Companies’ customer service strategies have changed dramatically in recent years. While there was once only two ways to contact a company — phone or fax — customers can now choose from numerous communications channels including phone, email, chat, SMS, and social media.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend toward companies offering their customers omnichannel-powered experiences. A 2021 McKinsey analysis found that, “More than one-third of Americans have made omnichannel features such as buying online for in-store pickup part of their regular shopping routine since the pandemic, and nearly two-thirds of those individuals plan to continue,” and they expect their customer service experience to be omnichannel-enabled, too.
According to a 2022 Retail Dive article, consumers are annoyed when a brand doesn’t connect its various departments and communications channels. The article quotes a retail industry advisor who says, “‘As a customer, it’s so frustrating to receive a text message about a flash sale when you’re troubleshooting a botched fulfillment for the same product. It’s happened to me, and it was right after I had emailed and called customer service’ […] Having to re-explain a complicated return or re-enter a tracking number or promo code are other common sources of frustration that plague disconnected channels.”
Ensuring that customer service is prompt and ready to assist customers if an order goes wrong, a coupon can’t be applied, or a shipment is lost, is crucial to creating a dynamic, satisfying customer experience. Customer service representatives toggling between multiple channels to troubleshoot a problem increases the chance for error and customer frustration.
Managing multiple, separate communications channels can be challenging for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), but SMBs can meet customer demand for multi-channel customer support through omnichannel contact center solutions.
What Are Omnichannel Contact Center Solutions?
An omnichannel contact center solution refers to software that allows businesses to handle all customer communication channels in a single, cloud-based platform.
Omnichannel contact center solutions automatically sync interactions across multiple channels and devices, enabling your SMB clients’ customer service teams to see a complete view of customer activities and to track all actions and interactions of each customer — even if the customer has used multiple contact channels. Your client’s customer service representatives can easily provide the service their customers expect, without toggling between multiple communication channels to find customers’ previous messages and issues.
What Are The Benefits of Omnichannel Contact Center Solutions?
Not only can an omnichannel contact center increase customer satisfaction, improve customer retention rates, and establish brand credibility, it can also streamline your customers’ businesses. Here are a few of the many benefits of investing in an omnichannel contact center solution.
It Provides a Seamless Experience
Omnichannel contact centers help companies create a harmonious brand experience that is seamless from the initial inquiry to the final interaction. Omnichannel platforms allow agents to jump from text, to chat, to phone, maintaining excellent service quality throughout the customer’s journey.
This fluid continuity of service increases the chance of customer service representatives closing the sale, satisfactorily resolving an issue, or using customer insights gathered in real time to upsell the customer on additional products or services.
Omnichannel Solutions Offer Flexibility and Convenience
One of the greatest benefits of omnichannel solutions is flexibility, as it allows customers to contact a business using channels most convenient to them. Rather than calling and waiting on hold, customers can reach out through social media, email, or SMS.
A study released by Zendesk earlier this year reported that “Nearly a third of customers messaged a company for the first time in 2020, and 74 percent of those say they will continue to do so.
“Over the course of the pandemic:
- WhatsApp tickets jumped 219%
- SMS/text tickets: up 30%
- Live chat tickets: up 27%
- Social media tickets: up 26%
- Email/webform tickets: up 16%
- Phone tickets: up 8%”
Investing in omnichannel solutions help companies adapt to their customers’ changing service preferences, by meeting customers on their preferred communications platforms.
Improved Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
A frictionless omnichannel customer service experience can improve overall customer satisfaction rates. A customer’s impression of your client’s service quality can have a significant impact on their satisfaction with the brand, and the likelihood that they will remain loyal to your client’s company.
By providing customers easy access to responsive support on the channel that is most convenient to them, omnichannel contact center solutions allow businesses to provide excellent customer service that will leave a lasting impression. Not only will this improve the customer experience, but it can also significantly increase customer loyalty and retention.
Omnichannel contact centers also unify multiple streams of communication and customer insight for agents, leading to better performance and an increase in agent productivity. By consolidating customer communications to a central platform, omnichannel contact solutions simplify employee workflows and help them better manage customer requests.
No longer will agents need to have multiple screens open and shift through multiple accounts to find a customer’s message and account, as everything will be available in one central location. This greatly improves efficiency, as agents can quickly and easily close tickets and move on to their next task.
For instance, if your client is trying to process a return for a customer, but the customer has reached out about the issue through social media, email, and by phone, the customer service agent would have to spend a significant amount of time looking through accounts to find all information relevant to the return.
But, an omnichannel solution would allow the agent to see all communications from the customer on one screen, simplifying the return process.
Not only does this significantly reduce the time it takes an agent to close a support ticket, which boosts productivity, but it also increases customer satisfaction, as customers will appreciate the faster response time to process their return.
Omnichannel contact center solutions are an invaluable investment for your clients, as it makes their teams’ jobs easier while also improving the quality of their service.
Provides Comprehensive Reporting and Analytics
To ensure that their current business strategies are effective, your client needs to measure and analyze the performance of their team across all supported channels. However, gathering data and analyzing the data from all independent channels the teams utilize and manage is an enormous, time-consuming task.
But omnichannel contact center solutions’ software displays these metrics in one place, providing business owners with a comprehensive report on their current strategies’ performances and where they could improve.
It can be difficult for companies to know their future needs, particularly in a growing business where demand can fluctuate significantly. But cloud-based omnichannel solutions provide the flexibility for businesses to shrink or grow their services as needed to handle changes in volume, making it easy to ensure your customers have the tools they need to meet current and future demand.
The right omnichannel contact center solutions will offer your clients everything they need for a fluid, consistent customer service experience that can dynamically respond to differing customer needs, scale rapidly according to demand, and better ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Contact us to learn more about omnichannel contact center solutions, the advantages they can provide to your SMB clients, and the benefits of partnering with SkySwitch for your UCaaS needs.