Chances are, when getting in touch with a business, you can choose your preferred contact method from a number of options. While convenient and beneficial for us as consumers, from a business perspective it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the constantly emerging new comms technologies.
Whether customers prefer to communicate via a web chat or simply pick up the phone, they should be provided with the same standard of customer experience. And if they get in touch with your business multiple times using different platforms, it’s important that you have visibility across all these communications so you can provide consistent, accurate and up-to-date information every time. So how can you provide a seamless, intuitive and unified omnichannel customer experience?
Unify internal and external communications
When a customer gets in touch with a query, you’ll need to access their account details, relevant information to the enquiry they’re pursuing, as well as any relevant internal communications, all in one place and readily available. This should be the case regardless of the colleague they’re dealing with or platform they’re using. Working from either one unified CRM system or integrating your customer-to-business comms with your colleague-to-colleague comms can help create a seamless backend experience. It also allows for information to be shared and extracted in real time to minimise customer waiting time. You could even go a step further and create a front-facing customer portal so they can self-serve their information needs without seeking assistance from the business. This can help alleviate pressure on your internal teams.
Is your team up to speed?
Staff training sounds like an obvious factor in providing a quality customer experience, but this is not to be overlooked. Don’t be tempted to add more channels to your toolkit just to keep up with competitor offerings, as this often leads to internal training and development lagging behind implementation, putting your customer experience at risk. Staff should have a comprehensive understanding of every channel they’re expected to use and the customer-facing etiquette you expect from them.
Openness and interoperability
While offering a wider range of channels gives customers more choice in how they interact with you, having multiple accounts and platforms to maintain can be a source of frustration for many businesses. However, this doesn’t need to be a barrier or cause unnecessary complications. There are simple collaboration tools available, such as Microsoft Teams, to combine different elements, including email, web conferencing, social media, video, instant messaging, so operations can be managed from one central platform. Increasingly, vendors appear to be using APIs and moving towards open architecture development so they’re able to ‘plug in’ multiple other channels and make their solution more attractive to customers.
It can seem like there are lots of daunting technical and logistical obstacles to overcome when diversifying your comms channels offering, but cloud technology has helped many businesses to implement new channels and run updates more easily. The cloud allows quicker and simpler deployment by allowing businesses to run services remotely from a data centre simply using an internet connection, removing the need for time consuming manual updates.
Adopting an omnichannel approach whilst keeping a high standard of customer experience is simply a case of worker smarter, not harder. To find out more download our whitepaper; The Future of Business Communications.