More communication channels — more problems? Not quite. Syncing these channels fuels a customer-centric approach. Read on to learn more.
Juliia Serdiuk is an Outreach Specialist at HelpCrunch, all-in-one customer service software.
Meet Ava Chen, dedicated founder of Craftopia — a thriving chain for arts, crafts, and DIY projects.
(OK, Craftopia may not be a real-world chain, but problems like Ava's are very much real!) ????
Fueled by Ava’s creative vision, things went smoothly at first. Lately, however, Ava and her team have noticed more customer complaints rolling in. Customers struggled with confusing, fragmented experiences between the website, retail stores, and workshops. One upset customer even posted a viral review about glitchy registration for a sold-out weaving class.
Ava realized these disjointed systems were contrary to the cohesive, inspiring service she aimed to provide. After doing some research, she decided that omnichannel customer support could help.
In this article, we follow Ava on her journey discovering exactly what omnichannel support is all about and highlight how businesses like Craftopia, or many others, can implement it.
Let’s start with the essentials.
Omnichannel customer support is a strategy where businesses synchronize various communication channels to deliver a consistent experience for customers, whether in-store or online.
For example, customers can email you and then seamlessly transition to a phone call with all the context and information intact.
Omnichannel support is vital in the modern business context. What Ava found most impressive about this approach is that it ensures:
Prior to her research, Ava thought omnichannel was just another term to describe a multichannel approach. But that’s not quite right. Let’s learn the difference between the two.
Here's the breakdown:
With channel mixes becoming more complex, many businesses beyond arts and crafts chains like Craftopia are considering omnichannel. And rightfully so, as the benefits are plentiful.
Besides the clear advantage of a quicker response time from synced communication channels, omnichannel offers several other benefits for businesses. To name just a few:
These benefits showcase the efficiency of an omnichannel strategy. But before diving into its implementation, let's check if this is the right strategy for your specific business.
Use our checklist to figure out if omnichannel customer support is right for you. If you answer 'yes' to any of these questions, omnichannel might be a good fit.
Craftopia's Ava checks off 5 out of 6 items, how about you?
If any of these questions resonate with your business, it may be time to explore implementing an omnichannel customer service strategy!
Here are some essential best practices and tips for anyone diving into omnichannel communications. We'll illustrate these with examples from our hypothetical Craftopia and real-life scenarios.
People use many online communication tools, so their preferences can vary. Start by collecting data about your customers and how they like to engage with your brand. For example, explore performance statistics tools to uncover insights into your customers' communication preferences. Or look at some of the following data:
Take Craftopia's situation, for example. Since they have a strong offline and online presence, they can start by:
With this data on how customers use different channels, it's time to conduct a comprehensive analysis of all existing channels.
The aim here is to get a complete view of how well your existing channels perform and where you can enhance the omnichannel customer service experience. To do this, you can:
Now that you've reviewed all your current channels, it's time to choose the high-priority ones.
Be strategic. Identify the channels that matter most for you and the ones your customers use (or complain about) the most, and focus on those. It's better to excel in a few channels than to be just okay in many.
One good way to make the right choice is to invest in a data science service to extract valuable insights from your data and implement it in choosing your priority customer support channel.
For example, Craftopia’s main problem is the disconnected experiences between two key channels — the website and retail stores. To fix this, they should integrate the website with in-store Point of Sale (POS) and inventory systems. This way, customers can easily check product availability and pricing across both channels.
Now that you've identified your important channels, let's talk about turning your omnichannel plan into reality. The most effective way to do this is by using omnichannel software.
For Craftopia, something like Shopify's POS (Point of Sale) system could be a great choice. It helps connect online and in-store information, addressing Craftopia's main issue.
However, for online businesses, different solutions covering digital channels might work better. The key is to pick a provider based on what your business needs. Here are a few things to consider:
Many omnichannel software providers offer free trials, so you can try them out without risk.
When implementing a solution, keep an eye on key omnichannel metrics to understand your overall performance.
Last but not least, a knowledge base is crucial for omnichannel support. It's like an organized library of information that helps both employees and customers with:
A solid personalized knowledge base includes self-service tutorials organized by topic or problem, chatbots, and extra resources like contact support options.
Take Hulu’s Help Center, for instance. It categorizes common knowledge base articles and lets you find relevant articles related to possible beginner questions and concerns.
Clicking the chat icon in the bottom right corner introduces you to HuluBot, a helpful chatbot guiding you through common troubleshooting.
If your issue persists, you can use additional resources like reaching out to the Hulu Community or contacting support.
You can implement an effective knowledge base with software from companies like Helpcrunch, Salesforce Knowledge, Freshdesk, and more.
Modern customers have many ways to contact companies, but more channels don't have to mean more problems. For online, offline, or both businesses, syncing communication among channels can be the perfect solution to stay visible and nurture customer relationships.
That's where omnichannel customer support comes in — a strategy that integrates various channels to maintain a brand's presence. By evaluating your communication channels and choosing fitting software, you'll be on the road to unified customer data, more sales, and other benefits provided by omnichannel.
Ava seems confident about this road, how about you?
Juliia Serdiuk is an Outreach Specialist at HelpCrunch, all-in-one customer service software. She is a bookworm and yoga enthusiast who appreciates life in its various manifestations.