Customer experience has gone from going to a local store and having everyone know you by first name to a world where millions of customers come in contact with brands using several different forms of communication. In turn, businesses have had to create new customer experience (CX) strategies in order to evolve with customer communication preferences.

With that said, customers still expect a “white glove experience,” whether it is via email, phone, online chat, social media or text. This means that no matter how a customer may contact a business, the customer still expects the company to know exactly who they are as well as their purchase history. Businesses need to realize the importance of meeting the customer halfway to provide an engaging, integrated CX across all channels of communication.

Recently, The New York Times discussed how tech companies are “leaving phone calls behind,” although they are claiming to be “Internet-based companies.” These online social companies shouldn’t restrict themselves to only email and online customer support options – they need to make company representatives easily available to speak via the phone, especially if they are going to provide a company phone number to the public. Companies must provide support on all ends of the customer service line, whether it is by phone, email, chat or social media.

I think about the introduction of online banking. Financial institutions thought that it would pull traffic away from their branch locations and ATMs, but what it did was allow their customers one more way to do business with them. Financial institutions actually saw an increase in number of transactions.

With customers using all channels available to communicate with a business, companies need to step up and build a multichannel CX prepared to serve their customers where ever they decide to start the conversation. Forrester Senior Analyst, Kate Leggett, says that customers want to receive the cross-channel CX.

Recent Forrester research found some interesting data on which types of communication customers are using most frequently when in need of customer service:

  • 68% of customers use the phone
  • 60% use help or frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • 54% use email
  • 37% use chat
  • 20% use SMS
  • 19% use Twitter

It’s important to make employees available to support all these channels of communication as well as keep the customer service experience consistent. If a business is going to offer a form of communication, they need to ensure that company support is on the other end to respond to a customer in a timely manner. With the phone being the number one customer service choice (68%), it’s crucial that companies provide full internal support for this form of communication.

The best way to ensure this support is to find out the forms of communication a business is using and evaluate the amount of support dedicated to each channel of communication. Keeping customers at arms length can be frustrating for them and could cost you not only their business, but their dissatisfaction can quickly spread through online communities and cost you future business. This is why every company needs a game plan.

Businesses need to think about their multichannel strategies and plan how they can deliver the same information to their customer service agents in order to provide the necessary support. This kind of thinking will lead to ensuring timely, consistent service to customers no matter the platform they are communicating on and end in customer satisfaction.

How important do you think it is for companies to have a consistent multichannel CX strategy in place? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!