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Omnichannel Customer Experience

Ultimate Guide to Omnichannel Customer Experience

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Executive Vice President

Let us first define what customer experience (CX) is:

Customer Experience (CX) is how an organization engages with its customers at every point of its journey – from awareness to marketing to sales, customer service, and everything in between.

It is the total of all interactions a customer has with your brand.

What is Omnichannel Customer Experience?

Omnichannel customer experience means that customers have a cohesive and consistent experience with a brand no matter how or where they connect with it. This could be online, through mobile, in-store, via social media, or through customer service.

An omnichannel strategy aims to provide each customer with a personalized experience that meets their individual needs and wants.

We spoke about individual customer touchpoints as a part of CX, and when you seamlessly connect all of these interactions across channels, you get an omnichannel customer experience.

An omnichannel strategy connects all customer touchpoints, like physical stores, online, social, email, mobile, chats, and calls.

It allows customers to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the experience on another.

What Are the Benefits of Omnichannel Customer Experience?

  • According to ClickZ, shoppers who use three or more channels to interact with brands have a purchasing frequency rate 250 percent higher than single-channel users.
  • Harvard business review reports that customers who use more channels spend an average of 4 percent more in physical stores and 10 percent more online
  • According to a Salesforce report, 67% of customers use multiple channels to complete a single transaction. 40% of customers say that they won’t do business with companies if they can’t use their preferred channels

This means that businesses that aren’t offering omnichannel customer engagement are providing a substandard experience for their customers.

With more channels, you have a higher probability of increased revenue and retention. However, they have to be integrated, and the customer should be able to switch seamlessly between channels.

  • The Coresight report shows that 53% of leading European retailers state that improving lifetime customer value is the reason for implementing an omnichannel strategy.

An omnichannel strategy helps businesses with better inventory visibility, allowing them to fulfill orders from anywhere. The days of retailers losing business due to items being out of stock may be ending.

Check our article on: Omnichannel Retail Experience

Examples of Omnichannel Customer Experience

Customers can reach your customer service or customer experience function through various channels.

Do your agents have a single view of your customers across all the channels – web, voice, video, email, chat, and social?

Customers don’t have to repeat themselves at any point during their interactions, irrespective of the channel they choose to communicate.

Let me give you a couple of examples to appreciate omnichannel customer experience.

1. Example Scenario – Telecommunication

I called my Internet Service Provider, who also provides me with mobility and land telephony services. I wanted to upgrade my Internet connectivity, and I checked with them about the cost of the upgrade.

It was way too high, so I decided against it. However, I left them a request to contact me if the upgrade cost goes down by 30%.

After a couple of months, I visited their experience center to change my SIM card, and they did not check with me about the Internet upgrade that I had earlier inquired about. However, I saw a poster there stating that they provide upgraded connectivity at a 50% lower cost than what was told.

In the experience center, I signed up for the upgraded connectivity, and they activated the upgraded connection.

What if I had not visited the experience center?

There would have been a loss of revenue for many more months.

With an omnichannel customer experience, they would have had access to all my interactions across channels. It would have been natural for them to get in touch with me and ensure that there was very little revenue loss.

2. Example Scenario – Banking

Vikram and his wife plan to have a child and want to move out of their cramped apartment in Chennai and move to the suburbs.

They check out different banking websites on home loans that are available.

They found an offer from a bank that talked about 6.5% interest on home loans.

They decide to check out the offer and set up an appointment for 10 am the next day with a home loan expert by interacting with the web chat option on the bank’s website.

At 10 am the next day, when they reach the local branch, they are greeted by the loan expert. The loan expert gets Vikram and his wife to fill out basic information about themselves on his tablet. This gets sent to their backend, and they create a basic customer profile.

Vikram and his wife get all their doubts clarified, and they leave the bank satisfied. An hour later, they receive an email from the loan expert in the bank summarizing their conversation and all the details related to the home loan offer, including their eligibility to avail of the loan.

The loan expert also leaves them with the customer service number if they need further clarification. 

Vikram and his wife decide to go with this bank for the home loan, and knowing how much loan they can avail themselves of, they start to hunt for a house. Meanwhile, they call customer service and get help filling up the online application for the home loan, and they get it approved. They find a place that fulfills their needs within ten days, and with the pre-approved loan, they do the formalities in the next ten days.

The customer service platform seeks feedback from Vikram using its automated voice messaging system. Vikram responds that he could not be happier.  

After this interaction, Vikram gets an email listing the input provided and how to reach customer service quickly.

Now, Vikram and his wife are proud homeowners in the suburbs, and they look forward to the baby’s arrival into their family.

What a Customer Experience, Right?

It’s clean and frictionless. Vikram and his wife would likely discuss this experience with all their friends and family members. 

Overall, they interacted with eight touchpoints, and the bank’s omnichannel customer service and management system allowed them to have a seamless experience. 

You can also check our article on: Omnichannel Vs Multichannel

What Was Right with the Omnichannel Customer Service?

The Omnichannel Customer Service approach had several strengths that made it a successful strategy for businesses. Here are some of them.

1. Integrated Systems

All the bank systems have tight integrations, which allows them to capture every customer interaction and create a 360-degree view of the customer. The system knew the customer’s needs and interactions at every customer touchpoint –digital and physical.

2. Self-Service Capabilities and Availability of Live Agents and Experts

It provided customers with self-service options for regular tasks like searching for information and setting appointments. When it came to educating the customer, their expert stepped in. When filling out the application, their customer service stepped in and helped them.

3. Automated Interactive Messaging

The bank used an automated voice messaging system to seek feedback from the customer. It is integrated with the mailing system to update the customer and record their input in the backend.

4. Omnichannel Banking

All the channels are integrated to provide one view of the customer. Inbound call center services, outbound call center services, web chat, website, physical meetings, automated messaging, and self-service worked together to provide the best possible customer experience.

How Can Agents Be Empowered With an Omnichannel Customer Experience?

Agents are at the center of every customer interaction, and how do you empower them to provide better customer experiences?

Let me talk about a few examples of empowering agents with omnichannel customer experience infrastructure. This allows your agents to provide the best possible customer experiences.

Example 1 – Empowered Agents

The fundamental aspect of understanding your customer journey is to provide a single view of the customer. It also has to map the customer across all channels, and the map should be visible for the agents to make suggestions proactively.

Here is the scenario.

You are a customer with a mortgage loan with your bank and have paid the loan for half your term. Currently, you are looking for a personal loan, and you access the loan evaluation tool on the bank’s mobile app.

As a customer experience function, you can access the existing customer relationship with the mortgage loan and the recent mobile app interaction on personal loans.

Your outbound loan products division reaches out to the customer with this data. It suggests that the customer can top up the existing mortgage loan itself, and he doesn’t have to go through the application for a personal loan for his financial needs. This does not require additional paperwork besides consent and signing the extended agreement.

This is a classic example of offering a proactive customer experience.

Here, you have converted the customer data into insights and actions. This allows you to move from transactions to offering personalized recommendations to your customers.

Example 2 – Empowered Agents

A customer chats with your website chatbot and is not able to reach a resolution. The customer is provided with the option on the chatbot to seamlessly talk to a live human agent at the call center.

The agent views the conversation that the customer has had with the chatbot. He pulls the information the customer is asking for from the backend and resolves the queries.

Now, he transitions the call to another department to process the approval of a transactional query that the customer had. This also happens seamlessly; the approver accesses all the chat and telephonic conversations and goes ahead with the approval.

In this scenario, if you notice, the customer did not have to repeat himself even once. He did not have to try to reach specific departments by himself – it was all automated. The transition from one channel to another and between departments was seamless, focusing on providing the best customer experience.

This would also allow the contact center agents to work more productively to ensure more complex inquiries get the support, quality, and time they deserve.

Example 3 – Empowered Agents

I was moderating a panel discussion recently, and one of the panelists shared this scenario with us during the session.

He booked a hotel for a 4-night stay in Gurugram using an Online Travel Agency. It was a non-refundable booking. When he checked in, he somehow did not like the hotel and expressed that to the hotel staff. The hotel staff apologized and suggested upgrading him to the suite room.

He wasn’t convinced and decided to shift to a better hotel.

So, he called the Online Travel Agency and told them that he had booked this hotel and wasn’t comfortable staying there. The agent said he would figure out if something could be done while listening to this.

If he had followed the Standard Operating Procedures, the agent would have said, “We are sorry that you don’t like the hotel, but since it is a non-refundable booking, we are not in a position to help you.”

However, this agent took this up with the higher-ups within the online travel agency, made sure that he got the refund, booked him in another hotel, and helped him with the process of checking in. The agent even checked whether he was comfortable with the new place.

What Happened Here?

The agent had enough data to know that ‘So and So’ has booked more than 500 nights through their portal in the last ten years. The agent knows he is a loyal customer of the portal because of its integrated omnichannel infrastructure. He was empowered to decide to push for a refund of a non-refundable booking by going against the SOPs.

The agent ensured that the customer’s lifetime value only increased with this phenomenal customer experience.

Democratization of Omnichannel CX

Omnichannel customer experience has all along been the preserve of large enterprises. Smaller organizations could not think of having such an infrastructure.

Cloud contact centers have democratized the omnichannel customer experience infrastructure, allowing small businesses to access them with a subscription fee easily.

Look at this statement:

You can reach us 24×7 on call, email, chat, and social.

Wouldn’t your customers love this?

Besides, if you have a single view of all your customer interactions, you can provide the best possible customer experience.

As a customer experience function, half your battle is won if you have a single view of all your customer interactions. Omnichannel is the beginning of this experience.

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