Long gone are the days when you could get away with expecting customers to solely use the call-center number you’ve listed on your website. With two-thirds of the US population owning a smartphone, customers want to be able to contact businesses using whichever devices and methods they personally find most convenient, whether it’s via social media, email or an app.
For many customers, the most convenient method of communication changes by the day, even the hour. When customers change communication methods, they don’t want a to have to repeat information or to experience a lag. They want the conversation to continue seamlessly. They want their tweets, emails and voice calls to all merge together into one communication stream, not become three different conversations had with multiple representatives.
Studies suggest that today’s customers have higher expectations of support than customers of the past. According to the 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report, 90 percent of consumers expect a brand to provide a self-service customer support portal while 60 percent have a more favorable view of brands that offer mobile-responsive self-service options.
The increased focus on better customer support has made it necessary for businesses to look into more evolved ways of communicating with their customers. Omni-channel support is the next evolutionary stage for customer service.
Multi-Channel vs. Omni-Channel Support
Omni-channel support is an evolution of multi-channel support.
Like omni-channel support, the multi-channel support provides numerous communication channels to customers. In multi-channel support, however, each communication channel exists in a silo, independent of the other channels. In multi-channel support, if you speak to a customer service representative via email, then call support later, the information you relayed to the first representative will need to be repeated as it hasn’t migrated to the other channels.
In omni-channel support, on the other hand, all communication channels are integrated. Customers can call support via a helpline and then follow up with an email seamlessly. This is possible in omni-channel support because the information has been stored in a way that makes it accessible to all representatives across multiple communication channels.
Imagine that you’re communicating with a friend to set up a night on the town. You email him in the morning to see if he’s interested. He emails back that he’s game. Around lunch, you follow up with a text to start narrowing down which restaurant you want to go to. After work, you call him and finalize your plans.
Despite the fact that you’ve communicating with this friend through multiple channels, you don’t have to remind him each time you change channels what you’re talking about. He knows what you’re referring to because he cares about him — you’re special to him. This is how omni-channel support makes your customers feel — special.
Effective omni-channel support doesn’t require a business be present in every channel available, so don’t overload your resources. It’s really about mastering what you already have. Maintaining a fewer, well-covered, channels of communication makes it easier to provide better integrated and managed support. Spreading yourself thin, on the other hand, could result in poor customer support.
Managing multiple communication channels makes it a bit complicated to stay on the same page as the customer. If you’re going to offer omni-channel support, it’s important to overcome this obstacle effectively, as missteps can result in customer loss.
Sixty-two percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience. For effective integration, build a quality partnership with a company that provides you the tools necessary to manage your channels. HappyFox Chat can integrate with your various communication channels for simpler communication, helping you provide more cohesive and seamless customer support. Start your 14-day free trial!