Today, customers have many channels available to them when it comes to contacting businesses, from phone and email, to live chat, text and social media.
The problem is, many companies struggle not just to be accessible in all these channels, but also to make sure they deliver a consistent and integrated level of service.
Research from Aberdeen Group indicates that when businesses provide a consistent service quality across multiple channels, they’re able to retain 89% of their customers. On the other hand, companies that don’t provide a consistent level of service only manage to retain 33%.
Omnichannel to the Rescue!
Fortunately, omnichannel is available to help small businesses integrate text, social, email and instant messaging to deliver a unified and consistent brand experience in which customers can switch between multiple channels without sacrificing service quality.
Considering findings from Accenture that show 89% of consumers experience frustration when they have to repeat their questions to multiple customer service reps, the value in perfecting omnichannel is obvious.
Through omnichannel customer support, companies can serve customers in more convenient and effective ways, while boosting brand image and credibility.
So how do you build an exceptional omnichannel service strategy? Superoffice shows us the way with 7 best practice tips:
1. Optimize for Mobile
Among the 3.75 billion worldwide Internet users in 2019, 86.2% will use a mobile phone to go online to search or buy. That means they’re most likely seeking customer service support on their mobiles, too.
Unfortunately, businesses aren’t meeting customer expectations when it comes to mobile engagement. In fact, 90% of customers say their mobile customer service experience wasn’t a good one, and 52% of customers say that poor mobile experiences make them less likely to do business with a company.
This means that businesses with websites that aren’t optimized for mobile are at risk of losing customers to companies whose websites are.
2. Light a Fire Under Social Media Response Times
While social media can be a great customer service tool, many brands don’t understand the customer expectations for delivering customer service through social listening.
About 32% of customers expect an answer within 30 minutes and 57% of these customers want the same turnaround on nights and weekends.
According to Convince & Convert, however, the average response time for leading businesses is 157 minutes. Only 8% of businesses respond within the expected 30 minute time frame, and 12% of businesses don’t bother responding to customer messages on social media at all.
Ignoring social media communications from customers, or failing to improve response speed, can result in customer churn rates of up to 15%.
Increasing response time reduces churn, and provides a better experience for the customer. As one company found out, their lightening-fast customer service on Twitter resulted in a client being willing to pay almost $20 more.
3. Help Customers Help Themselves
“More and more customers expect businesses to make it easy for them to solve their customer service issues themselves,” says Superoffice.
Empowering customers to look up answers and fix problems on their own time without having to contact customer support makes their lives easier. In fact, nearly three quarters of consumers prefer to use a business’ website to find a solution vs. other service channels.
Making reliable information available, even if customers can’t find the answer themselves, helps to facilitate the customer experience, reducing the time it takes customer support representatives to solve the problem, as well as the number of times customers need to contact customer service.
4. Broaden Customer Reach With Texting
From responding to insurance claims to placing to-go orders with restaurants, booking appointments, and sending reminders to customers, texting is a very versiatile form of communication.
And when customers want to reach out to customer support, 52% of them would like the ability to do so by text message. But that’s not all. At least 47% of consumers believe that texting would improve their overall customer service satisfaction.
Interestingly, research by Single Point found that 99% of all text messages are actually read! So, if businesses want to reach their customers, texting is a highly effective way to do it.
5. Improve Sales With Live Chat
About 63% of visitors are more likely to revisit a site that offers live chat. Additionally, 44% of consumers say that being able to get their questions answered during a purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
As these statistics demonstrate, being able to access help quickly and conveniently reduces customer frustration. In fact, a survey by Software Advice discovered that no hold times and convenience were named as the top two reasons customers prefer live chat.
Not only is live chat an effective channel for customer service, but it can improve sales. As support representatives work through through particular customer concerns, they may be able to identify other products or services that would be beneficial to them.
This reduces bounce rates, while helping support reps upsell to customers.
6. Continue to Take Advantage of Email
Email may not be the newest, shiniest marketing toy available, but it’s still the most effective digital marketing strategy for customer retention (56% effectiveness).
With email, businesses have the opportunity to offer branded messages and email is considered a secure communication method that customers trust. Research shows that 38% of consumers prefer to use online communication or email for simple customer service issues.
While the expectation of a fast reply still applies to email, a SuperOffice report revealed that 62% of companies do not respond to customer service emails.
Even if customer support agents can’t answer a question right away, they should at least inform the customer that they are working on it, and let them know when they can expect a reply. Otherwise, customers may seek help elsewhere.
7. Conduct an Omnichannel Self-Test
Most businesses that invest time and money in building omnichannel service neglect an important step—testing it out themselves.
This helps companies get a good idea of which areas are performing well and which areas need some improvement. After all, initiating a live chat or posting a tweet and waiting to see the speed and quality of the response is the ultimate reveal on how smooth—or not—the software is running.
Multichannel customer service isn’t omnichannel customer service unless everything’s tied together. Each e-commerce marketing channel companies use should complement and integrate with the next to create a holistic experience.
No matter which channels are used in customer service, the priority should always be to provide a seamless and contsistent experience that improves customer relationships.
When businesses strive to meet their customers where they prefer to get service—and exceed their expectations—they’ll enjoy a boost in conversions and an increase in brand loyalty.
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