You may be hearing the term omnichannel a lot recently. So, what is it and why is it so prevalent?
Many businesses are implementing or have implemented multichannel business solutions to ensure their customers can connect with them in a variety of ways. As it turns out, that’s not enough anymore. Customer demands are rapidly and continuously evolving, which means how you communicate with your customers, most notably, your contact center, needs to adapt just as quickly. Omnichannel plays a key role in helping you do just that.
Let’s take a deeper look at what omnichannel really means for your business, your employees and your customers, and why it’s not just some fancy buzz word.
Customer experience is king
People don’t buy products, they buy experiences. We’ve touched on this topic before, but it’s worth repeating. Customers nowadays are not loyal to any one brand or business, they expect to be served how, when and where they want. Advances in technology have transformed “where” and “how” dramatically in the last several years. Businesses today need to be prepared to meet customers via these channels, such as social media, text, web and more, or customers will be going elsewhere.
Here is where omnichannel solutions come into play. They help to build a seamless customer journey across every channel, ensuring customers receive the superior service they want, no matter how they choose to interact with your business.
It’s more than multichannel
However, just connecting with your customers across all channels isn’t enough. According to Forbes, multichannel is “table stakes for modern businesses.”1 Omnichannel is not multichannel, meaning it can do more than simply allowing your customers to interact with your contact center agents. Omnichannel solutions unify all of these channels together so your employees can seamlessly switch from an online chat, to a voice call, to a text message, all within the same conversation and with contextual awareness of all interactions.
This tactic elevates the customer experience, putting your business above the others that may still be using a siloed, multichannel solution. It also provides you with a comprehensive view of the entire customer journey, not just portions of it, so refining that journey to best suit your customer’s needs can be a continual process.
Your customers are already there
The biggest reason omnichannel is so important? Your customers are already there. According to Marketing Week, the average consumer 15 years ago typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today, consumers use an average of almost six touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. At this point, you don’t have a choice in which channels your customers choose. They’re already using all channels, and your agents need to be prepared to meet them there. Multichannel environments fall short, as agents tend to be limited to a single channel, which is frustrating for customers who want a seamless experience. Enabling your agents to provide exceptional service throughout the entire customer journey – not just specializing in a segment of it – will show your customers that you understand their needs and deserve their loyalty.
Businesses that adopt an omnichannel strategy, reportedly achieve a 91% higher year‑over‑year increase in customer retention on average compared to organizations that do not according to Aspect Software2. Omnichannel solutions are enabling businesses to meet rapidly changing customer demands, by empowering agents to provide exceptional service throughout the entire customer journey. Omnichannel is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s quickly becoming a necessity to retain customers and remain competitive.
It’s always an honor to be recognized for our efforts to deliver best-in-class solutions, but our recent recognition for Unified Communications Product of the Year from TMC for our XCaaS Avaya solution, really points to the advantages our customers gain from our close partnership with Avaya.
A little background – Windstream introduced its first Powered-by-Avaya XCaaS solution in 2013. Since then, our partnership with Avaya has helped us improve the customer experience for a large and growing number of customer-facing enterprises. That’s what led to Avaya selecting Windstream as its 2016 “Cloud Partner of the Year.”
Channeling Frank Sinatra, “The best is yet to come… you think you’ve seen the sun, but you ain’t seen it shine.”
This was certainly the case. Our latest XCaaS Avaya solution adds Avaya Breeze and Oceana, netting us the Product of the Year award. Windstream Enterprise is the first U.S. XCaaS provider to incorporate Breeze and Oceana as part of its contact center services strategy to empower companies to migrate their premises-based systems to the cloud.
Why Breeze and Oceana? The Avaya Breeze development platform is a virtual toolbox of pre-programmed tools and snap-ins that can accommodate just about any business process. Avaya Oceana is built on Breeze, and is a remarkable omnichannel solution that:
By excelling at hosting it in the cloud, a wealth of additional benefits become available. Specifically, moving Avaya to the cloud replaces capital-intensive investments with a cost-effective, flexible and scalable “pay-as-you-grow” OPEX solution, and the ability to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies without incurring excessive CAPEX costs.
Equally important, because delivering a superior customer experience is more than just an 8-5 job, XCaaS Avaya must be “always on” and available to serve customers whenever they demand it. That is precisely what Windstream Enterprise delivers: state-of-the-art tools like Breeze and Oceana which help our customers deliver a more superior customer experience.
That comes from years of XCaaS experience on our part. WE view the TMC Unified Communications Product of the Year Award, not just as recognition for our creating an exceptionally performing Avaya solution, but the culmination of years of partnering with Avaya to deliver the best customer experience available, and Windstream Enterprise UCaaS customers are the direct beneficiaries.
Given our momentum, you can count on much more Windstream Enterprise excellence ahead. We are confident “the best is yet to come”.
The customer experience is essential to an organization’s success (or even survival) today, but even a good CX may not be enough to set your business apart from the competition. Consumers today demand exceptional service, and businesses are definitely taking notice. According to a recent Dimension Data Benchmarking Report, 82% of companies surveyed recognize customer experience as a competitive differentiator, with 77% recognizing the customer experience as their most important strategic performance measure.
But just how can your business rise above the status quo and provide an experience so personalized and effective that your customers will not only prefer to continue working with you over your competitors, but will also refer their colleagues, family and friends? One way is by implementing a seamless, cloud-based contact center as a service solution (CCaaS) and following these three methods to boosting the customer experience.
Make every customer interaction count — Omnichannel functionality
And I really do mean every interaction. Your customers don’t just interact with your business through your website or over the phone. In addition to contacting you by voice, they may also connect with you via SMS text, chat, or over social media. As a result, you need to ensure you enable them with great, integrated experience across all channels. In many cases, they may interact with you across more than one channel, so it’s critical that you are able to correlate those interactions and provide a seamless experience across every channel. Contact center solutions that include multi-channel/omni-channel functionality can help you personalize every touch point and customer interaction to build the ultimate customer experience, tailored to their unique and evolving preferences and needs.
Gather better customer data to make better decisions
The customer journey is different for every business, and every customer, so don’t just take a standard “one-size fits all” approach. Make sure you’re gathering rich data across all channels to gain a complete picture of your customer journey so you can make more informed decisions. Look for a contact center solution with advanced features and reporting capabilities that help you capture big-data and leverage advanced technology (like artificial intelligence) to correlate and provide contextual awareness across all customer interactions.
Make it More than Easy – for Everyone
Optimize your internal processes while making it easier for your customers to get the right information from the right channels at just the right time. Look for a solution and a provider that can deliver advanced, yet intuitive tools that help you build custom integrations to connect internal and external processes, without the need for hiring outside vendors or developers.
And by making things easy for your agents, you empower them to be the best that they can be, boosting their confidence level and empowering them to achieve their own objectives. So you see, ease of use is win-win for everyone.
Make the CX/CCaaS customer connection
Creating the ultimate customer journey, tailored specifically to the needs of your customers, may sound like a daunting task but with the right cloud based contact center solution you can easily do just that.
Of course, the process of making it all work is a bit more complex than these three simple steps. But with the right partner, capable of delivering a complete solution including a high performance, reliable, secure network to bring it to you via the cloud, you’ll be closer than ever to setting your company and your people apart from the rest.