In order to provide the customer with a consistent brand experience, omnichannel offers the customer the opportunity to interact with a brand through different channels. These include, for example, branches, social media, apps, web, telephone. In order for the customer to experience a holistic experience, it is necessary to bring together all contacts and information, regardless of the channel, and to offer the customer an optimal customer journey. This allows the customer to switch channels according to their wishes and needs without loss of information. This also increases customer loyalty and satisfaction. A real WOW experience!
From the company’s point of view, the main advantages lies in the broad accessibility of customers, in more transparency on customer behavior and customer wishes through the linking of several channels and thus the possibility of optimizing marketing concepts and offers.
Personally, I can share an experience where I would have liked to see a better networking of channels and processes, but instead I was very surprised and annoyed.
I wanted to cancel a contract with a large German energy partner: So I quickly logged in to the corresponding website, searched in vain for a way to cancel, called the hotline, was referred back to the website after describing my request and authentication, but with the note that you must not be logged in to get to the link to termination. So, without logging in, I followed the cancellation link, entered all data manually, from address to contract number, in order to finally reach my goal. This was definitely no WOW experience!
What does this experience mean for better customer service? And what are the advantages and disadvantages or opportunities and hurdles? In my view, the following questions play a decisive role:
What technical requirements are required?
The basic prerequisite for an omnichannel solution is the networking of all channels with each other. This is the only way to ensure that all information and interactions can be accessed regardless of the channel. And this is the only way to achieve a holistic customer experience and thus an increase in customer satisfaction and conversion rate. In addition, the transparency of business results increases for further optimization of reach and sales markets in conjunction with customer orientation.
What does this mean for my processes?
In order to build a successful omnichannel, there are two essential prerequisites in the processes. On the one hand, the processes must be designed consistently across all channels and, on the other hand, they must be linked in such a way that the process steps can be traced in real time across all systems. This is the only way to achieve a homogeneous experience for the customer when changing channels and – even more important – the necessary transparency for the customer advisor about the current issue.
What are the challenges?
The first challenge lies in the networking of the channels and, above all, the user-friendliness for the service staff. Ideally, all information and communication can be found in a user interface and can be accessed quickly and up-to-date by the employee. The same applies to information from the customer’s point of view, which must be identical across all channels.
In addition to the classic communication channels such as telephone, mail and letter, there are also online shops, social media and messengers, for example. Omnichannel is to be understood dynamically. Channels and touchpoints are changing not only in terms of number, but also in terms of usage volume. This means regular strategy adjustments and additional changes in processing. This makes it all the more important to have consistent processes for more flexible processing across different channels. With cross-channel editing, the challenge lies in the skill and training of employees in the way they communicate. An e-mail is processed differently in terms of content and scope than a chat or a reply on social media platforms or by telephone.
Omnichannel is the way of the future and offers companies a variety of advantages to future-proof themselves and increase business results. The deployment must be structured and well considered holistically from the point of view of the market, the customer but also the service employees, so as not to achieve the opposite through angry customers or employees.
„In all things, success depends on the preparations.“ (Confucius)
Ralf Dinter – Senior Consultant