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pillars of omnichannelStore, voice, IVR, social, chat, web, mobile, SMS… customers are everywhere and 95% of them use more than one customer service communication channel, says a study by CFI Group and eBay Enterprise1. They want to get service where they’re most comfortable, yet companies struggle with providing omni-channel customer service. According to Accenture and Forrester2, only a third of retailers, for example, have already deployed the basics to make it happen.

Lower prices won’t keep customers loyal. The key to customer retention nirvana – the kind where customers become raving fans, and tell the world about you with a glowing tweet – is the combination of the Three Cs.

The Three Cs that Create Indestructible Company-Customer Connections: The True Omni-Channel Way

Channel hopping is growing strong and customers expect outstanding customer service at every touch point. 81% of them are even willing to pay more just to have a better experience, says an Oracle3 research. Follow these Three Cs and watch customer retention rates skyrocket.

Consistency

Companies are spreading themselves thin with disintegrated channels, answering less than 50% of customers’ total questions, an Eptica4 study shows. According to the study, when they do answer, 89% of companies provide inconsistent answers across channels. According to Accenture5, many customers use 6 channels while prospecting, and 65% of them find inconsistent offers and treatments frustrating. They need you to be consistent throughout the touch points, or at least have clear rationale for differences, like “Web only special today!”.

Continuity

Customers’ pain deepens as they need to repeat their issue from scratch whenever they channel-hop, and sometimes while moving from person to person using the same channel. Some are requested to provide personal information over the phone even though they already gave it on the website or via email. It’s like they’re speaking an unknown language. A true omni-channel approach requires continuity. Support multiple devices for multiple channels. Integrate your systems so customers who choose IVR or walk into a store could still be referred to product videos, followed by an easy access to chat. Encourage callers to buy online as your agents guide them over the phone if that’s what they prefer, and find a way to reward the agents who do that in order to increase cooperation. Ensure continuity to decrease customer complaints, hence decreasing average handling time and increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Choice

A Deloitte6 study shows that consumers who use multiple channels buy over 70% more than those who use only one channel. Embrace an integrated omni-channel system and you’ll earn the third C: Choice. Lower customer effort to interact with your company, and your customers will choose you over and over again. The first choice, however, is yours.

1 http://www.ebayenterprise.com/news_events/news_releases/consumers_want_it_all_omni-channel_shopping_activity/
2 http://www.accenture.com/us-en/landing-pages/Documents/Seamless/Accenture-hybris-Forrester-new_2014.pdf
3 http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/press/1883120
4 http://www.eptica.com/mces2015_news
5 http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-Global-Consumer-Pulse-Research-Study-2013.pdf
6 http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/consumer-business/us-retail-2013-holiday-survey-results-102113.pdf