The Case for Omnichannel Customer Service

Customer service and how businesses can improve their delivery of it needs to be brought into the spotlight. 

Businesses have long been (and always will be) defined by their customer service, whether they like it or not. Especially when 61% of customers surveyed would change brands after just one bad customer service experience. But 93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from a business if they’re given excellent support.1

Let’s dive into how and why omnichannel customer service can bring you renewed and increased customer satisfaction.

What sets it apart from multi-channel support?

The defining factor of omnichannel customer service is how it enables a seamless customer experience.

Having multi-channel support capabilities isn’t good enough for the average consumer anymore. 86% of customers expect communication with their customer service agents to be streamlined and across multiple channels, from social media to text messages.2 

They want the ability to engage on multiple channels and receive a smooth and consistent experience — they want their support to be based around an “omnichannel” model. 

Agents should have access to customer information and purchase histories, especially if any of them have been sourced through automated channels. Customers should be able to bounce from one contact point to another, receiving information in any way they find most convenient without having to repeat themselves.

Start with the customer

Any attempt to rethink a business process requires starting with outcomes. In this case, that means looking at what your customers want and how to fulfil those needs. 

“Customer wants” are primarily defined by flexibility and personalisation. They want access to knowledgeable agents and automated/rapid solutions to simpler problems. They want the ability to access agents through a number of different channels, and they don’t want to have to repeat themselves. More than anything, customers want good outcomes and good experiences.

Here, we’ll expand on the factors your omnichannel customer service needs to have to best address your customers’ needs.

1. Contact options and continuity 

Not all customer preferences for communication channels are the same and not every problem can be solved in the same way, or via the same channel. 

Resetting a password or looking up user instructions won’t require the same level of input as resolving a major error — and customers aren’t going to want the hassle of a phone call and wait times to simply access their account. But even for major errors, there isn’t a set way to go about it.  

Phone calls, live chat and email are all dominant choices, and should form the backbone of your customer service capabilities. As we’ll get back to, this does demonstrate a preference for access to real “human” customer service agents.

2. Quick, 24/7 response time

Part of omnichannel flexibility is access. Admittedly, quick response times and 24/7 support are not as critical for every business. For example, a user might forgive a game developer for not responding to a support query immediately — but a bank or health service provider can’t view slow response times as an option. And customers value speed.

With that said, 59% of customers value a personalised experience over a fast one. Although you need to be quick, it cannot come at the cost of quality. The trick is providing the right kind of service to each customer — and that comes back to options and continuity between those options.

3. Access to knowledgeable agents

If appropriately linked to an information capturing system, automated tools can provide valuable front-line support, delivering fast access and simple resolutions. Automation can enable customer service agents to be more efficient with their time. 

But automation has not replaced the customer service agent in the eyes of the customer, and some capabilities are universally disliked. The number one reason that customers dislike calling companies is an inability to talk to a real person immediately.  

At the end of the day, customers want to speak to qualified, real people. Humans crave social interactions. Even if they’d rather talk to that person through a live-chat portal, access to knowledgeable and personable representatives is critical to a successful customer service operation. 

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Figuring out how to align customers with the right representative at the right time is central to effective and efficient customer service delivery. 

Suggested reading: Remember: there isn’t just one form of customer service. Most brands divide their customer service function into four categories — Level 0-3. Read our blog What is the Best Customer Service Model in 2023? for more detail!

4. Good outcomes — start-to-finish

Customer service is only called “customer service” when something goes wrong. Otherwise, it’s considered “customer experience.” Ultimately, positive customer interactions are going to have a bigger, better impact than fast access to a call centre. 

Best practices to have that happen include:

  • Providing information: From the point of first contact through to customer onboarding and ongoing outreach, supply detailed information that will allow customers to solve minor issues and properly engage with your product/service. Create manuals, FAQ pages, explainer videos and more — all easily accessible online. 
  • Proactively problem-solving: If you identify a problem, don’t wait for customer service calls. Get out there and resolve issues. Get in touch with your customers before they contact you to let them know about a problem and how it’s going to be solved. 
  • Building quality: A high-quality product or service will inherently require less support. The real foundations of a quality customer service strategy is delivering a quality outcome to customers. Don’t try and paper over poor foundations with a customer service team.

Customers want quality and simplicity. Ultimately, they want products and services that work, and the easy ability to access information if a problem arises. 

Self-service channels (and rich information resources) make it easier for customers to engage with your customer service teams — if and when it’s necessary. They will also reduce the burden on your customer service agents, allowing you to have a smaller and more effective team.   

5. Bespoke customer journeys

What customers want are outcomes tailored to their specific needs, which is well met by a flexible framework that can be deployed to match a wide range of customer priorities. However, by looking at your specific customers, your business can hone in on a more specific set of requirements.

For example, customer service priorities can be dramatically split along generational lines. Millennials and Gen Z prioritise faster, on-demand interactions done over chat, while older customers are more likely to prefer phone calls.

Ask yourself questions like: 

  • What is the average age of my customer? 
  • Is 24/7 support essential or “nice to have”?
  • What volume of customer service calls are expected?
  • Does the need for customer support fluctuate regularly? How often/how much?
  • Does my product require technical support?
  • How are customers trying to engage with my brand today?

Then ask your customers questions like: 

  • What are your top three priorities when seeking customer service?
  • What is your preferred channel of customer service communication?
  • What are the primary issues you have needed customer support to resolve?
  • What does good customer service look like to you?

By doing the above, you can build yourself a bank of valuable customer data to help inform what your customer service should include to best meet their needs. You also have the added benefit of displaying a high level of customer care, as your consumers will appreciate being asked for their inputs and feedback.

How we can help

Brands need cost-effective ways to deliver positive experiences on the right channels at the right time. We believe that an omnichannel customer service model is the way forward — and outsourcing that support to a trusted partner can only guarantee efficiency.

At Odondo, we’re determined to reinvent how customer service is delivered. We have pioneered a distributed approach to scalable, omnichannel customer service delivery. There’s no better time for your business to examine your approach to customer service and realign with technological possibilities. 

If you’re ready to take the first step towards omnichannel customer service, get your customer service outsourcing quote from us today.

1  40 Customer Service Stats to Know in 2022 

2 100+ Essential Customer Service Statistics & Trends for 2023 

Aamir Baloch

Aamir is one of the Co-Founders at Odondo, where he obsesses over the details to deliver a strong and compelling proposition for each of his clients.

Prior to Odondo, he was CTO at one of the UK's largest price comparison websites, with contact centres in the UK and India. In his spare time, he loves reading, politics, tennis, and playing the piano (badly).

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