Research shows that companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. So it’s little surprise that many companies are on the look-out for a strong omnichannel solution that suits their needs and goals.
Shopping for an omnichannel solution can be intimidating. Your omnichannel platform should help your company achieve its objectives and key results (OKRs). It should be easy to implement, and provide a solid return on investment (ROI). On top of that, the right omnichannel vendor should make it easy to show proof of a successful program.
So, what should you look for when shopping for a digital omnichannel customer solution? What are the hallmarks of a good omnichannel solution, that—when properly identified—will help you deliver an exceptional, consistent, and reliable customer experience? Use this ready-to-use checklist of evaluation criteria to help you search for the best platform for your business.
- Provide an omnichannel view of the customer. Any omnichannel customer service platform should give you a single view of customer engagement across all digital channels. This is the definition of omnichannel, and non-negotiable when shopping for an omnichannel solution. The solution that you choose should have a comprehensive console to receive omnichannel interactions. This console will be the center of your daily operations, so it is important that it is user-friendly.
- Accommodate your most valuable digital channels. Consider your go-to customer service channels. Whether it’s live chat or LinkedIn messaging, your omnichannel customer engagement platform should incorporate the digital channels your customers use most.
- Integrate with your CRM and other core systems. Each channel you add means a new source of customer data. Your digital omnichannel platform should be able to integrate with popular CRM platforms such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, turning your CRM into a true knowledge hub.
- Create and bundle tickets across channels. No matter which channel your customer reaches out from, you will have to assign this communication to an agent. Your digital omnichannel solution should allow you to bundle tickets if a customer reaches out on two different channels about the same issue. This allows you to improve efficiency and provide the customer with a cohesive experience.
- Enable custom routing. Depending on the structure of your contact center, you might be used to routing queries based on several different factors. Your omnichannel solution should allow you to set up custom routing rules that can be programmed based on region, customer status, agent skillset, and more. That way, the right agent will receive the right customer query (plus that customer’s entire omnichannel history) every time.
- Include a Knowledge Base. Digital omnichannel solutions should include an external-facing knowledge to help your customers find answers to their frequently asked questions. It should also include an internal-facing knowledge base to help train your agents, give them easy access to canned messages, and fuel your chatbot responses.
- Include audio and video chat. If there’s anything that 2020 has taught us, it’s the importance of video chat. The COVID-19 storm brought about changes to the virtual landscape that have made it more critical than ever for your agents to implement video or audio calls to communicate effectively. Not only do these measures help your customers get the services they need from home, it can also greatly improve your FCR rates and handle times.
- Include robust reporting. Without comprehensive reporting capabilities, it is very difficult to prove that your customer engagement platform is helping you achieve your metrics. Robust reporting is necessary to tie omnichannel strategy, efforts, and results back to corporate goals. It will also help you evaluate your customer service performance so that you can implement any necessary changes.
- Deploy chatbots on all digital channels. Chatbots have proven their value by handling 68% of chats on live chat and earning a higher customer satisfaction score than agent-only chat interactions. When searching for an omnichannel customer service provider, choose one that lets you apply this technology across other channels like SMS texting and social messaging.
- Offer co-browsing. With your customer’s permission, co-browsing lets your agents see what the customer is seeing on their screen. This allows them to interact with their web browser to walk them step-by-step through an issue resolution. This intimate, one-on-one approach improves your first contact resolution rate, lowers handle time, and makes the customer feel like a VIP. If it’s an option that is available through your omnichannel provider, why not offer it?
- Leverage agent-facing AI. Artificial intelligence isn’t just for chatbots. Advanced customer engagement platforms use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to read what the customer is typing in real-time and recommend a response to your agents, whether it be from canned messages, internal or external knowledge bases, or programmed chatbot responses. This AI application greatly reduces or even eliminates the time it takes your agents to search for answers and then type them out. It also increases concurrency and frees up their time to spend on conversations that require more personal attention.
Digital omnichannel is no longer an added perk in the customer service landscape—It’s exactly what buyers expect. While digital platforms are having their heyday, phone use for customer service has steadily decreased over the past six years, according to Forrester. Experts say that that this number will dip even further as customers increasingly adopt digital channels like web chat.
By setting up the right digital omnichannel solution for your company, you will not only be on the way to reducing your costs but also having a more positive, competitive customer experience. (Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.)
This blog post is a snippet from our eBook, Mastering Omnichannel CX. Download the full eBook to learn how you can successfully implement a digital omnichannel strategy.
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