Consumers today live in an omnichannel world. They expect to be able to engage with businesses through the channel of their choice at any time and receive a consistent experience across channels. And while that’s possible at some organizations, many businesses are still developing their omnichannel capabilities and strategies. To help guide your business through this process, here are three tips for ensuring omnichannel success that drive greater customer and employee satisfaction.
1. Deliver frictionless support (for employees)
In delivering unified marketing, sales, and customer care services, it’s easy to see the value of an omnichannel customer experience. Customers can engage the business in the channel of their choice and receive frictionless service. And the more channels customers use, the more valuable they are, shows a study about omnichannel consumers in Harvard Business Review. But the customer’s perspective only represents one side of omnichannel. Consider the value of removing barriers for employees.
Many contact center associates, for example, must navigate and search through a knowledge base to locate information while serving a customer, which takes up precious time. We’re working with clients on a more efficient solution using intelligent virtual assistants, which we call Associate Assist.
Associate Assist monitors conversations between associates and customers and rapidly scans knowledgebases to deliver a next best action or response to the associate, in real time. And as associates modify, accept, or reject the recommendations, the virtual assistant adds those learnings in a virtuous cycle that also improves associate accuracy, efficiency, and consistency. In other words, AI-powered virtual assistants that are connected to the necessary databases help deliver a unified experience for employees, which ultimately improves the customer experience.
2. Cultivate an ‘omnichannel mindset’ with employees
In addition to ensuring the right software and data infrastructure are in place for omnichannel success, don’t forget about the human element. As Augie Ray, VP analyst at Gartner, puts it, “Never forget that the way to higher margin and profitability isn’t just to acquire customers but to turn them into loyal advocates. This means attacking the barriers that prevent your organization from working cohesively, empowering every employee and representative to solve customer problems, and engaging with customers in the channel of their choice.”
Deploying omnichannel solutions is one thing; training and empowering employees to work together in the customer’s interest is another. For example, employees should be incentivized to understand and solve customer problems instead of checking a box or hitting a quota. Making sure employees have a working knowledge of other departments beyond their specialization also goes a long way in nurturing a workplace where people are ready to help.
3. Think customer-centric orchestration
Connecting different channels without considering customer preferences defeats the purpose of an omnichannel experience. Omnichannel represents an opportunity to personalize the experience for customers. As my colleague Tim Keefe explains, leveraging customer preferences for different channels through channel orchestration, raises customer satisfaction while increasing efficiencies and lowering costs.
For example, educating callers about a financial services company’s self-service options for routine questions helped reduce the 30-day callback rate by 18 percent and provided close to $3 million in annual savings for one company. The key here is to map out the different ways that customers want to engage with a business, the reasons why they prefer certain channels, and then work backwards to ensure all the necessary channels and data aligned to enable those capabilities.
When it comes to creating optimal omnichannel experiences, connecting channels for the sake of doing so is the wrong approach. Omnichannel experiences that are designed and executed around the customer are the key to success. How can leaders tell they’re on the right track? When instead of using the phrase, “that’s not my job,” employees respond, “I can help you.”