Blog · 15 Jan 2018

Be omni-channel. Get happy customers.

We're living in an increasingly futuristic world. But, as customers expect more and more, the goalposts keep shifting. Omni-channel can help organisations keep up.

Managing director, design, delivery and service operations

CEOs believe their customer service is good. But, as customers expect more and more, the goalposts keep shifting. And nowadays it’s all about omni-channel.

When we asked CEOs to rate their customer service, 42 per cent said ‘good’. A further 28 per cent said ‘excellent’. Compared to five years ago, they’re definitely right. These days, service is much better than it used to be.

But as time moves on, so do the benchmarks and expectations. In other research, we asked the customers, and only 16 per cent of them said the digital experience they got from large multinational organisations was ‘excellent’. Why the discrepancy?

It comes down to expectations. And omni-channel.

How have expectations changed?

As the comedian Keith Jensen said: ‘What Orwell failed to predict is that we’d buy the cameras ourselves, and our biggest fear would be that nobody was watching’.

Four out of five people say brands should be instantly familiar with their details, whether they’re shopping on the phone, online or in your shop. They’re happy to give you their information. But 70 per cent say that the more they tell you, the better your service ought to be.

We’re living in an increasingly futuristic world and people are growing accustomed to the benefits that brings. The speed. The personalisation. The ease.

To meet expectations, you need to be omni-channel. But what does that mean?

Omni-channel is being available 24/7

Almost three quarters of people expect you to be open all day, every day. And 57 per cent expect a full response in three hours if they tweet or post on Facebook.

So you need the agents. And you need to be able to scale them up and down with the demand on any specific day.

Omni-channel is linked-up systems

You should be able to switch from call, to text, to tweeting, and still get the same person. Or at least someone who knows your issue inside out. You shouldn’t need to repeat your problem three times on the same call.

This means that it’s not enough to just have these channels: you need to make sure that the teams are working together and sharing information across their software. You need to be thinking of quicker and more effective ways of verifying someone’s identity, which should then link you to a central database. Biometrics and voice recognition will help with this a lot.

Omni-channel is proactive

If someone drops out of a journey on your website because their purchase didn’t work, or clicks the ‘not helpful’ button at the bottom of a page, 78 per cent of people think you should get in touch and ask if you can help.

We used to believe that this would steer us into the uncanny valley: that it was creepy to know what a customer’s favourite purchases are, or how often they visit our site. But when it’s helping our customers out, it seems that’s exactly what they want.

Omni-channel is about the full journey

It’s not just about one call or one purchase. A truly well-rounded experience is excellent whether they’re researching the product, checking up on their delivery date, or making a complaint.

Especially on days like Black Friday, as my colleague wrote about recently.

If you’d like to read the full research, you can download our white paper, which looks at the eight technology trends set to impact an organisation’s customer experience.

If you want to know more about what consumers really expect from the organisations they buy from, you can read our new research. Or see how we can help you with your customer relationship management.