mastering omnichannel CX

eBook

A Success Guide

Mastering Omnichannel CX

Next Chapter Download PDF

Chapter 9

Best practices & tools for omnichannel customer service

Best practices

Best practices

Part of any successful digital program is learning and communicating best practices. Here are three digital omnichannel best practices that your agents should follow when engaging with customers whether they are a VIP or a first-time inquirer:

1. Use the entire customer journey to inform interactions

One of the key features of digital omnichannel is that agents can see the entire digital customer journey in front of them. One of the ways agents can make use of this information is personalization. Agents should address customers by name and reference past correspondence as needed. For example, “Hi Sarah! I see you spoke with Jason about this issue on Monday.” This shows consistency and lets the customer know right away that they won’t have to repeat themselves and that you understand, which helps build confidence and loyalty.

Agents can also use the customer journey, CRM, and web activity including shopping cart data to inform upselling and cross-selling initiatives in real-time.

2. Let the customer guide the experience (stay on their preferred channel)

Unless instructed otherwise, agents should always respond to customers on the same channel as the original inbound request. After all, the whole point of digital omnichannel is to make customer interactions a seamless, not aggregate effort. Some situations where it may be appropriate to switch channels are:

Switching from a public platform to private secure messaging. This channel switch might be appropriate if a customer has reached out publicly on social media about

a matter that’s private or that will involve you asking for personal data as a form of identity verification. In this case, your agent may need to switch to a one-on-one private platform, whether that be via direct messaging on the same social platform or switching to SMS, live chat, or email. If this type of switch has to happen, the agent should inform the customer publicly that the switch will take place, then initiate the private chat so the customer doesn’t have to reach out a second time.

Switching from live chat to video chat. Some customers will be happy to oblige in video chat, where others may prefer faceless contact. Ask your customer what they would prefer so they are not caught off guard by an incoming video call. Invite your customer to engage in a video or audio chat as an added value offer, not to uproot or inconvenience them.

Switching from a chatbot to an agent. If a customer asks to switch from a chatbot to an agent, always grant this request whenever there is an agent available. This doesn’t have to involve channel switching, and your agents will already have any data collected by the chatbot about the query at the ready so the conversation can continue without disruption.

If there are no agents available, program the chatbot to let the customer know that they have notified an agent and they will respond as soon as they can. When that happens, ask if the channel they first reached out on still works for them. For example, if a customer is live chatting with a chatbot, they might prefer to hear back from the agent later over email or SMS text.

3. Follow up with key customers

Digital omnichannel empowers agents to follow up on particular customers’ queries on an as-needed basis. Schedule an automated follow-up or reengage with specific customers and VIPs as needed when they come online. For example, if a customer reaches out to your company complaining that their order was damaged in shipping not once but twice, the agent can submit a replacement order and schedule a follow-up in a week to make sure that the customer received their order intact this time. This is where proactive engagement can feel useful, not intrusive!

Pro Tip

If your chatbot is set up to be your first form of contact with your customers through live chat, SMS, or social messaging, be mindful of how your customers decide to interact with it. If you have a customer who has asked to switch to a live chat agent instead of interacting with your chatbot the last 3 times, connect them to a live agent immediately next time they are online.

Best tools

A big part of digital omnichannel is delivering the right technology to empower your agents and customers no matter where they are. Here are some of the secret weapons of digital omnichannel that you can use to take your customer service to the next level:

1. A knowledge base across channels empowers customers

Ninety-one percent of customers say that they would use a knowledge base if it met their needs. With digital omnichannel, your KB is no longer confined to your website. Instead, customers can self-serve with a chatbot, or access your KB across channels, whether on WhatsApp, live chat, SMS, or social media. Empowering customers to take matters into their own hands wherever they are will not only satisfy them, but it will also boost agent morale as they will have fewer simple, repetitive (and often boring) FAQs to attend to. Happy customer, happy agent, successful company!

2. Chatbots deliver consistent, 24/7 service across channels

Chatbots use advanced NLP (natural language processing) engines to understand conversational dialog, quickly identify intent, and take relevant action to resolve customer queries. With a digital omnichannel solution, chatbots are available at any point of digital customer contact, so they can respond to social messages just as well as live chats.

Chatbots are another resource that frees up agents from menial tasks and lets them focus on the kinds of issues that really make a difference – the kind of work that reminds them why they got into this business in the first place: to help people! If you have already established your customer’s top FAQs or have a KB, you can use these answers as the building blocks to jumpstart your chatbot experience.

3. Agent Assistance increases agent capacity across channels

Convenience often sets brands apart. Other times it’s the ability to have a delightful, human conversation. As helpful as they may be, people don’t always want to use a knowledge base or speak to a chatbot — some people just want to speak to a human that they can trust with their issue.

While engaging with a customer over any digital channel using Comm100, agents can be supported by an AI application called Agent Assist. Agent Assist first reads what the customer is typing before they’ve hit send and interprets what their query is about. Then it supplies your agent with recommended responses in real-time, pulled from canned messages, KB articles, or chatbot responses. Your agents can use this as a starting point to craft an answer before the customer even finishes typing.

This increases efficiency by combining the speed of AI with the resourcefulness of your company’s internal knowledge base and the wealth of your agents’ human, personalized experience. With the best response (and the customer’s history) at their fingertips, your agents can easily add customization and bring a valuable experience that makes your customer service so special.

Pro Tip

Comm100’s 2020 Live Chat Benchmark Report found that bots completed 68.9 percent of their chats without human involvement — a massive 165 percent increase from 2018. Useful chatbot metrics for your team to report on to improve your chatbot overtime include the percentage and number of chats taken by a chatbot, how many of these it can resolve end-to-end without agent involvement, which answers it gives most frequently, and how helpful your visitors find its answer (CSAT scores for bot interactions).

For companies that are new to AI, programs such as Comm100’s AIM (Artificial Intelligence Mastery) are available to help you see results from your chatbot as quickly as possible.