Being a customer service representative in this digital era can sometimes be a blessing or a curse. In order to attract new customers every contact center is trying to adapt to new tools and technologies just like the best call center software so that they can seamlessly provide their customers with an exceptional service experience.
But as a customer service agent and a representative of your company it is your responsibility to ensure that customer are satisfied with your services.
However, with a new technology coming in market in every few days we repeatedly face this problem of using different terms interchangeably without knowing its correct usage.
I am not saying that usage of these terms plays a very big role in the overall service experience but it does play a small part in showing your knowledge about the customer service industry as well as in making business strategies.
Let’s talk about one of the examples of such terms which are being incorrectly used very frequently especially when talking about customer service support channels such as multichannel and omnichannel support.
We often hear these terms but do we know the exact meaning and difference between these two terms? No.
Thus, to be able to understand the meaning of these terms it is first important to verify our knowledge about support channels. Once we have a clear understanding of the terminologies only then we can know the benefits it can provide.
So, in this article, we will try to find out the exact significance of multichannel and omnichannel support and how it can help your call center in enhancing their productivity and service level.
What is a support channel?
A support channel is a way of interaction using which a call center communicates with their customers. Some of the most popular support channels are telephones, live chats, social media etc.
Now that we know about support channel let’s see what the main difference between multichannel and omnichannel.
What is multichannel support?
Multichannel support refers to a contact center which provides their customers with two or more channels like social media or email etc to interact with them. However, it does not ensure that a customer will have seamless service across various touch points or on different devices.
What is omnichannel support?
The omnichannel support takes multi channel support one level up. Just like multichannel, omnichannel also uses multiple channels but they are different from the multi channel because of these two additional features.
1. They ensure consistent seamless experience through different channels.
2. Focus on devices involved in the interaction. I.e. a business that allows customers to interact through mobile, website etc would ensure that the overall experience including the feel and look is same across every channel and every touchpoint.
Now, that we have seen the basic difference between multichannel and omnichannel support. The idea will become clearer if we can look at the advantages omnichannel offers to a business when compared with multi channel.
Advantages of omnichannel support:
1. More data collection: As omnichannel approach offers visibility across various channels it becomes needless to say that it translates into a more personalized user experience.
As with omnichannel, the contact center can keep a track of its customer’s preferences, it gives them a great opportunity to serve them in much better way.
By effective use of this information the contact center can provide their users with numerous offers thus improving their chances of making more business and increasing their productivity.
2. Enhanced Customer Experience: The omnichannel approach mainly focuses on inter relation of every channel or touch points to engage with customers as a holistic whole thus making sure that they have a great overall experience through every channel.
Omnichannel basically concentrates on different ways of building a strong relationship between a customer and the service provider which guarantees enhanced customer experience.
3. Greater efficiency: By using omnichannel the centralization of data is possible which can help a contact center in precise forecasting of sale and demands. This can help a contact center in proper inventory management and reduce the cost.
They can also use the data centralization and inventory transparency to fulfill orders more quickly and effectively.
4. Opportunities of up-selling and cross-selling: By taking advantage of historical data and customer’s preference a call center agent can gain better insights about a customer’s likes and dislikes.
The agents can also use this information for recommending additional products or services which they think will be useful for the customer. Thus, increasing the up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and giving the contact center a chance for additional business.
How to use omnichannel support for better service experience:
1. Think about the customer’s comfort: A good example of an excellent service experience is providing your customers what they want without compromising with their comfort.
When talking about omnichannel support it becomes very critical to offer your customers their preferred communication channel.
But most of the customers have different choices as their desired contact channel. Thus researching and investing in the most desired communication channel & the call center software that can offer that communication channel has become a necessity for an excellent service experience.
As per the research, the most chosen mode of communications are as follows:
• Social media
• Instant messaging or chat
2. Use social media: We all will agree that technology has become an inseparable part of our lives. With increased use of social media, a lot of consumers find it very easy and convenient to reach out to companies and request for support.
However, it is not very convenient for the business and thus they overlook the importance of social media as one of the support channels and loose on a lot of business.
By choosing one or two most commonly used social media platform and having your agents monitor and responding to various customers queries can help your business in showing great results.
3. Promote self-service: As the number of tech-savvy customers are rapidly increasing, more and more customers are looking for ways to independently solve their problems.
No matter how quick a contact center agents serve their customers a customer will always prefer finding answers on their own but that is possible only when they are easy to find.
Providing your customers with a thorough and easily accessible solution to common problems in the form of FAQs or help section of the website can greatly reduce the number of calls in your contact center.
This can also decrease some of the customer’s frustration in reaching out to an agent for their simple queries. Having said that, a call center management should make sure that for issues which cannot be resolved without their agent’s help should be resolved quickly to ensure customer satisfaction.
4. Always be available: A lot of companies gives various options to their customers to reach out to them like live chat, email, chatbots etc but in most of the cases the customer had to go back to the traditional way of calling their support number due to unavailability or improper response.
So, it becomes necessary for a company to be available and functional at every contact channel for setting up an example of good service experience.
Forcing a customer into a communication channel which is more suitable for you as a company can result in added customer frustration and builds a bad reputation for your brand.
As of now we have understood the significance of omnichannel support and the various advantages of using it within your contact center let’s see a case study to see its implementation and results in real-life.
The case is about a major bank of India. The bank was founded in 1999 and is now the 2nd largest bank in India. They use the best in class tools and latest call center solutions for various activities within their contact center.
Since the bank’s market was growing at a very fast pace, they were lacking in the area of providing personalized services to their consumers because of which they were losing on new business opportunities.
The management of the bank decided to look for an alternative & solution which can allow them to serve their customers in a more effective, seamless and in the personalized manner.
That is when they came across with the term omnichannel support and decided to adapt it in their call center.
As soon as the bank adapted to the omnichannel support strategy the performance of their contact center started showing improvement. Also, they were able to improve their service experience in the following ways:
1. The main reason for which they implemented the omnichannel support was to give their customers a personalized service experience.
With omnichannel, they were able to gain a clear understanding of their customer’s choices and using that information they provided them with offers that can be beneficial to them.
2. To increase their customer’s comfort level when looking for a service the bank made a team of 10 members who have to immediately respond to every customer’s query posted on the social network.
3. Also for the more complex issues, they requested their call center agents to reach to the customers within 20 minutes.
Because of this policy of the bank, a lot of new customers showed interest in their services which resulted in improved productivity and good reputation of the bank.
4. Along with that for the common queries, they upgraded their website, so that customers can look for the solutions to those issues instead of calling their helpline number.
5. For more integrated and holistic view of their services, the bank introduced a mobile application using which customers can perform their day to day activities with just one click.
• With the transition from multichannel to omnichannel support, the bank’s business improved considerably.
• They noticed a 2% increase in the revenue. And also was able to improve the reputation of their business.
• By providing their customers with personalized services and ease of communication they ensured customer satisfaction and loyalty.
So, from this article, we can identify the difference and the impact of multichannel and omnichannel on business strategies.
We can also see that with the increase in growing number of communication channels the customers expect to have a seamless and consistent service experience across every channel.
And in order to do that, a contact center needs to revise their current strategies and adapt to omnichannel support strategies so they can have a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship with their customers.
Now, if you also think that an omnichannel strategy can be beneficial for your contact center use the above tips to build an omnichannel support environment for your customers.