From the term itself, we can deduce that omni-channel support refers to customer support that is available on multiple channels. Customers are increasingly connected and practically always online. This is good news for businesses because it means they can reach customers in several ways. E-mail, phone calls, text messages, and social media are all routes for the business to reach out to the customer.
At the same time, the idea of omni-channel support results in customers having their own expectations from the business. It is obvious that in developing omni-channel support, it is not enough to merely set up multiple channels. Businesses need to actually be available and responsive to customers on all these channels, as well. In this article, we cover how to deliver excellent omni-channel support.
Lucid self-service materials
Most customers are happy to solve smaller issues on their own. Many smaller issues can be filtered out of the customer support pipeline when the FAQs are drafted well and easily located. Even if the issue cannot be sorted out on their own, customers are better informed when they do reach out to customer support, facilitating a better customer experience.
Businesses are advised to spend the time on creating comprehensive customer portal software support such as FAQs and help videos. Social media and live chat should come after the customer has perused a comprehensive set of FAQs on the website of the business. If customers are unable to help themselves, the business should make sure that customer support contact details are easily available or can be found.
The net result of introducing well-made self-service materials is higher customer satisfaction, lower stress on customer support executives, and lower overall costs.
Availability on all channels
Social media and live chat are fast emerging as customer support channels. However, not every business is as active on these channels as they should be. It’s common to see social media accounts in the names of businesses which are not maintained. Comments and posts from customers, spam messages, and negative feedback are left unaddressed. When a business has put the word out that they are accessible on multiple channels, it projects a poor impression when they are inactive or unresponsive. When customers reach out on an emerging channel, say live chat, some businesses will redirect them to a more traditional channel like a call centre.
In omni-channel support, consistency across all channels is a core underpinning of a great customer experience. Every interaction the customer has with the business should move the issue closer to resolution. The customer should not have to explain their problem over and over again as they move between communication channels. If a customer reaches out initially by e-mail and they are redirected to the call center, the call center executive should be able to pull up the customer’s background immediately.
To facilitate consistency, many companies maintain customer profiles and document the history of interactions with the customer. Chat, e-mail, social media, and other text-based channels retain a record of the interaction. If these text based channels are the first point of contact, consistency can be achieved as the executive will then have all the information they need, on the record.
Unified brand image
With an omni-channel support system, it is important that the brand image rings loud and clear throughout. Any logos, terminology, taglines, colour schemes, or fonts should be consistently in view throughout all the channels, even when these are not promotional. The values of the business and the standards should be equally perceptible whether customer support is delivered by social media or by text message. With the importance of mobile devices in customer support today, the brand image should also be communicated well on these channels.
Customer feedback should be taken seriously. There are many ways to gather customer feedback regarding a business’s omni-channel support. Post-interaction surveys can be used to know the customer’s level of satisfaction. Analytics can help in evaluating feedback that has been indirectly obtained. Social listening tools can be employed on social media to find out what the image of the business is and how people are talking about it.
Businesses should be trying to make contact easier for the customers, and not for themselves. Giving customers a comfortable interface to work with allows them to relate better to the business. No business should try to shove customers into their communication structure.
A prime example of customer centricity is optimization for mobile devices. Customers make most of their purchases and most of their searches from their mobile devices. Yet, 90% of customers say that customer support via their mobile devices was unsatisfactory. If a business is not optimized for mobile devices, they will likely lose their market to another business that is.
Ultimately, if a business is focused on providing customer support coupled with a smooth customer experience, the above pointers should be easy to implement. Excellent omni-channel support is founded on understanding and responsiveness. Customer satisfaction, listening, and responsiveness should be part of the value structure of the business. All of the above tips are based on exactly these qualities.