Updated: 15th April 2020
Fill in the blanks to create your own customer experience story.
Picture this. You’re on the phone with your close friend, _____, talking about the fantastic new _____ you just bought yourself and why they absolutely must get one. Of course, your friend wants to see it, so you snap a picture and text it while you’re talking.
“Hey, did you know that I’m having brunch with _____?” you add. “They want to say _____ to you!” So what do you do? Switch the call to video, of course.
Remember, this is all happening with the same friend. The whole time. Voice, text, and video. You never disconnected. You never had to start all over. You never had to repeat yourself _____ times. You never had to hang up or switch channels and start again with someone else.
Right now you’re probably thinking to yourself - well, _____, of course… obviously. Why would anyone ever do that? That makes no sense!
Why can’t you talk, text, chat, video, and email with the same customer service person? Why do you have to start a chat to check on your item and when the “smart” bot isn’t smart enough to transfer you AND all of your information to a human, do you need to then pick up your phone, call in, and start all over again?
When that person needs to see what you’re talking about because certain issues really are hard to describe, why should you need to take a picture, send a text, email, or transfer the call TO A DIFFERENT PERSON?
Customer experiences don’t have to be this terrible. It’s just what the majority of available technology allows for. It’s time for brands to catch up with what their customers need, want, and deserve -- the customer is in the driver’s seat now. The days of dictating and limiting customers’ choices are over. Now the opposite is true -- they will tell you how you will do business with them. And if you can’t do it their way, then you won’t do it at all.
Doing it their way means providing a true omnichannel experience, one where they will never get transferred or have to repeat themselves again. Sound daunting to get from where you are to that? It might, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step is acknowledging the current state. Then you can start to envision a desired future state.
A 2019 CCW Digital Report tells us that “disconnected technology makes for the biggest contact center performance challenge. 80% [of those surveyed] say their agents typically have to access multiple systems when supporting customers.”
So the current state is: silos, multiple logins, extra large monitors for necessary visual real estate. And a pretty abysmal employee and customer experience. The good news is, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Omnichannel is a customer experience strategy that delivers a seamless experience across all touchpoints, mediums, and methods, letting customers dictate how they connect with the companies they do business with. An omnichannel contact center keeps conversations going, no matter the method, allowing agents to move between channels and continue providing exceptional customer service inside of a single, discreet interaction. Omnichannel communications are purpose-built to be one holistic, well-orchestrated continuation versus being pieced together channel-by-channel. It improves both the user and customer experience across all points of contact … not to mention how much better it also makes the employee experience.
Some brands and vendors use ‘multichannel’. Some use ‘omnichannel’, arguably often incorrectly. Multichannel is NOT omnichannel. Many companies offer contact center solutions that enable multichannel interactions. Sure, they can handle voice and email. Maybe chat, too. Some can even manage video. But when it comes to having all of these channels available to customers inside of a single interaction, well, that’s impossible ... unless the platform was built from scratch to be omnichannel.
Then there are all kinds of other superfluous adjectives like exceptional, stellar, personalized, and the like when they talk about their customer service. Here is the problem with all of that: every single one of those words describes something that customers already expect. These are not descriptors of extras that would be nice to have. They are words that explain things people assume they’re entitled to and going to get when they buy your product or use your service (or just interact with your brand, really). Nobody buys a 'multichannel smartphone.' They just buy A PHONE. They expect that the phone does more than only handle voice calls. Of course, it’s multichannel. In fact, it’s omnichannel, by definition.
The contact center industry has been talking about multichannel customer service for more than 20 years. Some brands offer it. Some still do not. Some vendors make software that powers it. Some still do not. More recently, omnichannel has become the buzzword of choice, but whether brands and vendors can actually offer that is another story. The reason everyone says omnichannel is because that’s what people expect. For two decades, we’ve modified the descriptions of the actual tools we deliver to try to convince people they really do what’s desired.
True omnichannel means customers may start an interaction via chat, realize they need to send a photo of their issue so they move to SMS, but ultimately they just need to speak to a live agent. So they do. Without ever transferring or disconnecting. Without repeating themselves. Without ever interacting with more than one agent in more than one interaction.
There are new tools that have been invented specifically to solve the problems today’s (and tomorrow’s) companies, employees, agents, and customers face at work and in life.
We (along with agents everywhere) think it’s time to give agents one place to access the technology they use to serve customers and connect with each other. One application to open. One login. One view of their contact center tools to manage calls/emails/chats/videos/texts, unified communications tools, relevant information that lives inside CRM systems, knowledge base articles, customer histories and journey. Hard to believe you can see all of this in one place? Now, it’s true.
Harvard Business Review says that 73% of consumers use more than one channel during their shopping journey. More importantly, omnichannel customers spend 4% more in store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. For every additional channel they use, customers spend more money. So, yes, this is a ‘customer demand’ thing. But it’s also a ‘don’t you want to grow revenue’ thing.
Omnichannel delivers the continuity that allows customers to own the experience on their terms--online and off (in-store). Shoppers increasingly jump from online to offline and back throughout the research phase, evaluation process, price comparison, and ultimately, vendor selection. The brand that offers the most ways to connect with the consumer, delivers relevant information at each stage of the journey, and provides a stellar CX across all channels all the time will beat out the competition.
It’s no longer just about price; it’s about the entire experience. And you’re no longer competing with your own last interaction with that customer, but with every other interaction your customer has with every brand they patronize.
As PricewaterhouseCoopers puts it, the demand for an omnichannel customer experience will be amplified by the need for nearly perfect execution in 2020. So, it’s not only about being able to deliver the experience but the degree to which you are exceptional at doing so.
Edify makes contact center software that connects businesses with customers.
Edify also makes unified communications software that connects employees with each other.
Edify started from scratch and built these two functions inside one platform, with an included API layer, so users could have everything in one place.
Is the software omnichannel? Of course.
Is it in the cloud? Of course.
Does it power personalized customer experiences? Of course.
Does it enable people to work from anywhere? Of course.
Because that is what people expect. So that is exactly what we built.
Ready to see what all this new technology can do for your contact center and customer experience?
Try it out yourself by signing up for 5 users on us.
Questions? Give us a shout.