Providing a great customer experience has emerged as the holy grail of competitive advantage, as traditional sources of differentiation — such as price or product — become less sustainable. This leaves customer service as the last source of competitive advantage.
Contact center managers that I have worked with over the years are already using multiple channels. This is confirmed by the Aberdeen Group, who report that 99% of contact centers are already using at least two channels to interact with clients.
Solely adopting multiple channels, however, is no longer enough for businesses to differentiate themselves in the eyes of customers. Successful contact centers stand out by using multiple channels to deliver personalized interactions, in a consistent way, across all channels and devices. This seamless integration is referred to as “omni-channel” and – although the terms multichannel and omni-channel are often used interchangeably – offering multiple channels and using them seamlessly are two very different concepts that lead to different outcomes.
Omni-channel customer experience provides significant business benefits
In an omni-channel world, the end goal is to ensure that the context and experience from each channel carries over across all other channels. This is vital as many modern consumers – including millennials – expect services that adapt to them, rather than the other way around. And they have little tolerance for complicated or unconnected processes that interrupt the flow of their customer support needs.
Companies that successfully connect all their customer service channels report an 89% customer retention rate, compared to 33% for those that do not. Some other benefits of a successful omni-channel customer experience include:
- 55% decrease in number of customer complaints
- Up to 100% improvement in first call resolution (FCR) rates
- Up to 25% increase in company revenue when compared to multi-channel contact centers; 72% increase when compared to single-channel contact centers
Enabling an omni-channel Customer Experience
In my discussions with communications service providers (CSPs) around the world, one of the greatest impediments to providing a consistent and unified omni-channel experience is the physical separation of the various channels. In most cases, when a new channel is added, it is managed by a unique, dedicated team. After a while, organizations end up with teams working in silos supporting these multiple channels, all run independently, without any collaboration. This lack of integration prevents customer service representatives (CSRs) from having access to the information needed to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently.
By eliminating the time needed to recapture lost information when customers go from one channel to another – such as the steps that a customer might have already completed using the self-care channel – CSRs can resolve issues faster.
Allowing consumers to connect however they want, wherever they are, on any device – all while maintaining a seamless communication process between channels– is a game-changing approach that keeps customers connected and can revolutionize customer care and operations.
Webinar: Learn how to deliver an omni-channel customer experience
No business can say for sure what every customer wants, but consumers have made it abundantly clear that they want multiple ways to connect with their CSP. Given the anywhere, anytime, and any device expectations of connected consumers – and the resulting business benefits – CSPs cannot afford to ignore integrated platforms that enable an omni-channel customer experience.
To learn more about delivering an exceptional omni-channel customer experience, please tune in to our webinar – “Tear Down Siloes and Build Up Loyalty: The Power of Omni-Channel”.
Additional support materialsWhite paper: Enabling an omni-channel customer experiencePress release: Nokia announces machine learning-powered customer experience solutions; sets new standard for proactive careWebpage: Nokia Service Management PlatformInfographic: Nokia Customer Care Solutions
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 Omni-channel Customer Care: Empowered Customers Demand a Seamless Experience, Aberdeen Group, October 2013  Omnichannel Customer Care, Aberdeen Group, 2013  Omni-channel Contact Center: The Smarter Way to Engage Customers, Aberdeen Group, November 2014  Omni-channel Contact Center: The Smarter Way to Engage Customers, Aberdeen Group, November 2014  Omni-channel Contact Center: The Smarter Way to Engage Customers, Aberdeen Group, November 2014