Buyers want total and complete control over their purchasing decisions. Whether they’re looking for a product or a service, they want to buy it when they want to and how they want to. The same applies to customer service. They want to be able to use the support channel that’s most convenient to them, and they want to use it exactly when they need it.Customers want effective service, regardless of the channel they choose. #customerserv #customerexpectations Click To Tweet
You can’t always be in ten different places at once to help every customer. But if you’re not offering the support option they prefer, you might lose them. Omni-channel support is the solution. And it can help you solve most customer support issues in less time than single channel support. But what is omni-channel support, anyway?
What is Omni-Channel Customer Support?
Simply put, omni-channel customer support takes all of the support you’re offering across different channels and combines it into a completely seamless experience. Customers don’t think about customer support as different, separate channels with separate teams and processes. They perceive customer support as a tool to use or a way to find answers to their questions or problems.
Most brands sell products and services in more than one place. Just think about a modern e-commerce business. They can sell in any of these places:
- An online store
- A brick-and-mortar location
- Pop-up shops
You probably sell in more than one of these locations, too. And the list of places you sell is going to keep growing as your business grows. Since you sell in more than one place, it only makes sense that you need to offer customer service in more than one place, too.
Each generation shops differently across the places you sell and interacts with customer service in different ways based on their needs.
For example, millennials and Generation X spend more time online than baby boomers or seniors do. Millennials and members of Generation X spend six hours online each week. In contrast, baby boomers only spend four hours, and seniors only spend two and a half.
Your customers will reach out to a phone support agent, get on your site to access live chat, send an email, or reach out on social media. The channel they’ll use will depend on their preferences. Millennials and those in Generation X are more likely to contact you via email, live chat, or social media, while older generations like baby boomers or seniors might opt for a phone call. Some customers may use more than one method to contact you, too.
As the options for customer support continue to increase, the lines between channels can get blurred. That’s why it’s best to combine all of your efforts into one location. That way, you can track every interaction that customers have had with your brand. Every agent will be informed about what each customer needs, no matter the channel.
With omni-channel support, a support conversation that starts on Twitter can be continued over email or on a phone call with all of the context and data from previous channels. With this approach, you can be sure that the quality of service and responsiveness on individual channels and across multiple channels is top notch. It’s where the future is headed.
Omni-channel support can also be helpful when it comes to reaching mobile users. They’re used to having text, voice, social, and instant messaging at their fingertips — all from one device. Right now, 80% of new mobile buyers opt for smartphones, and smartphone usage is dominating the mobile realm. When companies integrate all of their service channels, customers who are mobile users can then have a seamless customer service experience from a device in the palm of their hand. 15 years ago, average customers only used two touch points when looking to buy something. Only 7% of customers used more than four touchpoints. Today, 50% use more than four. Some use as many as six!
By 2020, the overall demand for omni-channel customer support will be even higher than it is right now due to the increasing need for companies to provide near-perfect customer support.
Omni-channel support isn’t just convenient for your customers, though. It can also be convenient for you because it helps you better map out your customer journey.
Omni-Channel Support Helps to Better Map Your Customer Journey
To use omni-channel support to help map the journey of your customers, you have to first map the points of interaction that customers have with your business that you currently know about.
Try to stop and think about the steps that you’re currently aware of that customer walk through before making a purchase. Do they usually ask certain pre-sales questions or visit review sites first? Think about the support they need before they trust you enough to buy. Then, walk through that point of sale and think about any post-purchase support that is usually needed by buyers. Finally, think about the current channels that you offer at every single interaction point. Is anything missing?
For example, a support team might frequently receive pre-sales questions over email or via phone when a live chat widget could catch a ton of those queries right out of the gate instead. Add one to your site and connect live chat with email, phone support, and social media, and your customer support team will never miss a beat. That way, you can keep customers more engaged during their journey, improve customer retention, and save your agents time.
Customers of any industry (or size) can use Touchpoint Dashboard to map every interaction and store customer data with every touchpoint. Omni-channel self-service can also help cut back on the time it takes you to solve issues. Here’s how.
Self-Service Customer Support Can Help
More and more customers want businesses to make it quick, easy, and pain-free to solve their customer service problems on their own. Self-service can help you do that. 91% of people say they would use self-service support if it were available. 40% of people check for self-service support before calling a support number. And 75% of people think that self-service is a convenient way to resolve a support problem. So if you aren’t offering self-service options, you should be.
Comcast used self-service to improve customer satisfaction, and they achieve the highest first contact resolution they have seen in years. You can, too. There are tons of ways to help customers find answers to their problems on their own. For example, you could offer a comprehensive knowledge base or FAQ page like this one from Dell.
Canva offers a similar help center where support articles are categorized and grouped together to make it easy for users to find the help they need.
This decreases the amount of time that it takes for your agents to solve problems and minimizes the total number of times that a customer contacts you. Even if customers don’t find what they’re looking for on their own and have to eventually contact a service agent, they’ll appreciate the valuable information you already provided. That means lower overall customer service costs and higher customer satisfaction rates. It’s a win-win. Also, if you want to solve issues at lightning-fast speeds, put a special focus on mobile support methods.
Make it Mobile to Solve Issues Faster
If your customer support strategy doesn’t include optimizations for mobile-first channels such as messaging that is embedded in your mobile website or app, then you’re behind the curve. 63% of adults in the U.S. use mobile devices for customer support several times per month or more.
In addition to that striking statistic, 90% of people have poor experiences when trying to access customer support on a mobile device.
If you want to set your business apart as a champion of customer service, you must consider the mobile experience of your customers in the process like Bank of America does. Customers can deposit checks, make appointments, check accounts, transfer money, pay bills, apply for loans, reach out for customer support, and more – all from the mobile app.
To start using omni-channel support, you’ll probably need a helpdesk to help you and your customer support team find everything you need in one place. We’ve got you covered.
Implementing a Multi-Channel Helpdesk
A helpdesk can help you succeed in your omni-channel support goals. Applian used Freshdesk to ensure that ticket resolution times were reduced by 25%. Now, all of their agents can collaborate on queries on Freshdesk and easily see previous details about every customer interaction across channels.
Every conversation on every channel is located in one place. You can manage phone, live chat, email, and social media support from one single dashboard. This will help you understand your customers better with contextual details from every single channel. With a multi-channel helpdesk, agents can answer customer calls, monitor social media mentions, reply to emails, and chat with customers within the helpdesk.
Any past interactions are right there at every agent’s fingertips. They can even follow up with customers more quickly by converting queries into official helpdesk tickets.
You can also automate work across multiple channels and automatically organize incoming tickets with priorities and tags or route them to the agents best suited to handle them.
This way, your team can easily collaborate and discuss issues with one another and with other teams. With omni-channel support, no support issue gets left untreated, and no past interaction is forgotten.
Customers need to have total control over their support options. They have to be able to use the support channel that makes the most sense for them, and you need to give it to them exactly when they need it. And they need effective help no matter what channel they decide to contact you on. So how can you ensure that you provide them with the highest quality help available?
Omni-channel customer support is the answer.
It connects all of your customer support channels in one location that’s easily accessible to every team member. That way, no details are left out, and the customer will never have to repeat their issues. Every single agent can get all of the details about a support issue or customer all at once.
Aside from being convenient and helpful for your customers, omni-channel customer support can also help you better map your customer journey. And omni-channel self-service support can take your efforts to the next level because people love to help themselves when they can.
But if your support options aren’t optimized for mobile, the omni-channel features might not matter as much. Be sure to focus on mobile support channels to solve problems faster than ever before.
And lastly, you can’t track omni-channel support if you don’t use a helpdesk with all of the features you need. Looking to get started with omni-channel support today?