It seems that many brands nowadays are taking an omnichannel approach by embracing social media, SMS, chat, email, and video in addition to the traditional voice channel. Taking this approach, however, is not quite the same as delivering an optimized omnichannel experience. Accenture reports that 65% of consumers are frustrated by inconsistent experiences across channels, while Forrester further reports that 43% of customer service teams struggle to support customers across channels. What this means for contact centers—and, more broadly, the companies which run them–is that the goal for great customer service should be much more than merely offering omnichannel service. Companies need to make the omnichannel experience optimized and seamless.
Don’t underestimate the voice channel. Many studies have shown that customers maintain a preference for calling agents for service, especially when service on another channel is inadequate. Contact centers should therefore never underestimate the voice channel as more important than ever. If a customer cannot get a resolution after contacting a company through some written mode of communication, he or she may call to further pursue their issue or question. It’s also good to keep in mind that some people may not always have access to or prefer social media; this is often true for the more senior generation that’s often used to and comfortable with traditional calls.
Actively engage customers on social media. On that note, contact centers should also not ignore the customers who do have a preference for social media. The various social media sites offer subtle differences in the way people communicate—while Facebook has chat and message features, Twitter is conversation-driven and moves at a faster pace. This means that agents should always be vigilant about the pace at which customer messages come in and follow up in an equally timely manner which reflects the manner in which that channel is used: a Tweet should be answered immediately and can only be done with limited characters, while a Facebook message could take a little more time for a well-worded response. With the possibly large volume of inbound messages, it’s a good idea to use a strategy such as forwarding social media messages to a customer service e-mail address to avoid missing a message. In any case, social media messages should never be ignored, should be answered in a timely manner on the same channels on which they come in, and deserve the same attention an agent would give to a customer service call.
Analyze customer habits for better service. A close analysis of customers’ engagement behavior can provide important information for both marketing purposes and providing better customer service. If certain customers show a preference for social media, they may be targeted for social media advertising campaigns or should receive customer service follow-up contact on the channels on which they are the most active.
Coordinate across channels. Another important point is that channels should be coordinated to avoid giving customers contradictory or repeat information. For example, if a customer service call has been resolved and the case is closed, the customer should not receive texts or emails stating that the case is still open or calls asking if the problem has been resolved. Automated messages and follow-up contact should be managed carefully—make sure the customer receives a follow-up email or text confirming the closed case, not an open one. For this reason, it’s also necessary to coordinate among agents or other departments who may be in direct contact with customers to make sure all messages are clear and consistent.
To deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience, companies must observe their customers’ behavior, engage them directly on all channels, and listen to what they ask for. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for an excellent omnichannel customer experience.
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