer. This not only improves customer experience, but also provides valuable insights and customer data to their marketing teams.
2. Make the customer experience really matter
In its 2020 Digital Trends report, Adobe noted that a customer-focused approach that emphasized a strong customer experience is the single greatest advantage that companies have in the digital landscape.
One-third of customers reported that they would consider switching to another company after just one bad customer experience. This shows just how important good customer experience is and how it builds on the customer journey.
Providing an excellent customer experience starts with listening. Listen to your customers’ feedback and be responsive to their needs. Turn every channel into a support channel: add contact buttons to product pages and allow replies to promotional emails. Equip sales and customer service teams with the right tools to deliver a streamlined experience.
Example: Sephora makes customer lives easier
Beauty brand Sephora builds an omni-channel experience that actually makes customers lives easier. Sephora’s customer experience strategy is powerful and can’t be easily duplicated because their success is built on a deep alignment between brand and customer experience. The brand is embracing their customers, based on an understanding of them and their unique wants and needs.
Sephora’s mobile app has lots of features that allow customers to use their phones as a “Store Companion”. If a customer gets an in-store makeover the stylist notes products and techniques that were used and uploads before and after pictures of the look to the customer’s app. If they like the products they can add them to a wishlist and later purchase the entire list using the app.
3. Connect conversations across all channels
Omnichannel customer service is the key to a successful customer experience because it enables the customer to choose their preferred channel to communicate. Make sure your company can handle customer support on multiple channels such as calls, emails, social media messaging and live chats. An omnichannel support solution collects all customer information in one place, even if a customer jumps from one channel to another.
For example if a customer already reached out via email but then decides to call for more immediate help, it greatly helps if the customer service representative can already see comprehensive information about the customer and their previous interaction even before they answer the call. It makes the customer feel seen and valued.
Capturing context-rich customer data gives your support and sales teams a 360-degree view of customers, who they are and every single angle of their relationship with your company. With the right data, you can convert prospects by offering them personalized offers and engaging them at the right time.
Example: TBC bank re-imagines the sign up process
TBC Bank is another great example for omnichannel strategy done right. TBC reimagined the way customers sign up for their accounts by addressing a very common issue in the banking industry: customers were dropping off during the onboarding process and didn’t complete their registration.
The bank implemented a seamless omnichannel strategy to help new customers finish their onboarding process with more flexibility. After starting the process through a call center, they can now finish via a channel of their choice: an ATM, a branch or kiosk. The result: overall automation levels skyrocketed from 15% up to 90% and the credit application’s time-to-decision dropped to only 15 minutes down from a full business day.
4. Improve your mobile services game
The mobile phone is the actual omnichannel device because it is the one thing that consumers carry with them no matter where they are. In 2020, there are 3.5 billion smartphone users around the world, so almost every third person worldwide owns a smartphone.
Mobile services provide an opportunity for your customers to reach out and communicate with you on the go. Wherever they are and wherever you are! Mobile PBX services use smartphones and cellular networks to give your staff an office phone in their pocket.
This means that even if your customer service team is spread out around the country it can benefit from the features of an office phone system as if they were all sitting centrally in the main office.
Example: Tapiolan Lämpö's innovative mobile service solution
Tapiolan Lämpö group offers property management, maintenance and repairs in the Greater Helsinki area. In case of an emergency—a sewer may be blocked or the heating system may be broken—their customers need to get in touch with a repairman right away. The challenge here is that this can’t happen unless customer service reacts promptly and the right serviceman for the issue can be reached, wherever they are at that time.
Tapiolan Lämpö has 30 people working in customer service, receiving 500–650 phone calls and 350–500 emails every day and about 85% of the servicemen, technicians and maintenance staff are mobile.
The company successfully implemented a mobile service solution that enables mobile employees to join service pools that show their active availability status which improved their reachability significantly.
Read the full case study here: Better availability creates better customer experiences
5. Invest in smart CX technology
According to a study by Gartner, 75% of customer experience leaders surveyed said they expect CX budgets to increase in 2020. They understand that improving customer satisfaction drives business results and the case for investing in CX technology is expansive.
Implementing effective CX technology can help:
- Reduce total cost through automation and efficiency
- Improve business and IT collaboration to deliver a great customer experience
- Increase business agility and reduce data silos
McKinsey reports that optimizing the customer experience typically achieves revenue growth of 5 to 10% and cost reduction of 15 to 25% within just two or three years.
Despite this, customer service is often viewed as just a cost, rather than the growth driver it can actually be. Spending money on customer experience technology can seem like an extraneous expense if you don’t know what return on investment you can expect. One key item that can determine ROI is the reduction of operational cost.
Automation with the right tools helps call centers and agents be more efficient, leading to cost savings and increased profits for your business. It is possible to both reduce costs and provide better customer experience as long as you have the right strategy and tools in place.
Example: Taksi Helsinki handles more customer calls
The Taksi Helsinki dispatch center successfully boosted its efficiency and cut out idling with the help of Benemen Services, as it was able to redirect calls in the the queue to the next available operator. The increased efficiency of the service centre can be seen in the number of calls answered: Annually, the centre can now handle 140,000 more calls and it has boosted profits by over 20%.
Read the full case study here: More calls, better profits
6. Implement an intelligent voice cloud solution
If you want to improve your omnichannel customer experience it is important to make the phone call experience as pleasant and productive as possible for your customers. One way to do this is by implementing a voice cloud solution that eliminates long wait times and connects customers to the right people to talk to.
A voice cloud solution that offers voice recognition and routing enables you to go beyond “your call is important to us, please hold” and connects the caller quickly to the right live agents that responds with empathy. You can offer a faster resolution and a more personalised response and achieve more customer delight and build brand loyalty. An intelligent cloud phone system also offers a self service option for the customer if they prefer.
You can integrate a cloud phone system to all CRM environments where it’s needed: for example Salesforce or Dynamics 365. It’s so much easier to deliver great customer service when your agents have all the customer’s information right in front of them.
So, regardless of who has answered to the customer earlier (customer service, sales person or expert) they can see what calls and conversations have taken place earlier resulting in a pleasant customer experience and also giving room for cross and upsell.
Example: LähiTapiola implements intelligent call routing
Insurance company LähiTapiola Metropolitan Area transformed their customer experience by implementing intelligent contact routing at their call centers. Inquiries from customers could be resolved faster and as a result the company was able to reduce costs by 13% and increase sales by 7%.
One of the key factors in the success of this solution is the effective use of analytics. By leveraging customer data the call is routed directly to the correct person and the matter is handled at once. Customer satisfaction has improved and the degree of First Call Resolution (FCR) has risen 10 percent. Now, nearly ten out of ten cases of the most important clients can be handled during the first call.
Read the full case study here: Significant benefits with Benemen cloud service
7. Prepare for customer experience during a crisis
In case of an emergency people most often reach for their phones to call customer service for immediate help. In today’s digital environment the first contact could also be an email, online chat or your company’s social media account and customer service agents should be prepared to answer requests immediately across channels. Especially if it’s an occasion when things don’t go as planned and not just a routine request. That’s usually when the customer really remembers.
Develop a plan for emergency situations so that your customer service agents are well-trained and prepared for most scenarios. The ideal agents are compassionate, confident, knowledgeable and know how to show empathy. Beyond that they also need the right tools to handle requests properly and immediately.
Putting it all together: Your omnichannel customer experience action plan
To successfully implement your omnichannel strategy it is crucial that all pieces, parts and processes of your strategy work together seamlessly. Make sure that resources are aligned with your strategy, you have solid and transparent communication in place and technology to keep you organized.
Create an action plan to achieve the business objectives that are linked to your omnichannel strategy. Each objective should have a plan that details how it will be achieved. The goals you choose should also be measurable and include a time frame.
This action plan helps keep you and your employees accountable to achieving the goals and objectives you’ve set out in your strategic plan. It should continually evolve and change as time goes on. Reviewing and reiterating the plan regularly can help you prepare for the future and work more effectively toward your goals.
Taking steps to improve omnichannel customer experience is your effective strategy for success and competitive advantage in an ever-changing global marketplace. Omnichannel innovation makes it possible for your business to engage directly with your customers—no matter where they are, what they’re doing, or what device they’re using.
Recap: 7 ways to improve omnichannel customer experience:
- Create an omnichannel strategy
- Make the customer experience matter
- Connect conversations across all channels
- Offer first class mobile services
- Invest in CX technology
- Implement an intelligent voice cloud solution
- Develop CX plans for emergencies
Interested in how Benemen solutions can improve your omnichannel customer experience? Let us show you in a brief 30 minutes demo!