Today’s modern, tech-savvy customers are becoming increasingly demanding in their quest for a great customer experience. They expect to be able to shop anytime, anywhere and from any device easily, and if your brand is not fulfilling these expectations, you won’t survive. Therefore, one of the critical aspects of any customer service strategy today is to deploy an Omnichannel sales and customer service approach that provides customers with an integrated experience across all channels, including telephone, mobile, chat or social media.
However, while many companies have already implemented their Omnichannel infrastructure and strategy, many of them are still failing to take advantage of its benefits, and combined with the growing expectations, the result is rising customer frustration with their experience. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why:
95% of customers use more than one channel to communicate with companies!
Over the course of the customer journey, customers may switch channels for a variety of reasons. In fact, according to Forrester, 95% of customers use more than one channel to communicate with companies. Sometimes users are interrupted, or maybe they just figure their task would be easier on a different channel. Some activities actually require users to move across various channels to complete them. Regardless of the reason, the customers expect any multichannel support experience to be seamless, that the company will have access to a single view of their customer profile across all channels. This includes all of their customer information, order and billing history, and a universal history of all interactions which enables customer support to be able to pick up the conversation without hesitation, and the customer will not have to repeat the story upon calling back or when switching between channels.
Where the problems arise is when the channels are disconnected and are working in a separate silo. This leads to a sort of “channel blindness” and keeps the customers from having a seamless experience as they move between channels. The reasons for this vary for, including the costs that companies face while integrating different channels. However, many times the disconnect between channels originates in issues much deeper than the front-end design of the channel experiences. As organizations begin to integrate new channels, technologies and procedures are added in stages and often completely separately. The result is a lack of coordination in processes that leads to a fragmented backend infrastructure for many companies. Other possible roadblocks occurring on the backend could be caused by disjointed organizational hierarchies and working teams, separate fulfillment processes or old procedures that no longer work in the new Omnichannel reality.
Lack of Consistency
Omni-channel service consistency and seamlessness go hand in hand. As customers perceive each customer service channel to be part of the company as a whole, all information given to the customer, no matter the channel, must match to avoid confusion and frustration. Inconsistency between different channels gives the impression that the entire company is disorganized and unable to provide superior support, and it’s a common problem. In fact, while nearly all customers use more than one channel to communicate with companies, Accenture reports 65% are frustrated by inconsistent experiences. For example, nowadays, customers often use their smartphones and tablets to visit a company’s website. In fact, a report on mobile CX found 63% of consumers use mobile devices a few times a month or more to search online for customer and product support. However, it is still unlikely that they will actually make the purchase on their phones, especially in the same session. So, while brands may emphasize responsive online storefronts designed for mobile devices to ensure an optimized mobile experience, they tend to forget about the consistency of the customer experience when the customer transitions out of his mobile world.
Having No Measurement Strategy
You may think that your Omni-channel strategy is successful while actually it’s not and vice-versa. Today it’s crucial for businesses to have a reliable measurement strategy in place to accurately track valuable KPIs and to optimize them to evaluate what is working well and what's not properly, as well as the overall Omnichannel strategy. Furthermore, as the customer base grows, each channel must be able to scale up to meet the demand without creating silos. Not only does this keep information consistent, but it also gives the system the ability to change channel distribution to match the rising traffic.
As communication channels are evolving to meet growing customer expectations, so do customers expect seamlessness and consistency in their Omni-channel customer support. While the challenges to meet these expectations are real, a unified customer engagement platform offers brands a tremendous opportunity to create an optimal customer experience across all touch points, thus transforming frustration into brand loyalty and advocacy!
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.