Omnichannel customer experiences promise to invigorate a sleepy industry and open the doors to customer service that is more effective, personal, and proactive.
A whopping nine out of 10 customers want an omnichannel experience with seamless (and consistent) service across every channel.
And even in industries slow to adopt new trends, like retail, an omnichannel strategy is proven to bring revenue growth. Harvard Business Review found that omnichannel customers spend 4% more in-store and 10% more online than customers confined to a single channel.
No matter the industry, companies are jumping at the chance to harness the proactive power of a connected omnichannel experience.
But what trends are fleeting, and which ones will stick around? With all the buzz, it’s hard to know what you need to include in your contact center’s omnichannel strategy.
We can help with that.
Here are omnichannel contact center trends that will stick around for the long haul.
1. Personalization across every channel
Some 75% of today’s consumers are more likely to buy from a company that knows their name, purchase history, and recommends products or services based on their personalized preferences.
Greater personalization in your customer experience is an increasing priority for consumers. And, as other companies tailor products and services to their customers’ specific needs, demand for a personalized CX will only grow.
In-depth personalization comes from actionable customer data and better tools to deliver perfectly-tailored experiences.
Your technology powers thousands of interactions between your customers and your agents. As a result, you have thousands of data points with real-time insights about your customer journey.
Tools with intelligent analytics and insights give you a clear view of what’s happening in your contact center. Likewise, they tell you what’s happening with your agents and customers.
Use your data to address specific pains in your customers’ journey and serve up more personalized service. Is there a channel that customers use often but agents don’t have the training to handle? Do your customers like interacting with a bot before a live agent? Do you have working automations that serve customers relevant content? How do they respond to each of these experiences?
Your data will tell you.
Then, use it to guide your decision-making. Understand your customers’ behaviors and figure out what will make their experience (and your agents’ experience) better. A single metric doesn’t paint an accurate picture of your customers’ path or satisfaction. But when you dive deep, pair metrics together, and customize your reporting, you get powerful data to personalize each customer service experience.
2. Re-evaluating self-service and its intentions.
Self-service is a growing customer service trend. Research out of Microsoft says 90% of people expect companies to offer an online portal for self-service.
But sometimes companies mistake self-service options as a way to deflect customers from contacting customer service.
We’ve seen a lot of companies remove customer service phone numbers and direct emails from their websites and replace it with a generic contact us form or FAQ page.
While self-help resources are great for customers who have cookie-cutter issues, they take other customers on frustrating journeys. Without a direct route to a human for help, you funnel customers down a path that works best for your contact center, not for your customer.
There needs to be a balance between hand-holding and letting customers fly solo.
Leading companies in customer service track self-service user analytics (like bounce rate and time on page) to determine if your resources actually help your customers. Then, they continuously review common questions and issues. They gather intel to build more resources and to optimize digital journeys and solve problems.
As self-service evolves, companies will iterate and use these options to enhance the customer service experience – not replace all forms of person-to-person contact.
3. Integrating platforms for seamless omnichannel experiences.
Your agents need centralized information about your customers, so they can help them. When your systems, like your Salesforce CRM, your Zendesk ticketing system, and your contact center platform work together to share information, your agents fill knowledge gaps about your customers’ experience. Then, your customers don’t have to re-explain their pains every time they reach out.
Plus, your agents get valuable information about past interaction history, so they can further personalize each service experience for your customers.
Dimension Data’s 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report shared that only 8% of organizations say they have all of their channels connected. And, as many as 70% say none or very few of their channels are connected.
But efforts to integrate technology are on the rise. CCW’s Future of the Contact Center report found that integrating contact center tools ranks in the top 10 on contact center leaders’ priority lists this year.
Customer information floating around in siloed channels means you’re missing an opportunity to truly understand your customers. And it means you can’t deliver a true omnichannel experience. Omnichannel is about more than jumping from channel to channel. It’s also about creating seamless, data-driven experiences for customers.
When you tie pieces of their journey together, you find patterns that lead you and your agents to deliver proactive customer service experiences.
Adopt technology that works together to deliver a true omnichannel experience. Or, connect your current systems with integrations and custom APIs. When your systems talk to each other, they share customer info and make it more accessible for your agents. Connected tools work for your agents to inform their customer conversations.
These trends prove the benefits of omnichannel extend far past simply adding new channels to the mix. Research shows they’ll improve your customer satisfaction and grow your revenue, too.
Want to learn what other trends to follow for a better CX? Jump to our article to read up on the five customer experience trends changing the game.
We originally posted this article on Janurary 2, 2018, and we updated it for new insight on August 12, 2019.