A New Era of Customer Engagement — Omnichannel Demystified

With rapid technological change comes communication changes and today, the method and medium have both shifted. Most people connect with one another asynchronously, using text, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Snapchat and more. And as our methods of communication have developed, so have the expectations of how brands should interact with us. We expect them to correspond with us like friends, at times with immediate (synchronous) responses and at times the delayed responses.

No matter what age and generation you yield from, today’s consumer naturally begins their service journey on digital and mobile. But companies and brands still make you switch to voice without a seamless transition and journey continuity. And 32% believe that phone is the most frustrating customer service channel, primarily because of the discontinuity and disjointed nature of switching from digital communication to phone. There is nothing more frustrating than having to start your customer service journey from the beginning, because the agent has no information about your previous interactions. It’s clear that if brands want to reach their customers, they are going to have to change.

Today, brands are still offering an outdated customer experience built for the old paradigm of communication, real-time voice. Consumers have new expectations, especially when it comes to the continuity of a conversation. For example, if a customer starts a conversation via chat, they expect an immediate response. But, when that same consumer needs to continue that conversation offline, whether it’s via email, phone, or text, they expect the brand to have knowledge of their history and to be able to pick up right where they left off, even if it isn’t immediate. When brands don’t meet the expectation of continuity of conversation, consumers get frustrated. 65% of consumers are frustrated by inconsistent experiences across channels. And 32% switch because they are fed up with speaking to multiple agents.

But how are brands supposed to keep up with increasing consumer expectations when the technology they use is outdated? Most customer service software was built before the first iPhone. Those solutions were developed for an older way of communicating: traditional real time voice solutions. They claim to help businesses provide a seamless customer experience through a multichannel approach, because true omnichannel support is “just a myth”. With multichannel support, teams are siloed. These segmented teams are taught to only deliver voice or chat or email or text or social support, which results in different and often disjointed experience for the end customer. But companies can offer true omnichannel support if they have the right tools, which enable a seamless transition between channels. And when they are properly equipped, agents that previously only answered questions in a single channel can all provide a seamless customer experience to each customer no matter the channel. Since 56% of customers have to re-explain an issue when speaking to customer service, and frustration rising, teams need to be empowered through their tools. With the right technology, these agents can handle requests from any channel and provide support across channel switches, decreasing repetition and providing a better customer experience for the customer’s full journey.

Choice matters. Customers don’t want to be forced to use a channel to make it easy for a brand and respond in the channel they are most comfortable using. Brands should offer multiple channels, so consumers can choose their preferred method (asynchronous or synchronous) and mode, whether it’s chat, text, social, or voice. However, delivery of a good customer experience is more important than choice, especially since 82% of retailers expect to compete solely based on customer experience. So when choosing which channels to focus on, make sure you can excel in each channel. Delivering exceptional service through a single channel like voice will still be more powerful from your customer’s perspective than offering multiple channels with inconsistent, poor service.

So what do brands need to do in order to meet new customer communication expectations? Perceived multichannel isn’t strong enough, and won’t deliver the customer experience today’s consumers are expecting. Brands must engage with consumers in the way that they would engage with friends and family, focusing on omnichannel and delivering a strong, consistent customer experience.

About Kustomer

Kustomer is the first CRM for customer experience that focuses on customers, not tickets, enabling companies to know everything about every customer. Used by Outdoor Voices, Slice, SmugMug, and more, Kustomer provides businesses with a full view of every customer’s lifetime. Kustomer unifies all relevant data, customer history, apps, and systems, enabling informed service actions. Kustomer was founded in 2015 with headquarters in New York City.

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