Here are five helpful tips to transform your customer service from limited-channel to omnichannel (and reach more customers).
One of the best ways to provide an excellent customer service experience is making it as easy as possible for customers to get in contact with your customer support agents. Implementing an omnichannel customer service strategy that lets you manage customer interactions on multiple communication channels can make your customer support services much more convenient and accessible for your customers.
To help you start leveraging an omnichannel approach to customer engagement, we’ll take a look at what omnichannel customer service is, its benefits, and five proven tips that you can use to create an optimized omnichannel customer experience.
What does omnichannel customer service mean?
Omnichannel customer service simply means providing customers with multiple options for contacting your customer service team.
For instance, providing customer support via messaging channels like SMS or live chat, phone calls, and social media apps is an omnichannel approach to customer service. In addition to providing your customers with multiple touchpoints for contacting customer service agents, self-service support resources such as a knowledge base, an FAQ page, and automated chatbots can also serve as valuable elements of an omnichannel customer service strategy.
Why omnichannel customer service is effective and increasingly necessary
Taking a multichannel approach to customer service is something that can offer a variety of benefits that we will cover in detail below.
Thanks to these numerous benefits, the popularity of omnichannel customer service is rapidly increasing. Customer expectations regarding omnichannel customer service have been on the rise lately as well, with 78% of customers reporting that they prefer to choose from a variety of engagement channels for support, according to data from Salesforce.
The same Salesforce report also shows that 40% of customers won’t do business with a company if they cannot use their preferred channels. With that said, meeting customer expectations is not the only benefit of omnichannel customer service. Some other benefits of taking a multichannel approach to customer service include:
Supports your customers where they are
The most straightforward benefit of omnichannel customer service is the fact that it allows customers to contact your support team using the channels that they are already most comfortable with.
Requiring customers to contact your company via email or phone may not seem like too big of an ask, but remember that for every customer contacts your brand for support, there are likely several others who will decide that those legacy options for contacting customer support are too much of a hassle. They might prefer Instagram or Twitter for customer service.
Make customer service as convenient as possible by meeting customers where they are via omnichannel customer support. If not, you could miss out on a lot of opportunities to change a customer’s brand experience with your company from negative to positive.
Resolves your customers’ needs faster
When you make it more convenient for customers to find the answers that they need, you reduce wait times and resolve your customers’ needs much faster.
Resolving customer issues as quickly as possible is a vital objective for any company that hopes to optimize customer satisfaction. According to data from HubSpot, 90% of customers rate immediate responses as “important” or “very important” when they have a customer service question.
If you hope to meet these customer expectations, your entire customer service process needs to be an efficient and streamlined experience. Offering support across multiple communication channels — complimented by automation and templates — is an effective step toward accomplishing this all-important goal.
Dealing with angry or frustrated customers? Check out our guide to dealing with angry cusotmers over email.
Increases customer loyalty
The ultimate objective of great customer service is to increase customer loyalty. Customers take time to contact a brand’s customer support contact center when they are experiencing an issue, either before or after a purchase. If their issue is not resolved in a timely and effective manner, customers could decide that your brand is no longer worth doing business with.
Offering your customers multiple ways to get in touch with your customer service team isn’t the only ingredient for maintaining customer loyalty, but it is a key component nonetheless. Making it as simple and convenient as possible for customers to contact your company allows you to resolve customer issues much faster, and increases the likelihood that customers with issues will contact you in the first place. Both of these components can go a long way towards boosting customer satisfaction and ultimately customer loyalty.
Want to get a gauge of your brand’s customer loyalty? Learn how to calculate net promoter score (NPS).
Reduces customer churn rates
It goes without saying that boosting customer loyalty also means reducing customer churn rates. When you are able to provide a streamlined and satisfactory experience to customers who are having issues with your products or services, it’s less likely that those issues will cost you the customer.
If the support process is seamless for the customer, their experience will be positive — and positive customer experience reduces churn. An omnichannel customer service strategy can be an exceptional tool for helping you turn customer issues into satisfactory outcomes, boosting customer retention in the process.
Differentiates your brands from its competition
There’s no denying the fact that ecommerce store owners are currently experiencing more than their fair share of challenges. Between stiff competition from ecommerce giants like Walmart and Amazon, and mounting global supply chain challenges, drawing in enough customers to pay the bills has never been harder. While there is only so much that store owners can do to combat rising prices and supply shortages, differentiating yourself from the competition is much more feasible.
Despite the numerous benefits that it provides to companies and customers alike, omnichannel customer service is still relatively new and unique in the world of ecommerce. Your brand might not be the only one in its industry offering omnichannel support, but you can guarantee that many of your competitors haven’t incorporated it yet. This makes omnichannel customer support a great way to differentiate your brand from its competition, helping attract more customers during these challenging times.
5 tips for building world-class omnichannel customer service
The benefits of omnichannel customer service make it a stand-out customer support best practice for ecommerce. However, implementing an effective omnichannel customer service strategy is something that requires the right tools and know-how. To help you get started, here are five tips for building world-class omnichannel customer service.
1) Know your target audience(s) inside and out
Customer data is the fuel that powers omnichannel customer service and customer service at large. When you know your target audience inside and out, you can fine-tune the messaging across the different digital channels that you use to provide customer support.
For one, designing your messaging around your customer data allows your brand to offer a consistent experience across multiple channels. Knowing the specific needs and pain points of your target audience is also essential for setting up automated customer service workflows, and self-service customer support options such as FAQ pages and automated chatbots.
Finally, analyzing customer data for insights into your audience’s unique needs and pain points will help your support team provide a more personalized experience to the customers that they assist.
2) Understand how all your service channels connect
Before you can begin offering efficient customer service across multiple digital channels, you first need to get familiar with how each one of those channels works, how they can work together, and the best way to utilize each channel.
For instance, you may decide that routing customers with more complex issues from live chat to a call center is the best way to use these two channels in tandem. Whatever system you decide to implement, a thorough understanding of how to use the various channels in your omnichannel customer service strategy — both individually and as part of your overall support network — is key to creating effective omnichannel support.
3) Centralize all your conversations using customer support software
One of the only drawbacks of omnichannel customer service is the fact that requiring support agents to manage customer conversations across multiple channels can make their job much more tedious. Thankfully, customer support software solutions (also called helpdesks) such as Gorgias can negate this drawback altogether.
Tools like Gorgias can centralize customer support conversations across numerous platforms and social media messaging apps into a single, user-friendly dashboard. Centralizing your customer interactions into one dashboard makes it easy for your customer service agents to switch between messaging platforms. This can boost agent productivity and ultimately improve the quality of your omnichannel customer support services.
Related: Our in-depth list of the best customer service software on the market.
4) Leverage automation to improve response time and lighten the workload for your team
Tools designed to automate tedious customer service tasks are not an absolute necessity for omnichannel customer service, but they are a huge help. Automated customer support workflow builders enable you to create canned responses to common questions such as, “where is my order?” and “how do I change my order?”
Leveraging artificial intelligence can help you determine customer intent and provide accurate, personalized responses. The benefits of these automation tools are two-fold. They allow you to speed up your response and resolution times, and also help to reduce the burden on your support team by automatically resolving a large percentage of customer issues — which would have otherwise required a manual response.
Automated workflow builders such as the one offered by Gorgias can connect with a wide range of messaging platforms, letting you create canned responses across numerous customer support channels.
Want to measure your support team’s speed, impact, and value? Check out our guide to customer service ROI.
5) Don’t be afraid of self-service customer support
Self-service resources such as FAQ pages, automated chatbots, and knowledge base pages can allow customers to quickly find the answer to common questions without having to create a support ticket.
According to data from Microsoft, 66% of customers try self-service options before they decide to contact a brand’s customer service team. Further, the same report finds that a staggering 88% of customers expect brands to have an online self-service portal nowadays.
While it is certainly important to provide customers with plenty of different channels for getting in touch with your customer service agents, self-service channels can be a valuable element of omnichannel customer service as well. Self-support resources make it easy for customers to find answers to common issues while also reducing your team’s support ticket volume.
Gorgias makes omnichannel customer service possible with the click of a button
As the world’s most cutting-edge and comprehensive customer support solution for ecommerce stores, Gorgias offers everything you need to implement omnichannel customer service with the click of a button, including:
- Centralized customer support dashboard for connecting multiple customer service channels under a single, easy-to-use platform
- Powerful integrations with a wide range of messaging platforms, including fast-loading live chat widgets for offering real-time live chat support directly from your website
- AI-powered automated workflow builder for creating canned responses to common customer service questions
Best of all, Gorgias is a low-code/no-code platform. This means that integrating all of Gorgias’s powerful features and implementing a technology-driven omnichannel customer service strategy is something that anyone can do in a matter of minutes.
If you would like to see for yourself how Gorgias empowers ecommerce brands to offer exceptional omnichannel customer service, sign up for Gorgias today.