You know what it's like when you want to talk to customer service? You start out on the phone but then get stuck on hold, then you try chat support but they say they have to get back to you via email--until finally you get the help you need (after some considerable hoop jumping 🏀). This sadly is a typical journey for customers without omnichannel customer support.
We've all been there—tossed around from email to live chat, phone call to social media DMs. Imagine a world where the barriers between customer support channels could be removed, creating an efficient and straightforward journey for customers.
In this article, we'll show you the benefits of having an omnichannel customer support strategy. We'll dive into the differences between multi channel and omnichannel support, how technology plays a role, and why COVID-19 gave it an unexpected boost.
Plus we'll give you some practical strategies you can use for your business.
What Is Omnichannel Customer Support?
Omnichannel customer support lets businesses provide help to their customers through different communication channels seamlessly and consistently. The heart of omnichannel customer service lies in its ability to offer an cohesive experience across digital touchpoints such as:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Social media
- Or live chat on websites
Customer service is so integral to a company's growth. So much so that you need to have multiple options for your customers to reach out to you.
What's The Difference Between Multichannel and Omnichannel Customer Service?
You've probably heard the terms multichannel and omnichannel thrown around quite often. But they don't both mean the same thing when it comes to customer support.
Multichannel customer support means having multiple ways for customers to reach out to a company. However those multiple ways aren't seamless because they aren't connected.
Omnichannel customer support means that those multiple ways for customers to reach out to a company are seamless because they're connected.
What Are Some Key Benefits of Having Omnichannel Customer Support?
Why have an omnichannel customer support strategy? Well, why would you want your customers to talk to you? Clearly you want to hear from your customers and know how your product or service is helping them (or not helping them).
All the benefits of having an omnichannel customer support strategy lead to revenue. The better you take care of your customers, the more they will spend and tell their friends and family to spend with you too. Here's 3 reasons why it's in your revenue's best interest to have an omnichannel customer support strategy.
Improved Customer Loyalty and Trust
Imagine you just bought a new kitchen mixer. When you plug it in, it doesn't work. So you call the number on the instruction manual.
When you call, they not only sympathize with you but offer to send you a new mixer. Is this experience going to make you want to buy from them again? You bet you will.
When you have a seamless experience like that, customers will reward you with their business. In fact, Porch Group Media states that companies retain 89% of their customers with a strong omnichannel strategy.
Porch Group Media
Your Sales Will Grow
Unless you're running a non-profit, you exist in business for revenue and profit. Having an omnichannel customer support strategy will keep your sales going in the right direction (up).
In fact companies with a strong omnichannel customer support strategy have on average a 9.5% increase in revenue year to year, compared to companies that don't.
Every company wants to do more with less. Having an omnichannel customer support strategy helps reduce costs so you can stay profitable and competitive.
Companies that use an omnichannel customer support strategy (vs companies that don't) report 30% reduced costs.
How Covid Helped Us Realize The Need For Omnichannel Customer Support
The pandemic made us all realize something important – we need each other. With physical restrictions in place due to Covid-19 protocols, companies faced the challenge of keeping up with rapidly changing consumer behaviors while also maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction.
Omnichannel customer support became a lifeline for companies that wanted to stay connected to their customers. Offering seamless transitions between different modes (like phone calls or live chats) without losing context or history from previous interactions. And this proved crucial during periods where face-to-face interactions were minimal or nonexistent altogether.
How To Build An Effective Omnichannel Customer Service Strategy
Building a successful omnichannel strategy starts with your customer. Their preferences will ultimately shape your strategy. That, along with your budget, will determine how you build your omnichannel customer service strategy.
Know Your Customer
To provide stellar service across all channels - be it live chat, phone email or social media customer support - you first need to understand your customers' preferences.
If you know your customer base is fairly young (i.e. millennials), then you want to focus more on social media. The older folks want to talk to someone. So you need to invest in high quality software that can handle that task.
Focus on Mobile Accessibility
Everyone has a smartphone. And on those smartphones lie all kinds of ways your customer will want to reach out to you. The modern world has seen an exponential increase in smartphone usage for various activities including shopping and seeking support.
Ensuring your service strategy caters well for mobile accessibility can significantly improve your customer satisfaction. For example, just because your website works fine on desktop doesn't mean it will behave itself when viewed from a mobile device. Trust me.
Use The Right Software
Use a dedicated customer service software for the seamless connection of your communication channels. This will let you keep track of conversation history across multiple platforms.
With a tool like Magical, customer support teams can save templates and use them across every channel--including live chats, emails, social media, and more.
The Role of Social Media in Omnichannel Support
With everyone on social media, businesses are now using these platforms to bolster their omnichannel customer support strategy. A survey showed that a substantial 70% of mobile phone users have bought something with their device within the last half-year. So why not use this momentum and provide seamless customer service right where your customers spend most of their time?
Using Social Media Platforms for Support
In order to use social media as part of your omnichannel customer support strategy, you need to get acquainted with each platform's methods.
Once you've identified these channels, work towards offering help across them all consistently while keeping track of conversation histories for context during future interactions. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction as they get swift responses without having to switch between multiple communication methods.
To implement this successfully though requires investing in good quality customer service software. These tools help unify communications from different sources into one cohesive experience for both agents and customers alike.
A Final Word
Omnichannel customer support is all about meeting your customer where they are. If they want or need to reach out to you, they need to be able to do it the way they want, not the way you want.
Believe me when I tell you, if you don't offer your customers a great experience the first time, they will go to your competitors. Don't give them a reason to do that.