Digital technology is quickly changing the game for how companies and consumers interact with one another, setting a precedent for quick, convenient and easily accessible issue resolution. With more communication channels than ever available for companies and customers alike, it has never been more important to put a strategic omni-channel communications approach in place. Here are a few best practices for providing your customers a differentiated omni-channel experience.
The companies that get digital right will win. Digital is growing exponentially and brands need to consider carefully the implications for customer experience and reputation. Today, digital channels are among the lowest for first contact resolution. As customers become more comfortable with technology and less patient with wait times and delays in resolution, they move from channel to channel more swiftly. Brands that focus on usability and effective issue resolution across digital channels will deliver a more effortless customer experience while reducing costs. Customers will continue to migrate to lower-cost channels when ease of use and resolution are addressed effectively.
Customer effort matters. Make it easy. Consumers want companies that simplify their lives. With the majority of consumers (55%) currently using two or more channels to attain issue resolution, customers are working harder to get resolution. When companies address a customer’s needs on that customer’s channel of choice, they don’t just earn sales, they earn referrals and loyalty.
Investment in timely issue resolution always pays off. Time is a customer’s most precious commodity. Longer wait times force them to toggle between channels more quickly than ever before, increasing the number of contacts, adding to the customer’s effort and driving business expense.
Social media and texting are growing channels for customer service. Engage with your customers! Companies have an opportunity to establish a brand voice, provide timely response and hear the concerns and perspectives of their customers in real time. Companies are missing this opportunity with minimal monitoring and low response rates. About 20% of consumers never even receive a response when they contact a company by social media or text message. If you are not engaging on all of these critical channels, you are likely losing business or increasing your costs as customers navigate to your other channels.
There is no downside. With over 80% of consumers saying they contact customer service every year, the door is wide open for companies to get better acquainted with their customers, build connections, relationships, trust and longevity. More than three-quarters (77%) of consumers expect great customer service as part of their purchase and reward those who provide it with sales, referrals and brand loyalty.
To learn more about how to optimize your omni-channel customer service experience, download The Northridge Group’s State of Customer Service Experience 2016 report here.