What is omnichannel customer support?

What is omnichannel customer support?

Multichannel

First, let’s distinguish the difference between multichannel and omnichannel. Customer support has come a long way; people used to only have a single method to contact companies. These days, businesses are investing in multichannel support, which means that customers can reach out for support through a variety of channels: email, phone, social media, live chat, self-service knowledge base, etc.

Omnichannel

Omnichannel and multichannel both mean the customer can contact you however and whenever they prefer but omnichannel support also goes one step further. An omnichannel experience is a holistic one. Instead of each channel operating in silos, they operate as a whole. This means that all of your channels are connected to provide the customer a seamless experience. No matter the method your customer chooses to reach out to you, it feels like a connected and consistent experience with their context and history carrying over to each touchpoint.

In a society where convenience is key and speed is king, this type of fluid customer support will help companies stand out from the competition. In fact, with technology weaved so seamlessly into their lives, consumers these days expect the same integrated experience from the companies they purchase from regardless of channel or device they reach out on.

Companies that provide consistent quality of service across their channels have 89% customer retention, and companies that don’t only have 33%

From a customer’s perspective, they’re not thinking about the type of amount of channels that they’re contacting you on - they’re simply focused on the issue they have and how to resolve it fast. While they may move around from channel to channel to seek a resolution, they will still expect it to feel like one single experience. Consider this non-omnichannel experience: each time a customer reaches out, they have to repeat the same information to each person they interact with. The result? An overall disjointed experience.

89% of consumers are frustrated that they have to repeat their issue and relay the same information to multiple support agents.

To help you stay ahead of your competition, we’ve gathered some crucial tips on offering your customers an omnichannel support experience.

Optimize for mobile

More and more customers are accessing your website and support channels through their phone so it’s important that the mobile experience they encounter is a seamless and pleasant one.

According to Cyngus, 80% of customers are searching for local businesses from their mobile devices, and 16% are likely to take their business elsewhere if encounter a problem.

Response promptly

In the age of instant gratification, it will not do your business well to respond to customers slowly. Set up SLAs that make sense for your business to properly manage customer expectations of when they can expect a response.

Customers expect even faster help when it comes to social media. Social media is regarded as more instantaneously that other channels, and so customers expect an immediate response. It will reflect best on your brand to respond promptly to customers on social media.

40% of customers who complain via social media expect a response within one hour.

Offer a robust knowledge base

Many customers prefer to find the answer to their support issues themselves. In response, companies have started to build self-service knowledge bases and comprehensive FAQ pages to cater to their customers’ preference.

A knowledge base is a support channel like any other. So in order to have a truly omnichannel support strategy, the quality of the information housed in the knowledge base should be consistent with the quality of service a customer would get speaking to a support agent.

72% of customers prefer to self-service to resolve an issue over phone or email.

Implement live chat

Depending on your business, a live chat tool can help provide immense support. Through a live chat channel, your customer support reps have the benefit of being ready to answer any questions at the moment a customer experiences friction and can immediately resolve the issue.

42% of consumers prefer live chat because they can avoid being put on hold.

Offering an omnichannel support experience doesn’t mean you have to offer support through every single channel under the sun. Each business is different; conduct research to determine which channels would best support your customers and then ensure that those channels work together cohesively to provide an excellent customer experience. Because that’s what it always comes back to - providing the customer with the best experience possible.