Key Characteristics Of An Omni-Channel Approach, Why It Is Essential To Success, And How Your Organization Can Execute It
Omnichannel Approach To Customer Communication. Customer loyalty is more important and harder to earn than ever. Increasing customer retention by as little as 5% increases a business’s profits by 25%-65%. Yet as many as 55% of buyers actively take steps to switch brands even when satisfied by purchases.
Moreover, it is becoming more difficult to compete on the basis of either price or quality; almost two-thirds of consumers would pay higher prices not based on the promised quality of a product or service, but because of the simplicity of the purchasing experience. Further, up to 70% of consumers would not complete their order with or re-patronize a business they had a poor customer service experience with, regardless of product satisfaction.
Given the decreasing accessibility of consumer attention and loyalty, organizations pursuing traditional customer communication strategies struggle to secure sales.
The convenience and personalization of the shopping experience influence the purchasing decisions of today’s most powerful consumer segments more than any other aspect. Personalized interaction leading up to and following purchases is essential to gaining customer loyalty; it is the largest contributing factor to both positive word of mouth and increased lifetime spend.
Like other multi-channel approaches, omni-channel approaches appeal to customers by increasing their points of contact with the brand. Omni-channel customer communication goes one step further: it personalizes, simplifies, and connects the points of direct engagement to create a single seamless, consistent conversation. Organizations that adopt an omni-channel platform, like CommBox, do more than just extend their reach. They increase customer conversion and retention while minimizing their acquisition costs, ultimately retaining almost three times more customers than non-omni-channel businesses.
What Is An Omni-Channel Approach To Customer Communication/Service?
As many as 65% of consumers actively take steps to patronize businesses that have consistent online and offline customer service. Omni-channel communication is the most effective strategy a business can use to provide customers with the seamless sales and service experience they want.
An omni-channel communication strategy unifies all messaging with a potential customer across all available communication channels. This strategy is essential, as more than 90% of consumers use multiple channels to engage a business when making a single purchasing decision.
Further, an omni-channel approach involves collecting and sharing data between different online platforms and sales channels. The effect of this practice is so significant that more than 75% of consumers now expect consistent interaction across all channels and platforms, whether in-person, phone-based, or via email, text/chat, or social media. Being accessible through a wide variety of platforms and channels enables businesses to reach potential customers where they already are. An omni-channel approach to data sharing across those spaces enables businesses to engage customers via any/all platform or channel they want to use, actively bringing down the barriers to successful communication. This, in turn, increases the conversion rate of customer service conversations.
What Is Unique About The CommBox Omni-Channel Customer Service Platform?
40% of customers want better human service from businesses before they commit to purchases. This is key, as inbound contact has the potential to convert to sales at a rate 10 to 15 times greater than other leads. Our omni-channel customer communication and service platform improves the efficacy and efficiency of each customer service agent (CSA) by reducing significant barriers to customer conversion: impersonality and inconvenience.
Complexity and inconsistency prohibit customer acquisition and retention. Over 42% of customers cite receiving inconsistent information from CSAs as prohibitive to their purchasing decisions. Further, 72% of customers consider it poor customer service if they have to explain their problem multiple times.
Inconsistent service communication and repetitive forms of engagement are born out of CSAs’ lack of easy access to customers’ historical conversation data. CSAs with no access, limited access, or access through complex systems are more likely to give inconsistent answers or re-ask questions. CommBox simplifies CSAs’ access to full historical customer conversation data. Our Smart Inbox, Team Collaboration, and auto-created Knowledge Base features empower CSAs to collaborate and build forward from each interaction with a customer in ways that are customized by and to the customer’s input, yet still consistent with the rest of the team.
While pre-programmed chatbots give consistent, timely answers, convenience without personalization is insufficient. 79% of customers prefer live chat for the sake of convenience (including more than half of the most powerful consumer segment: millennials/Gen Z). Yet failure to create a personalized service experience (through the use of chatbots with limited functionality) dramatically reduces sales conversion rates when compared to true omni-channel customer service strategies. CommBox enables both highly convenient human-based customer service conversations and the creation of robust AI-powered chatbots that are not only constantly available to customers but also give responses informed by customer context and intentions.
The most effective and efficient use of customer service communication channels is supported by and leverages an omni-channel approach. This approach empowers CSAs to access the entire historical conversation with a customer even as they transition between different channels. As a result, CSAs can more effectively practice conversion-driven conversation and avoid repeating or contradicting information that the customer has already received. This decreases the length of service calls, increases the potential call load per CSA, and makes customer service calls more personalized and convenient for customers.
Why Your Organization Should Adopt A CommBox Omni-Channel Approach To Customer Service
In addition to the benefits afforded to your customers described above, adopting a CommBox omni-channel platform at your organization will also:
1. Improve Customer Service Agent Productivity
An omni-channel platform enables CSAs to communicate with more customers simultaneously. A CommBox omni-channel platform accomplishes this in unique ways: our Team Collaboration tool empowers CSAs to crowd-source solutions from the entire team during any conversation, while our Knowledge Base learns standard responses to common questions and empowers CSAs to propose and implement response standards that can be made available to the whole team. This can improve CSAs’ efficiency and capacity to manage customer requests by more than double per working shift without reducing the quality of customer service offered.
Using a CommBox omni-channel platform also permits agents to focus on more complex and fulfilling tasks as bots handle simple requests. Our Agent Routing tool amplifies this effect by matching incoming service tickets to each CSA based on their skills, load, intentions, and other variables designed to identify the best CSA for each job. Consequently, this boosts CSAs’ career satisfaction; you can exploit your retention rates and save money on staffing while also growing CSA engagement with a more inspiring workday.
2. Reduce Customer Wait Times
Customers associate shorter wait times in service interactions with a greater sense of convenience. In fact, customers’ largest frustration when contacting customer service is a lack of immediately available CSAs. Though most customers do have different expectations for different communication channels (resolution within 30 minutes of calling in vs. a day of sending an email or social media message), they want, overall, to feel that a business values their time.
Considering the importance of convenience to customers’ purchasing decisions, levels of satisfaction, retention, and recommendation practices, response time is a key factor for creating a consistently positive purchasing experience. The faster you provide effective, consistent solutions, the more satisfied customers will feel.
A CommBox omni-channel platform decreases customer wait times. It can resolve customer questions in just a few seconds via its AI-powered bots and empowers CSAs to resolve issues in just minutes via the Knowledge Base. Even during periods of heavy website traffic and service ticket load, CommBox’s Agent Routing engine distributes tickets so that even complex customer issues are expedited.
3. Decrease Operational Costs
The use of an omni-channel platform immediately reduces operating costs. An omni-channel approach allows some customer interactions to be handled by bots, without the help of a (paid) human CSA. Incoming calls can be filtered properly so that simple requests can be dealt with via automation and more complex requests are diverted accordingly to a skilled/available agent. As a result, organizations need to employ fewer skilled CSAs for fewer hours, as CSAs will be able to focus on clearing the cue of skilled requests faster when supported by bots.
Omni-channel customer communication/service platforms also decrease the operational costs associated with customer acquisition. Most notably, as much as 40% of new customers to a business switch from patronizing competing businesses because they heard good things about the customer service experience available. Moreover, it can cost as much as 25 times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an old one. Today, good customer service attracts more new customers to an organization than many other marketing campaign strategies.
Find out more on how CommBox Omnichannel platform works
The Role Of Automation In Omni-Channel Customer Service Practices
Automation in customer communication and service processes has a well-established outcome of improving customer experiences across three of the primary drivers of satisfaction: response time, resolve time, and status updates. When implemented appropriately, it has an almost-immediate positive impact on customer satisfaction (and retention) by reducing response time and time to inquiry resolution, while also providing customers with sufficient updates about the progress of their inquiry along the way. These changes to the service experience are key, as 82% of customers rank a fast response time as the most important aspect of any service interaction, 72% of unhappy customers are willing to forgive issues in the purchasing process once their problem is resolved, and 75% of customers want businesses to contact them with status updates during a customer service interaction.
All that being said, automation — most often the use of chatbots, canned responses, and FAQ-page directives — has a bad reputation for increasing customer dissatisfaction with service conversations. 40%-50% of consumers tend to prefer connecting with a “real person” during customer service interactions, while as much as 58% of consumers strongly believe that chatbots are not as effective as human CSAs. That being said, when consumers interact with well-programmed AI-powered bots, they rarely realize that the CSA assisting them is not a human; approximately 15% of consumers are aware of having interacted with a chatbot or other automated feature in the past 12 months, yet almost 80% of online businesses have already implemented automated chat services on their e-commerce sites.
So how do businesses incorporate automation without customers becoming aware of it (likely as a result of poor service outcomes)? Using the automation tools within the CommBox omni-channel platform, businesses are able to not only create robust, AI-powered chatbots, but also leverage behind-the-scenes automation tools (like site-use tracking for each customer, using keyword triggers within customer inquiries to inform chatbot and agent routing processes, and using complex logic to deliver CSAs a clear picture of each customer’s intent).
Automation is an integral part of building an effective omni-channel approach to customer communication and service. It is about more than just having a 24-hour chatbot; rather, it is understanding that chatbots and other automation tools have the greatest positive impact on customer purchasing experiences when they are coupled with and used to better inform the actions of skilled human CSAs.
How To Pick The Best Omni-Channel Platform For Your Business
Customer satisfaction with both a product/service and the purchasing experience is non-negotiable. On average, a customer who is satisfied with their purchasing experience will recommend a business nine times. In contrast, a dissatisfied customer will tell up to 22 people about their bad experience. Successfully adopting an omni-channel approach will help your organization consistently create successful customer experiences, exceed customers’ expectations, and ultimately improve your brand reputation via their positive recommendations.
The mark of a good omni-channel platform is seamless real-time communication between support, sales teams, and customers. More than 60% of customers prefer to patronize businesses that can meet their service needs in real-time. This communication should be available through multiple mediums, including email, chat, video, voice, SMS, social media, and other digital channels. Record of these different conversations and points of contact should be available via a single interface. This saves businesses the time, effort, and cost of maintaining separate integrations. The ultimate platform should allow your business to add new channels to your contact center as they become popular and create custom channels with ease.
The design of an ideal omni-channel platform should provide its organizational users easy access to the entire customer engagement journey — including interaction with all available platforms — and communication history through easy-to-use real-time dashboards. CommBox, for example, organizes all customer interactions from different channels in one easily accessible inbox. That way CSAs have more free time to create authentic relationships with customers and engage (and upsell) them with product and service. Implementing an omni-channel customer communication and service platform prioritizes customers’ feelings of appreciation, value, and respect by the business.
CommBox Gives You Everything You Need To Maximize The Success Of Your Customer Interactions
The CommBox omni-channel communication and customer service platform exceeds the criteria for an ideal omni-channel platform. CommBox gives you complete ownership of your customer interaction data across all channels while providing a single omni-channel interface to lead your teams to success. This kind of omni-channel dashboard, along with extensive reporting and analytics, grants organizations a comprehensive vision and understanding of each customer’s path to sales conversion.
Find out more about the CommBox omni-channel platform Here.