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.
Tom Daniel, director – product management for Windstream Enterprise has overall product management responsibility for its UCaaS and CCaaS service offerings, setting the direction of the product portfolio and ensuring the services continue to meet the ever-changing demands of customers. Tom joined Windstream in April 2016, bringing with him over twenty years of experience in the technology services industry. Most recently, Tom spent 11 years at Verizon where he held various product management/development and marketing roles with responsibility for several of their advanced communications service offerings including managed Unified Communications and Collaboration and UCCaaS. Prior to Verizon, Tom was president of a regional VAR which specialized in providing network integration and remote monitoring services to customers in the SMB market.
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