Consumers try to set the pace for businesses in an ever-connected environment. As a result, brands try to keep up. Smartphones and messaging applications, for example, offer a communication-rich and straightforward manner of making it happen. On the contrary, all corporations, with the exception of the most recent, are hampered by legacy infrastructure and its intricacy.
Customers, on the other hand, expect variety. In the area of customer service, this means having the freedom to choose whichever path appears to be the most efficient. Customers want flawless transitions from one form of service delivery to another, just like a train crossing tracks. This is the era of omnichannel interaction, with all of its obstacles. It’s not easy, which is why so many customer service executives fail. That’s not easy, which is why so many customer service executives are now focusing on how to establish an appropriate solution that really can give excellent customer service at a cheaper cost.
Learning from previous attempts
The emergence of omnichannel marketing has already been gradual. Most businesses started with a voice as the default medium, with IVR serving as its self-service counterpart. Then there was email. The development of e-commerce necessitated the creation of an actual text interface, which online chat provided. Customer support has become more visible as a result of social media.
More subsequently, cellphone culture has resulted in widespread messaging use and its emergence as a sales and service channel. Along with the evolution of live support has come the dramatic rise of AI-based self-service alternatives. The most current generation of innovators in this trend toward client self-sufficiency is text and voice-based conversational agents.
When new platforms are added, the underlying corporate strategy is frequently faulty. New platforms are often touted as superior to existing ones, with the promise of delivering more for less.
For example, messaging is said to be superior since its concurrency rate is substantially higher than that of web chat, email, or phone. While this logic identifies a brand’s inspiration to cut costs by diverting customers away from more expensive channels, actual outcomes indicate that this is much more difficult to achieve in practice unless the user experience significantly improves — something that is often overlooked when the motivation is principally cost-driven internally.
Another flaw in this thinking is that customers have their own objectives and will do anything they regard as the quickest way to achieve their own objectives. If an IVR or chatbot appears to be an impediment, people will find a way around it. Customers will re-join the queue for live support if your self-service fails to meet their functional or emotional demands.
All of these design flaws add up to consumer annoyance and increased operating costs. To make omnichannel a success, we must accept a few hard facts from past experiences.
- Multiple channels are less about cost-cutting possibilities and more about providing customers with options.
- Channels proliferate and rarely die. As a result, an omnichannel approach does not entail abandoning channels in a never-ending search for cheaper options – the so-called ‘digital first’ ambition. Rather, success is found in maximising their worth through proper use.
- When contrast to the objective of continuously delivering excellent customer outputs and the demonstrable effect this has on trust, inclination to buy, and improved overall value, cost reduction may not be the major commercial driver in the business case.
- That said, the win-win of efficient service delivery at a lower cost is both viable and attainable provided the correct generation of technology is established in support of an omnichannel approach deep residual and up-to-date view of what matters to consumers as they interact with you.
How to plan an Omni-Channel strategy
Ideally, the point is clear that knowing the study of consumer behaviour is critical to omnichannel effectiveness. This is influenced by chronological tastes as well as what customers seek to accomplish. The best contact mix for a specific client experience is based on this understanding.
This omnichannel planning framework captures the design process.
It becomes the manner that brands continuously monitor the emerging behaviours of their multiple generations of customers (or whatever customer personas make the most sense), manage the performance of their service journeys, and facilitate a contact mix that endorses the spectral range of consumer habits once it has been operationalized. Here are a few ideas and architectural ideas to help you get the most out of this method of planning.
Preferences of different generations
The idea is to keep a current picture of your clients’ changing communication choices. This is used to help you decide on your contact list. This may be accomplished in reality by combining in-house Voice of Customer (VoC) capacity with public domain research on national communication trends.
Use Voice of the Customer to ask consumers about their interaction preferences and record them in CRM so they may be referred to at the first point of contact. It’s even better to inquire about their preferred channel for real service contacts, such as paying a bill, filing a complaint, seeking help, or getting updates, as these will differ.
Official sources, such as the Office of Communications in the United Kingdom, which releases an annual analysis of communication behaviour, can provide public domain data. They break down the data by age and socioeconomic status, as well as showing trends over time. Occasionally, research companies, suppliers, or organizations may release their own studies, which can be useful supplements in forming a picture of significant behaviours and trends. Make your own variations in your own town.
Whatever you use as input, try to summarize it into a collection of customer personas that represent generational inclinations for dealing with you, whether it’s for a single service or more broadly. For reference, below are a handful of summarized identities.
Expect personalized preemptive self-service with escalation to live help as needed. In exchange, they are willing to swap personal information. The smartphone is the primary gadget. Messaging is the preferred way. There will be no email.
Tends to prefer to solve problems with the help of other people. It’s fine to use either speech or text. An email is still an option. Recognizes proactive communication that is useful. Personalization is optional, but users demand control over how their information is utilized.
Journey mapping is now more common. The most advanced contact centre cultures will be using localised versions to guide their quality assurance programmes and VOC. Visually rich maps provide an excellent opportunity to explore functional and emotive needs. As mentioned earlier, this helps identify when live assistance is most likely to be expected.
Advanced users of the omnichannel framework will be able to recognise and respond to the unique demands of separate service journeys. For instance, it is not difficult to imagine the differences between onboarding, progress checking and pursuing a complaint in terms of the mix of functional and emotive expectations. As with generational preferences, there will be some evolution over time in terms of accepted resolution channels. These will need to be tracked and responded to.
Another benefit of journey mapping is that habitual inside-out views of organisational processes are refreshed through the lens of what matters to the customer. It is common to discover that customers are often subjected to the high effort as part of ‘getting what they came for’.
Hopefully, these journeys are recognised as such and redesigned to become a simple and low effort. However, some will remain on the digital transformation ‘to-do’ list. These need to be recognised as complex and potentially emotive for customers. This is an important consideration in the light of what can be then shortlisted for self-service. As a design principle, only attempt to hand over simple, low effort tasks to customers as self-service. Otherwise, expect a high degree of escalation din response to the difficulties encountered.
Through integrated scheduling and a single desktop, modern contact centre technology weaves these together, orchestrating customer experiences with any needed process and data. For both the consumer and the adviser, the end result should be an educated, low-effort dialogue that allows the advisor to focus on meeting the customer’s rational and psychological objectives.
This feature is required at various important moments along the trip. A competent contact approach is defined by nailing them.
- Over time, modalities, platforms, context and purpose are retained. This implies that a client only needs to articulate their need once (intent), which is then utilised, together with context (everything relevant from their CRM record), to triage, route, and personalise the interaction until it is met. Multiple requests for ID&V (identification and verification) and a channel of having to start from zero every time a new adviser is engaged are common sources of failure.
- Rapid increase requires the same capacity. Historically, the path of motion has been from self-service or proactive messaging to a live support request. In these cases, make sure that the advisor’s interaction history appears on their desktop at the same time as the customer’s request is sent to their inbox as a priority queue.
- As digital aid becomes more widespread and capable, escalation is expected to become a more fluid two-way dialogue in the future. Customers will become accustomed to continual collaboration between human and artificial assistants based on the principle of “best fit.” This interaction will be available throughout the client lifespan (marketing-sales-service). This isn’t currently prevalent, but it’s a natural progression of current abilities.
- As a consumer moves across formats, the necessity for uniformity applies to service level agreements (speed of response). Why should they anticipate having to wait three times as long for your reaction because they utilised a separate channel?
- Similarly, a secret shopper study shows that buyers continue to receive diverse advice depending on their preferred medium. As new channels come online, inconsistencies in performance management will become more obvious. Channels, by their very nature, proliferate and seldom die. This is due to the fact that they were picked by the buyer.
Consumers want brands to provide them options when it comes to how they interact with them. However, brands may take advantage of this by reducing the need for live support in favour of lower-cost self-service and proactive service. The recent surge in AI-powered solutions indicates that these new possibilities will only become more popular. As a result, advisers will be increasingly freed up to focus on the conversations that truly count.
You may implement this strategy with the help of technology. Solutions that are designed to function as a specific ecosystem are becoming increasingly important. As a result, investing in the correct generation of capacity is critical. This Idea will help you build a strong basis for your omnichannel brand.