Robert Stanley introduces us to omnichannel customer engagement, giving insight into both its benefits and challenges.
A Definition of Omnichannel Customer Engagement
Customers do not take a linear path to organisations any more. Rather, they engage with companies on multiple channels and across channels while pausing and resuming their journey along the way.
We know that customers conduct online searches and visit websites before they make their first phone call, and we know that a growing number of consumers call a company while also viewing the internet.
It is a challenge for companies to synchronise multiple channels at the same time within a single journey and manage the customer life cycle successfully enough to deliver a personalised, contextual experience each time.
The multiple disconnected interactions each customer has with a company make omnichannel customer engagement a business necessity for those companies struggling to manage journeys.
Omnichannel customer engagement best practices and solutions empower companies to deliver consistent, personalised customer experiences throughout each journey and across all channels and touchpoints.
Customer Expectations Drive the Need for Omnichannel Customer Engagement
One of the driving forces behind customer churn is poor customer support. In fact, statistics show that as many as 82% of customers leave a company because of poor customer service.
Additionally, polls show the top three reasons customers stop doing business with a company are long wait times, needing to repeat information for each new representative or channel, or getting passed from one agent to another while trying to resolve a problem.
Today’s customers also expect to be able to solve a problem themselves easily. One survey found 71% of customers expect good self-service, and another found that 67% of customer churn is avoidable when businesses resolve customers’ issues during the first interaction.
So, how do companies meet these customer expectations and reduce churn?
They make omnichannel customer engagement the standard since their customers use mobile devices, smartphones, laptops, social media, chat, email, self-service and websites to interact with companies.
In addition, they keep in mind that their customers expect their interactions to flow seamlessly from one channel to the next, including when they flip from self-service to live support.
Challenges of Omnichannel Customer Engagement
One of the largest challenges with omnichannel customer engagement is the fact that people rely on mobile devices more today than ever before.
They use their smartphones to text, call, and search, and they expect company apps to allow them to communicate with businesses on their own terms.
They also expect their interactions to be personalised and relevant, which poses challenges for companies and their app developers and service solution providers.
Omnichannel customer engagement becomes sort of an oxymoron, then, in the sense that people want to use one device to communicate with companies, yet they make use of multiple channels with that device.
So, companies must create an omnichannel customer engagement solution that eliminates the silos between these technologies and create a complete communication strategy and solution to satisfy customers.
Some companies turn to Communications Platform as a Service to solve the omnichannel customer engagement challenge, while others rely on chatbots and artificial intelligence solutions for customer communications.
The problem is that many contact centres and CRM software solutions and service providers do not allow companies to deliver omnichannel customer experiences.
These contact centres cannot keep up with the changing customer service technology landscape, cannot keep up with multiple customer touchpoints and the data management that they require.
Also, they cannot integrate customer experiences across old and new channels, while enabling customer service automation.
Other challenges of omnichannel customer engagement include:
- Inconsistent information – Customers moving from one channel to the next often find inconsistent information and struggle to make sense of content between channels
- Lack of personalisation – Consumers expect experiences to be personalised because they know companies gather data from them, yet gathering data from multiple channels and eliminating siloed data is a challenge for companies
- Customer frustration – Customers seeking support become frustrated when they have to repeat information from one channel to the next and from one agent to the next
- Disjointed omnichannel experiences – Customers expect social networks to be part of their experience and to be able to have a two-way conversation with companies on social media
Benefits of Speech Analytics and Omnichannel Customer Engagement
Companies should strive to create an outstanding omnichannel customer engagement experience that eliminates the need for customers to repeat information and authenticate their identity, especially if they want to work toward reducing churn.
This means customers should only have to share their personal information once per interaction.
Speech analytics solutions and services are one way that helps companies create a shorter authentication process and reduce the hassle customers feel when needing to repeat their information for new agents and channels.
Companies already using interactive voice response (IVR) and self-service opportunities have a competitive edge and reduce churn.
These businesses further enhance the customer experience when they combine IVR with speech analytics for faster customer authentication and stronger security.
Contact centre solutions that integrate business processes, front and back offices, departments, and customer journeys are a must when it comes to getting omnichannel customer engagement right.
Other benefits of omnichannel customer engagement include:
- Diversifying your customer base
- More personalised customer experiences
- Increased customer satisfaction and retention ratings
- Increased customer loyalty
Modern customers expect consistent, seamless experiences when interacting with companies, regardless of the channels they use. They want a unified experience that makes it quick and easy to get consistent information and solutions.
This is why companies need to use omnichannel customer engagement services and solutions, in order to be as effective as possible in meeting their customers’ service needs.