Omnichannel support is the new buzzword when it comes to digital businesses.
Some say that it is no longer just a talking point anymore. Let’s see if the base reason is valid enough for digital businesses to invest in this new and logical process.
Why do businesses need omnichannel support?
Because we need to provide options, flexibility, and seamlessness for customers.
Omnichannel support is the integration of all the channels and platforms among devices and touchpoints that a customer might use to have a seamless experience. This is different from multichannel support. Keywords here are integration and seamless.
While multichannel support gives options and flexibility by providing multiple channels, it is definitely not seamless. Different channels have different departments. Silo mentality between departments or difficulty in coordination across platforms could ultimately disrupt the customer’s conversation with the company.
Let’s have an example. The customer used the website to make a reservation for a product that they wish to buy. After a day, the customer called the physical store to see if the reserved product is ready for pickup. The store claimed that they have nothing reserved for the customer’s name and that the item was already sold out.
In our example, the business offered 2 ways for a customer to interact with the company. It’s a multi-channel support system. However, even with both channels used, the customer did not get the product that they wished to buy.
Let’s have a different scenario. The customer called the store just to make sure that the reservation they made online pushed through. They will be picking up the item at a later time.
The response of the store is similar. They said that they received no records for reservation of that item but they still have stocks left. So the customer made a reservation once again on the phone, repeating the details they already entered on the website. It is not seamless.
That is what omnichannel support aims to remove: the barriers between channels, platforms, devices, and touchpoints that the customer might use to communicate with our businesses.
Customer experience is everything
The seamlessness offered by omnichannel support provides a great experience to a customer. Let’s say that the customer in our scenarios above did not have all those bad experiences and got the information they wanted from the store and the product that they needed. That is not just a normal commercial interaction for the customer. For them, it was a great experience.
Matthew D’Uva, president and CEO of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business (SOCAP International) said, “Consumer preferences are changing a lot: Consumers today are interested in getting information when they want it, where they want it and how they want it.”
Being able to be there when, where, and how customers want it is going to be extremely beneficial for our business. It’s like being omnipresent for the customer.
CX and ROI, or a lack thereof
The ultimate goal of every business’s decision to adopt or invest in new technology or process is to maximize the return on investment.
When you provide customers a great experience, they will eventually become evangelists, which is basically free advertising. Conversely, an awful customer experience leads to losing those customers and a bad reputation online.
Evangelism and Customer Loss
The most trusted and valued words about the products and services that a business has to offer do not come from experts or brand ambassadors. It comes from evangelists. Evangelists are customers who proclaim good about their experiences with products and services. They also produce word-of-mouth advertising mostly by their own volition.
Word-of-mouth is considered the simplest form of advertising that is almost free of charge, naturally generates itself, and creates, strengthens, and spreads customer loyalty. Word of mouth is not only a cost-effective marketing phenomenon, but it also validates our future marketing endeavors making it more successful with higher returns on investment. Loyal customers especially definitely strengthen marketing efforts.
The main factor that makes a customer an evangelist is the experience. They don’t just share the products or services; they share the great experience that they had. Marketing nowadays revolves around emotions more than practicality and the greatest thing that could influence the emotions of an individual is still experience—whether good or bad.
On the other hand, losing a customer does the opposite. First, you lose the immediate value of the customer. Then, you lose the lifetime value of the customer. Lastly, getting new customers is generally more expensive than retaining existing ones.
The Linchpins: Word of Mouth and Customer Churn
Before, we used to believe that a good product sells itself. Now, living in a customer-centric digital world, a good service about a product will be sold by evangelists. They voluntarily advertise the product and produce more evangelists by doing so.
Word-of-mouth is going to spread wider and have stronger effects if it was done by evangelists. Just like real evangelists, product evangelists are trusted within the community.
Due to the consumers’ access to the internet, marketing tactics are already exposed to them and traditional marketing usually does not affect them anymore. Consumers are united by their own communities and only trust the word of other consumers especially evangelists when it comes to commerce.
If potential customers heard the evangelists raving about a company, they will be most likely be drawn to try out the products and services they offer making other marketing efforts easier.
Now, let’s talk about customer churn. Losing customers will be a very big blow to your revenue. A small percentage of customers lost can lead to half of the lost revenue. Losing customers will affect profit immediately, and future profits during the customer’s lifetime.
This would also make another huge cost in investment. For your company to sustain growth, you need to replace the lost customer. Acquiring a new customer takes several touchpoints along the marketing funnel which requires feeding more money to the marketing campaign.
Omnichannel: Stronger Customer Support
The bottom line is this: integration among different platforms, devices, and services may look like a huge investment. In the long run, having strong customer support that has omnipresence will give a great customer experience which will inspire loyalty and gives birth to evangelists.
This positivity in customer behavior will give a stronger and longer-lasting effect on the growth of the company especially on returns of investments. On the other side, failing to give a customer a good experience will make a customer churn. Customer churn will be an exponential loss in profits.
Omnichannel support is not the only way to give great experiences for our customers but it is the only way to make a seamless experience for our customers to reach us whenever, wherever, and however they want.