How Omnichannel Customer Support Can Offer a Better Experience

Article
PartnerHero
June 15, 2022
Omnichannel customer support main image.
Blog
>
How Omnichannel Customer Support Can Offer a Better Experience

When you use omnichannel customer service, your customers don’t have to repeat themselves even when changing communication channels. Here’s how it works.

Customer service teams are finding new and innovative ways of interacting with customers across multiple communication channels, from social media to text messaging. But customers don’t want to repeat themselves every time they use a different communication channel or support platform.

With an omnichannel customer service strategy, you can integrate channels of communication into a single, seamless customer experience. Your customer support agents can access previous support messages in one place, helping you shorten response times and improve customer relationships.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what omnichannel customer support is and how to use it in your company.

What Is Omnichannel Customer Service?

Omnichannel customer service is a type of customer service that integrates multiple communication channels into a single platform. It can include everything from online chats and emails to text messages and phone calls. It’s similar to multichannel customer service, but there are a few key differences between them.

While multichannel customer service allows customers to contact support agents through their preferred channel of communication, those channels may be handled by separate customer support teams, and interactions may happen through separate systems. The result is often an information silo for each channel and a disjointed customer experience.

With an omnichannel approach, all interactions with a customer are stored in the same thread. This makes it easy for subsequent conversations to pick up where the last one left off and provides a more seamless experience throughout the customer journey. 

In other words, a customer who initiates a support request using one digital channel and continues the conversation later using another will notice a more consistent experience. Their name, purchase history, and other details will all be carried over, so they won’t have to start all over again. 

Omnichannel customer support can be effective at nearly any point in the customer journey, whether customers are visiting your website for the first time or are already familiar with your brand.

Benefits of an Omnichannel Customer Support Strategy

A woman shops at home and receives omnichannel customer support.

There are plenty of benefits to an omnichannel customer support strategy for customers and brands alike. Not only does an omnichannel approach provide a more personalized experience to customers, but it also allows businesses to streamline their customer service process by anticipating customer needs and routing messages to the right agent.

Here are just a few key components of an omnichannel customer support strategy:

  • Automation. Chatbots aren’t central to omnichannel customer service, but they can be a big part of it. By using bots early in the customer service experience, you can gather customer data such as contact details. That way, customer service agents can more quickly provide a solution.
  • Self-service tools. Many customers actually prefer to solve basic problems themselves. An omnichannel customer experience that includes FAQs or a knowledge base can speed up the support process by offering solutions or suggestions based on what the customer is searching for. 
  • Cross-platform compatibility. Customers want to be able to access help in real-time, whether they’re on their laptop or a mobile device. If one channel is offline or unavailable, they need to be able to switch to another channel easily without losing a record of their conversation or their place in line.
  • Distributed teams. As more and more customer support agents work remotely, an omnichannel customer service strategy can make their jobs easier. Instead of an entire team working from a central contact center, a distributed team can use a follow-the-sun model and provide coverage in more time zones.
  • Customer loyalty. By identifying the same customer at various touch points or on multiple communication channels, brands can offer a more personalized experience, including special offers and discounts. Messages sent in one channel, such as email, can be tailored based on interactions in another channel, such as SMS messages.

Omnichannel Customer Service Best Practices

Omnichannel customer service has a lot of benefits over multichannel customer service, but it requires a different set of tools and practices.

Consider these areas when implementing an omnichannel customer support strategy:

  • Security. Not all digital channels of communication are equally secure. Depending on the customer service issue, you may need to authenticate the customer’s identity or switch to a more secure channel. For example, customers may reach out to a bank through social media, but the bank will switch to a different channel before discussing anything related to their account.
  • Notifications. Some customer service issues take a while to resolve, and customers don’t want to stay in a chatroom or mobile app longer than they have to. By letting customers know they can receive a response through a callback or an SMS notification, brands can provide a more customer-centric user experience that values their time and attention. An omnichannel approach means you can resume the conversation on the customer’s preferred channel.
  • Integration. Banks, ecommerce brands, and other types of businesses all have different customer service workflows and strategies. An effective omnichannel customer service strategy works best when existing tools and processes, such as a CRM (customer relationships management), telecommunications or email marketing software, or scripts to guide customer service associates through chats or phone conversations, are tightly integrated.
  • Technology. Customer service technology continues to evolve, with things like chatbots powered by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and application programming interfaces (APIs) that integrate customer data with other apps, making new workflows possible. Omnichannel strategies that readily adopt new technologies will be more able to deliver a seamless customer experience that improves engagement and helps meet customer expectations.

Omnichannel Customer Service Tools

Before implementing an omnichannel approach, you’ll need customer service software that can marry various support channels and keep track of metrics such as customer retention and customer satisfaction across all touch points.

Depending on your strategy, this might include a CRM, social media scheduler, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telecommunications platform, and more. The key is make sure that all of your customer service tools work with each other, rather than treating them as separate platforms.

You can also outsource your customer service needs if you don’t have the infrastructure to implement the omnichannel approach in house. 

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Customer Service

A customer support associate delivers omnichannel customer support.

An omnichannel customer service strategy can take some time to implement, but it may offer benefits over a multichannel approach.

For example, if a customer initiates a support request by SMS and later makes a phone call to a call center, a multichannel approach would likely treat these as two separate customer interactions and fail to recognize any link between them. An omnichannel approach would use data from the first interaction to streamline the second.

Multichannel customer service can also result in “agent collision” if a customer moves to a different communication channel and there isn’t a system to ensure that two support reps don’t end up on the same ticket.

Omnichannel customer support reduces this risk by providing a single view of a support request that’s accessible by all associates.

Additionally, by allowing associates to chat within the ticket, they can easily ask for support or escalate the ticket if they can’t solve an issue on their own.

Once you have an omnichannel customer support system in place, you can scale it and add more features as your company grows. With multichannel customer service, scaling is harder since teams and technologies may be siloed in their own channels.

Key Takeaway: Omnichannel Customer Service = Better Customer Satisfaction

A smiling omnichannel customer support associate.

Omnichannel customer support offers several key benefits over other types of customer service, such as multichannel support. As customers continue to seek more ways to interact with brands and show a preference to switch communication channels, an omnichannel customer service strategy helps your brand meet their expectations and deliver great service.

Customer support agents get an unified view of each ticket, along with records of any prior conversations with chatbots or other agents. Customers get real-time help and a more consistent brand experience, improving satisfaction and reducing churn.

If you’re new to omnichannel support, you can work with an established team like PartnerHero to implement your omnichannel customer service strategy. PartnerHero offers CX outsourcing for companies that care about people and performance, and can help you scale an existing customer service team or build a new one from scratch.

Get in touch today to learn more about our pricing and services.

PartnerHero

PartnerHero is the BPO for companies that care about quality and people. We connect talented and capable people from all over the world with innovative companies who care about business metrics and values. We're big fans of integrity, finding the right fit, and bringing opportunity to places that have traditionally been left behind. We specialize in Customer Support, Trust & Safety, Quality Assurance and Software QA. Visit our website and drop us a line.

PartnerHero is the BPO for companies that care about quality and people. We connect talented and capable people from all over the world with innovative companies who care about business metrics and values. We're big fans of integrity, finding the right fit, and bringing opportunity to places that have traditionally been left behind.We specialize in Customer Support, Trust & Safety, Quality Assurance and Software QA. Visit our website and drop us a line.