There aren’t many concepts that in the space of ten years have transformed from an unknown theory to an essential strategy that almost no brand can succeed without. We are of course, referring to what people are calling ‘omnichannel’.
Its effectiveness has been proven across industries, and its uses have expanded into many areas, from marketing to customer service. Its popularity comes as no surprise when you look at the stats: companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.
But what does ‘omnichannel customer engagement’ even mean? Before we dig in deeper, let’s first distinguish it from multichannel. Multichannel customer engagement refers to companies interacting with customers through multiple channels, such as phone, email, and live chat, with each channel managed in its own platform. ‘Omnichannel’, on the other hand, blends these channels with one another and manages them all from a single, unified console. This provides a cohesive and seamless experience for both the customer and the agent across devices and touchpoints.
Comm100’s customer engagement platform helps businesses provide digital omnichannel support and service to their customers via live chat, email, SMS, or social media. Customers can engage with a brand on any of these channels, and agents can easily respond within the platform without having to jump between different applications.
If you’re still not sold on the concept, here’s how other ‘omni’ words can reveal the benefits of omnichannel customer engagement.
Offering true omnichannel customer engagement requires you to be omnipresent — you need to be everywhere, all the time. Here’s how:
- Be where they are
Offer communication channels that your customers expect you to be on. Today’s digital shopper uses an average of six touchpoints, with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. To help convert these customers, you need to be accessible wherever they are, including live chat, email, SMS, and social media.
- Be there when they need you
Very few customer service teams can provide 24/7 support, yet today’s consumers are more demanding than ever when it comes to response times outside the 9-5 window. An AI chatbot is the perfect way to handle this. When your customer service team is not online, your bot can handle out-of-hour queries with pre-programmed replies, links to knowledge base articles, automated workflows, and much more. If they can’t help, they can create a follow-up task for an agent to pick up when they start their shift.
Providing live chat on your website is also a great way to be there for your customers when they need it most. Perhaps a customer has been on the same page for a while, or they have visited several help pages. An agent can see this and proactively reach out to them on live chat, offering a helping hand should they need it.
To offer omnichannel customer engagement, you need to be omniscient. You need to know everything there is to know about your customer and their issue. Here’s how:
When it comes to providing the best, most personalized customer care experience, information is king. The more you know about the customer, the problem at hand, and previous interactions with your company, the more helpful you can be.
An omnichannel customer engagement platform gives agents all this information at their fingertips. When a customer reaches out for help, the agent has full visibility into their complete history – every live chat, every email, every message. They can also see their purchase history, web page visits, and other key data stored in integrated systems. With this much customer information at your agents’ disposal, responses will be accurate and personalized every time.
By understanding who the customer is and the nature of their issue, you can also route them to the most suitable agent. Rule-based automatic routing can instantly transfer a chat based on location, webpage visits, account data, pre-chat survey responses, and much more. Robust routing coupled with queue management capabilities will ensure that chats are picked up by the right agents, on the right teams, at precisely the right time.
When equipped with the right omnichannel customer engagement solution, your agents will feel omnipotent. This is all about empowering them with the tools and insights they need to reach their full potential. Here’s how:
Not only does an omnichannel customer engagement approach give your agents the customer insights they need to provide the most helpful support, but it also provides them with the tools to be extremely efficient.
With every channel accessible through one interface, agents don’t need to switch between different applications to respond to customers or find information. In addition, within Comm100’s platform, visitor details appear right alongside the chat window, putting all relevant data front and center. Managers can also set up visual cues to help agents prioritize their time and manage SLAs across channels and conversations.
To empower agents, managers can allow them to proactively reach out to website visitors, perhaps when they appear to be struggling to find something and need help. Agents can also use canned messages, both private (created by and for themselves) and global (created by the manager for anyone to use). This, combined with keyboard shortcuts, helps agents to respond faster to inquiries. They can also easily access the knowledge base within the console, empowering them to find the best answer quickly, as well as spot gaps in content and recommend this to their manager.
AI can take this to the next level. With an AI-powered virtual assistant, the live chat conversation is monitored in real-time. Once the visitor’s question is sent, it suggests answers from your knowledge base, canned messages, and chatbot intents for the agent to consider. This instantly reduces or even eliminates the time agents spend hunting for information and typing out the answer, giving them more time to handle more chats, as well as focusing on more complex or sensitive inquiries.
For ultimate efficiency, AI chatbots are a no-brainer. They can automate a significant portion of your frontline customer care without compromising on service quality. For example, many customer service teams are inundated with repetitive and non-complex queries that take up a lot of their time. Nothing makes an agent feel empowered like having a chatbot doing the ‘dirty-work’ of managing FAQs, reducing wait times for all customers and leaving the complex inquiries to the humans.
However, AI chatbots can do much more than just serve as an interactive FAQ. They can also take action, helping customers to accomplish goals like booking tickets and making payments through seamless connections to your other business systems.
Unfortunately, we can’t promise that omnichannel customer engagement platforms will help your customer service team to become omnibenevolent (all-good)! However, here are some ways that managers can make sure their agents – and chatbots – are always providing friendly and helpful support, even on a bad day:
No matter how experienced a customer service team is, it’s important for managers to keep an eye on conversation quality and volume to ensure consistent service and high satisfaction.
With omnichannel engagement platforms, managers can have total visibility and control over conversations. They can track conversations and ‘listen in’ without being noticed by the agent and can even add or remove agents from conversations when needed. They can review conversation transcripts to see how agents perform in individual interactions, helping to identify their strengths and weaknesses. The same can be done with bots – questions asked to the bot the feed straight into the learning section where managers can read them, and most importantly, fill in knowledge gaps where the bot didn’t know the answer.
New hires typically need an extra hand when they first get started. Managers can join customer conversations on digital channels if they sense they need a little help and can also conduct real-time coaching through internal chats to help with training.
Managers can track, measure, and improve performances using robust reporting, providing all the data needed to know where the team is excelling, and where it’s not.
Omnichannel customer engagement is no longer a nice to have; it’s simply expected. Brands that want to offer a truly seamless experience for both their customers and employees have to connect on the digital channels their customers use every day. 90% of consumers say they expect the customer experience to be consistent across channels and devices, and the only way to truly deliver is through omnichannel customer engagement.
Originally published here.
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