Customers, more than ever, expect an omnichannel experience. They want the convenience of being able to move seamlessly between different digital and human channels. One of the most effective ways of supporting this is deploying an omnichannel Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platform to underpin current and future needs.
BT’s latest Autonomous Customer 2023 research highlights the growing demand for omnichannel. The results of this global survey suggest that consumers are becoming increasingly digital. For example, 39% shop more on websites compared to 2022. However, companies are struggling to deliver the omnichannel experience that’s required to support this shift.
For example, 69% of consumers find dealing with customer service issues tiring and exhausting, compared with 66% in 2020. 89% want organizations to make it easier to contact them by phone, webchat, email, messaging, and social media. This is up from 82% in 2020.
The data highlights big gaps between usage and satisfaction levels on popular channels. 77% of consumers use telephone customer service, but only 32% said they were extremely or very satisfied with the experience. Similarly, 55% used email for customer service but only 32% were extremely or very satisfied.
A key conclusion from the research is that joined-up omnichannel service is an opportunity, rather than a cost, for brands. 80% of people will buy more from organizations that offer excellent customer service, with 57% valuing convenience more than price.
For a truly omnichannel, future-proofed customer service experience you need to embrace the following three fundamentals:
Use a single CCaaS platform to underpin all customer service channels. This makes it easy to add new channels and simplifies supporting customers across multiple channels. It provides the flexibility to scale activity between channels, ensuring resources are deployed where they are needed. Not only does it benefit customers by providing a cohesive, consistent experience, but it is also more cost-effective than running disparate systems within your contact center. Training for agents is simplified and call handling times drop, as agents are able to focus on customers, rather than spending their time navigating multiple solutions to find information.
To create a fully joined up experience, you need to be able to collect information across the entire customer journey. Sharing it with agents offers insight into the customer’s history and a clearer comprehension of the context of each enquiry. This means customers don’t have to repeat themselves or receive the same answers multiple times. No wonder that 88% of consumers in BT’s research wanted any channel they were using to have access to details about their previous contacts. Ultimately this underlines the importance of having a single source of information across all channels. A CCaaS platform is the ideal way to make this happen.
Another important aspect of omnichannel is giving customers the ability to switch channels during an interaction as their needs change, especially from digital to human channels. For example, two-thirds (67%) of consumers maintain that they should be able to switch from webchat to a voice or video call. In essence, this means that customers view the customer experience as a whole, rather than distinguishing between individual channels. As Dr Nicola Millard, BT’s Principal Innovation Partner puts it: “Customers don’t think about channels – they have goals and look for the easiest path to get to them.”
Here again, CCaaS technology can play an essential role. A cloud contact center platform accommodates all channels while making it easy to move customers between them. Not only does it increase customer satisfaction, but it enhances efficiency. A single platform supports cross-channel working and provides centralized information access. This enables resources to be diverted to where they are needed most.
It’s vital to understand that consumers want an omnichannel customer service experience. They don’t just want digital or human channels, but the ability to access both, during the same conversation. This must be seamless, without customers having to repeat themselves each time they switch. To deliver an experience like this you need a flexible, scalable omnichannel CCaaS platform that can meet your current and future needs.
Understanding their journeys and keeping up with those expectations across every stage of the relationship are both critical to ensuring that customers have a great experience.
In a fast-moving world, companies need to embrace proactive customer service to effectively address consumer needs. They must value customer time, minimize effort and deliver service seamlessly.