In our last blog, we talked about the difference between multichannel and omnichannel and how not understanding the difference can truly hurt your brand. Today we’re taking a question-and-answer approach to further explore the concept of a customer-centric omnichannel strategy.
We talked to Ted Nardin, STARTEK’s dialogue expert and president of the STARTEK Science Lab, and Dwain Kent, STARTEK’s Director of Customer Experience and Engagement, to get their insights on the topic.
Question: Why is omnichannel so important?
Ted’s answer: People prefer certain channels based on the issue they are having, the time of day when they engage with your brand, and where they happen to be. So you can’t say that one customer prefers to chat and another prefers email. An omnichannel strategy accepts that customers use the channel that is the most convenient and preferable at that particular point in time. If you’re missing a channel, you’re missing opportunities to engage with all of your customers and create a seamless, low effort experience.
Question: What issues do you see in how companies are implementing omnichannel today?
Ted’s answer: Let me give you an example. I was meeting someone and when she arrived in the taxi, I saw that she was frantically texting. It turns out she was having a problem with her internet service the night before. She called in and used the IVR to reset the router. Then she went online and tried to find an answer. While online, she chatted with an agent but the problem still wasn’t resolved. The next morning, she called in from the airport and spoke with a specialist. She was told that a field service technician would come to the house with new equipment. The company texted her to set a time for her to be there. She used 5 channels within 10 hours to try to resolve her issue and was extremely frustrated. Each channel delivered a disjointed, unsatisfactory experience.
The number of channels keep growing
A recent survey showed that compared to 2013, customers used 11 different channels in 2016 to resolve a query, including: phone, email, in store, live chat, online self-service, social media, click to call, messaging platform, a brand’s social media channel, and SMS.
Question: How can companies improve the omnichannel experience?
Dwain’s answer: It all starts with the customer journey because an omnichannel strategy is a customer-centric strategy. So first, companies have to identify each touchpoint in each channel throughout the end-to-end customer experience journey. Then they should examine the roadblocks in each channel and how those impediments trigger customers to jump from one channel to another. Finally, they should develop a strategy to streamline and personalize the omnichannel customer experience.
Question: What’s the biggest hurdle that companies have to adopting an omnichannel strategy?
Dwain’s answer: Organizational silos. While a siloed channel strategy leads to a disconnected customer experience, organizational silos are equally responsible for creating roadblocks for companies trying to implement a true omnichannel strategy. To overcome this, you need a customer experience leader or executive to bring together all the aspects of the business that touch the customer during the omnichannel journey—from marketing to retail to field service to customer support. Once you have organizational alignment, then you can focus on the end-to-end experience.
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