2021 is the Year of Omnichannel Customer Engagement – Here’s Why

Very few people have avoided the consequences of Covid-19 in their workplace. The pandemic has driven more people than ever to work from home, while forcing millions more into unemployment. Companies across industries slashed their budgets to accommodate the economic downturn, all while scrambling to meet new health guidelines and escalating customer demands.  
 
The customer panic caused by the pandemic has had lingering effects on business: companies are being called to do more with less, with over 80% of consumers expecting more empathetic or more responsive service in 2021. Fortunately, the situation is far from hopeless: omnichannel customer service answers these problems and more. 

Read on to find out how omnichannel customer service can help cut costs while improving customer service operations. 

What is omnichannel customer engagement? 

Today’s customers want to connect with their brands whenever, wherever, and however they want. This means less by phone and more on digital channels like chat, email, social media, and messaging.  

Customers also want a cohesive experience. They don’t see things in terms of “platforms” and “channels” — all they want is a direct line to the company, where they can make a new inquiry or resume whatever interaction they left off on.  

Omnichannel customer engagement connects all the key digital channels together. That means that no matter what channel the customers reach out on, the entire history of their interactions with the team will follow them. Whether they begin on email and end on Twitter, your agents will have all the information they need to provide a seamless, helpful and efficient experience. 

Recommended for you: What Does ‘Omnichannel Customer Engagement’ Mean? 

Omnichannel customer engagement has been gaining popularity across industries for its ability to streamline customer service processes and generate higher customer satisfaction. 

– Customers love omnichannel because it improves the speed of service, and they can receive more helpful, personalized support 

– Agents love the omnichannel console that puts everything they need at their fingertips, and automation features that eliminate mundane, repetitive tasks 

– Companies love omnichannel because it helps boost customer retention and lifetime value, improving the bottom line.

A study by the Aberdeen Group shows that companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. 

Recommended for you: Top 7 Customer Service Complaints & How Omnichannel Customer Engagement Can Resolve Them 

Why is 2021 the year for omnichannel customer engagement? 

Here are four of the most pressing customer service problems of 2021 and how omnichannel helps resolve them. 

1. Employees working remotely 

All over the world, across all industries, employees have been forced to work from home over the past year. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, many experts believe that this working-from-model won’t simply disappear. Global Workplace Analytics predicts that 25-30% of the workforce will be working remotely multiple days a week by the end of 2021. 

For many companies, particularly those relying on legacy phone systems in traditional call center centers, this is causing them to rethink their whole operational setup – and they’re turning to digital omnichannel to help. 

Omnichannel customer service platforms are cloud-based which means they can be easily set up and used from anywhere – all you need is an internet connection, a computer (or even just a mobile phone), and you’re good to go! 

The increase in employees working remotely has also made businesses more vulnerable to new cyber-attacks aiming to get ahold of customer and company data. Phishing attacks have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic, and ransomware fees are climbing. 

Many omnichannel platforms have security features that keep the company’s data safe from cyber-attacks, although the level of security varies. Comm100 Omnichannel is one of the most secure platforms, compliant with internationally recognized security standards including the PCI DSS, GDPR, PIPEDA, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and SOC 2 Type II. Comm100’s MaximumOn™ technology also protects against system level failures and data center failures, meaning that all conversations will remain in-tact no matter where the agents are working from.  

2. Increased query volume 

Live chat is the cornerstone of most omnichannel offerings. It’s the most popular digital channel for consumers, and it helps agents tackle increased query volume – which we know is on the rise. In our 2021 Live Chat Benchmark Report, we discovered that monthly live chats increased by 7% from 2019 to 2020. 

Live chat is the perfect tool to manage this increase in query volume for a number of reasons. Firstly, while an agent on the phone can only handle one query at a time, experienced live chat agents can handle three chats at a time without affecting chat quality – this is known as chat concurrency. 

And that isn’t all. Live chat is supported by a number of automation tools which speeds up support, meaning agents can handle more questions. Comm100’s platform also offers an agent-facing AI tool called Agent Assist to help get new agents up to speed. When a customer asks a question, Agent Assist automatically suggests agents canned responses and article suggestions to the agent so they don’t need to spend time searching for the answer. 

Recommended for you: How to Relieve your Phone Queues with Live Chat 

Some omnichannel platforms also offer chatbots which help manage increase in queries by handling all the common FAQs without any human involvement. Australian national broadband provider, Tangerine, found that Comm100’s chatbot resolves 91% of their queries without needing to escalate to an agent. As well as reducing workload, this also frees up agents to allocate their time to more complex or high-value issues that need more of their time. 

Intelligent tagging offers another solution for businesses with omnichannel customer engagement. Tickets can be tagged as high priority so that agents know where to place their immediate attention. Automated messages can also be sent out to customers giving them an approximation of wait time so that they know to expect an answer shortly. 

3. Unable to connect in person 

The inability to see customers in person has been hard on many businesses. Luckily, the very best omnichannel platforms help companies bring the brick-and-mortar experience directly into the homes of their customers with audio and video chat

Audio and video chat allows brands to establish face-to-face relationships with their visitors. It’s perfect for walking customers through resolving a complicated issue, and is a great way to showcase or demonstrate products. Audio and video chat is critical for doctors practicing telemedicine, who need a secure digital platform to conduct a consultation. It’s also the perfect resource for educational organizations. 

In 2020, with educational institutions forced to closed and their traditional open house event impossible, Dawson College used video chat to hold a virtual open house. With the click of a button, prospective students could speak with department representatives via their website. The college spoke with almost 1000 students from 17 countries and importantly, they were able to develop a personal connection that was so important to their enrolment strategy. 

“Speaking with the students over video meant our college representatives had the chance to connect with the students on a more personal level, as if they were face-to-face. This is so important to developing relationships with the students and allowed us to recreate the experience of our typical, in-person open house events.”  – Derek Gaucher, Coordinator of IT Solutions at Dawson College  

Read the full story hereDawson College Holds Virtual Open House with Video Engagement 

Audio and video chat are also accessible options for customers with visual or auditory disabilities. Unlike phone customer service, they can be accessed by customers from anywhere in the world without pesky long-distance fees. 

4. Difficulty training employees remotely 

While some businesses are having to downsize, many others are growing and hiring new agents. However, with many of us still working from home, this poses the challenge of training agents remotely. 

An omnichannel customer service platform helps tackle this problem through several ways. Because omnichannel systems unite customer history in one single console, it’s easier for agents to work independently. They can reference past customer interactions from every channel without having to dig around or ask other agents about something they may have told a customer. All the information they need is at their fingertips. 

Comm100’s agent-facing AI tool, Agent Assist, also helps new agents get up to speed quickly by suggesting answers to the agent, helping even the most junior agents support customers. 

Omnichannel customer engagement software can also help supervisors manage remote teams with tools like shift management, queue management, customizable routing, and restricted words. Managers can chat internally with agents, and can oversee communications in real-time. They have the option to join a conversation if an agent needs help, or even remove an agent from a conversation.  

Wrap-up 

Omnichannel customer service is the perfect solution for businesses facing the challenges of 2021, and beyond. When push comes to shove, it’s not only helpful — it’s critical for the seamless conversations, convenient support, and remote collaboration that today’s customers are demanding. 

Partner with Comm100 and unlock a valuable and growing revenue stream for your business in 2021.

About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Specialist at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.