Omnichannel Customer Experience: What It Is and Does
Omnichannel Customer Experience
The Omnichannel Customer Experience (CX) is a holistic, multi-channel method that businesses can use in their selling, customer engagement and relations, and their marketing efforts. Through the omnichannel experience, customers can be engaged through a variety of contact methods, both online and offline, regardless of how they originally contacted the organization.
The omnichannel experience is a sales method that uses a cohesive system of multiple channels to provide services and conduct business with customers. Whether by phone, a mobile app, a desktop website help-desk, through email exchanges, or in a physical store, the omnichannel CX will be practically free of problems for the customer’s engagement.
What Omnichannel Customer Experience Does
To understand what the omnichannel customer experience does, it’s best to contrast it to its predecessor: the multi-channel experience.
In the traditional multi-channel experience, businesses have made investments to connect their site to other pathways, such as connecting to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, or engaging with a customer over the telephone. While the multiple channels are made available, they aren’t cohesive in terms of the message that they signal about the company, and they are not united to provide the potential for effortless customer service and engagement. Omnichannel uses these multiple channels in ways that take into account and integrates how the business addresses each of the devices and means that a company’s customers will use to reach out to that company. In this respect, omnichannel is an advancement over multi-channel in terms of customer experience. A company with a good multi-channel CX will have an effective social media strategy, a successful online marketing campaign, and an engaging and well-structured website. A company with a good omnichannel CX can do all of these things and benefit from a consistent, effortless message that comes through all its channels for reaching customers. By pulling these various channels together, businesses can improve upon their customer service and marketing efforts, offering opportunities for delivering enhanced CX for each person that they do business with.
Omnichannel is also an advancement over the multimodal model for customer engagement. Multichannel offered the ability for companies to engage with customers through more than just one channel, but the multimodal (or cross-channel) experience permits these multiple channels to be connected and used together within one customer interaction. However, a problem with multimodal experiences is that a business often reaches its limits when it comes to using concurrent channels for a single customer. Omnichannel overcomes this disadvantage by taking in data, information, and greater context from every engagement, running through the customer’s whole life-cycle. The omnichannel experience creates an overview to give web/app support, store representatives, or other customer engagement representatives a clear and comprehensive view of what problem the customer has (and had in the past) and how best to move forward to resolve the issue. The result is that the representatives can give informed, personalize customer support that can flow between multiple channels on the fly, throughout the entire time that the customer does business with that company.
How Omnichannel Customer Experience Works
Here’s an example of how the omnichannel CX works. A customer may call or personally visit their phone service provider, inquiring about a change to their phone plan. While speaking with a live customer service representative, the representative can seamlessly pull up the customer’s history with the phone company, and can clearly see when their prior and current rates started, and the reasons for the change in the billing amount. Armed with the right data and information, the representative can answer the customer’s question in a way that both resolves the original issue and helps the customer better understand their relationship with the phone company.
Rather than having to ask background questions for each and every customer and transfer to a different representative or manager, the omnichannel experience can pull up a wealth of information about the customer’s interactions with a company, short-cutting through this often frustrating process for customers. With omnichannel CX, a service agent can look up various metrics and other information about customers, such as the frequency of calls or engagements made with other service agents, specifics of those calls or other past communications, as well as the customer’s account information and their site preferences. With this and other relevant information at their disposal, customer service representatives can seamlessly use this information in a new interaction to more quickly resolve the customer’s problem in the most hassle-free way possible for the customer.
Even in cases where the customer or the service representative has to reestablish contact another time or by another means, such as switching to an email, or an in-person visit, the omnichannel experience allows the next service agent to continue the engagement with all of the same information that the last agent had. This means that the customer never has the frustrating feeling of starting back at square one with a new customer service representative, or of feeling that their problem isn’t considered to be worthy of the company’s attention.
Benefits of the Omnichannel Customer Experience
The greatest benefit of the omnichannel CX is that it gives each service agent an overview of each customer’s history with a company, connecting various departments and communication channels unlike either the multichannel or the multimodal experiences. Each service representative gains a comprehensive and detailed perspective into each customer that they serve, maximizing their data efficiency and their effectiveness with resolving customers’ problems and concerns. Through the combination of extensive and efficient data use and the personalization of the customer service experience, the omnichannel experience makes a business’s service agents the most productive and informed that they can be while engaging with their customers. The omnichannel customer experience will lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty rates, while also reducing time spent by service agents and technicians gathering information and asking customers background questions.
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