Why You Can't Ignore Omnichannel Customer Care

Offering omnichannel customer service (CS) is something experts have talked about time and time again. Employing an omnichannel strategy has become so important that every retail company should really be doing it if they want to provide an excellent customer experience. And, according to a 2020 report, 80% of companies are now investing in omnichannel experiences. Yet, only 8.4% have all channels connected.   Part of the problem lies in the misunderstanding of the term. The other part lies in misunderstanding why omnichannel customer service is so important and how easy it can be to implement. If you want to read more about how easy it is to switch to an omnichannel solution like Gnatta, check out some info here. If you still need some convincing, let’s start with “what is omnichannel?”. 

Breaking Down Omnichannel’s Meaning 

An omnichannel strategy for customer service relies on all CS channels being connected. Omnichannel CS allows a customer to carry the same query across multiple channels without a break in the flow of conversation.  That means a customer can contact you through email, then follow up the query on webchat and end the conversation via SMS, all about the same query, all as one continuous conversation. Because these channels are connected in a central solution, the customer service advisor will always have the right information to continue the conversation. 

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel 

The big difference between omnichannel and multichannel CS is that same connectedness. A multichannel strategy provides the customer with multiple channels with which to contact a brand. But, those channels live in isolation. This means a customer could contact you on three different channels about the same issue and your customer care team would receive – and reply to – three different interactions. Multichannel CS is a step toward omnichannel CS but it creates unnecessary tickets for the advisors and frustration for both them and your customers. Taking that one step further solves these problems by creating a customer care journey that is hassle-free for everyone and more efficient for the company.  

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Why is Omnichannel Customer Service Important for Retail? 

So, we’ve covered what omnichannel means, but why is an omnichannel solution actually useful to your business?  

Customers Want It, Even if They Don’t Know What “It” Is 

As customers become more familiar with digital solutions and e-commerce, more and more are using multiple touchpoints to both purchase from and contact retailers. Customers now use an average of almost six touchpoints during their buying journey. This is even more important now as Millennials (a generation synonymous with a love for technology) are becoming a big buying power, now spending more money in retail than any other generation.   Customers are becoming more aware of what they expect from a company. You may never hear a customer say, “I wish this brand used an omnichannel customer service strategy”, but you may hear them say “I talked to them on live chat and they didn’t even know I'd already sent an email”. They’re looking for fast solutions to their problems with very little hassle and they might even go elsewhere if you’re unable to respond to their query fast enough.   With 72% of customers saying they want to use multiple channels to connect to brands, being disconnected makes your company feel outdated and that, ultimately, could lose you customers.  

It Can Save You Money 

This is probably the most important one. Switching to an omnichannel strategy is proven to save you money in a couple of ways; by increasing efficiency and by increasing customer retention.   By using a software solution like Gnatta, your advisors can see the entire conversation history of a customer through a feature called profile aggregation. Profile aggregation sits within the omnichannel strategy at Gnatta; it utilises your customer information to bring all interactions from one customer into one conversation, in one browser window. And, since your channels are all connected in one place and your advisors can see all previous messages, only one advisor needs to answer one query, no matter how many times a customer asks it or how many channels they use.   This increase in efficiency can save you hours of work and – by association – thousands of pounds. For one of our own clients, we projected that they would save £180,000 over 12 months by cutting down on these duplicated interactions.   And, when it comes to retaining customers, they’re looking for brands that meet their needs and they’re not worried about switching to a retailer that meets them better. Gartner found that companies that ignore social media as a channel have a churn rate that is 15% higher than those who don’t. And companies who offer three or more channels, have a 90% higher retention rate than those that offer only one. And brands that offer a better omnichannel retail experience have an average retention rate of 89% compared to 33% for companies with weaker omnichannel strategies. That’s a big difference; what better reason do you need to switch?  

Omnichannel CS is especially important for e-commerce retail 

Implementing omnichannel customer service is a good move for all businesses but it’s even more essential for e-commerce businesses  With a physical location, you might expect some of your customers to return/exchange items or talk to sales representatives in-store about any problems or questions they have about your products. This takes some of the strain off your online customer care team but with online retail, all customer queries will come through your CS channels. And with contact volumes continuing to rise across the board, you can’t afford to not connect your channels and thereby reduce the amount of unnecessary duplicate interactions your advisors need to answer.   Not only this, but with no physical point of contact for your customers, the online presence for e-commerce retailers must be perfect. Since your customer service channels are the only way a customer can contact you or interact with you in general, you need to be present on the channels they want and expect. And, with 55% of customers saying they’d pay more for a better customer experience and 75% saying they expect a consistent experience over all channels, using a multichannel strategy is no longer enough. If you’re not meeting your customers’ expectations, you risk losing them.     But, that doesn’t mean brick and mortar stores can afford to ignore omnichannel strategies either. We believe that every retailer should be considering an omnichannel solution. Switching can have impressive benefits like saving costs and improving your customer experience. And it puts you alongside the 80% of businesses currently using one.  But if you don’t care about keeping up with competitors, you also risk frustrating your advisors, losing customers, and even losing revenue by ignoring omnichannel CS strategies. So, what are you waiting for? If you’d like to learn a bit more about omnichannel CS at Gnatta you can contact us directly with any questions you might have; we’re always keen to help!