Understanding and Utilizing Omni-channel Care in Your Customer Service

It's exciting when disparate parts become a whole, whether that is tributaries into river, parts into a car, or many voices into a cohesive customer service platform. Think of how in old-timey science fiction, especially in cartoons, there was always a fully-automated machine that would swoop a person off a bed, throw them into some kind of tube, and a million robot hands would wash them, brush their teeth, and dress them. Just like that, they were ready to go. It seemed pretty sweet to those of us that don’t like to get out of bed until the last minute. Which is, you know, most of us.

The cool part is that there were a lot of different parts, doing all sorts of different things, but to the person, it was just one tube. Everything worked together.

That’s sort of how omni-channel customer care should work, except that, with rare exceptions, you won’t be dressing your customers.

Omni-channel care means employing every part of your digital and physical marketing, sales, and customer service efforts to provide care and service to followers, leads, and customers: anytime, anywhere.  It’s a unified front that allows for a personalized, attentive, and informative digital customer care that funnels people through the buyer’s journey.

In order to do that, you need to have every aspect speak with one voice and one message, and make sure that there you’re providing seamless service across all fronts. All aspects have to complement each other, so that your Twitter feed a follower is looking at during the Awareness stage leads them to the FAQ they are reading during Consideration, and then to the sales rep during Decision. This kind of service will carry over through the duration of their being a customer.

All the information flows together, in a way that seems effortless to the customer. If not, for them it would be like if they fell into their Morning Helper Robot, and it tried to jam on three pairs of socks but no pants, while the showering bot insisted they were already clean. It would be chaos, and they wouldn’t use it again. Omni-channel care helps you avoid that.

How to Make Omni-Channel Care Work for Your Company

Of course, having a cohesive omni-care approach is easier said than done. We’ll look at a few tips, then show an example of what this can look like in practice.

  1. Solidify your company voice. Or, perhaps, make it clear what you want your customer care to accomplish. Obviously, “better customer service and more sales” is the ultimate goal, but you have to understand exactly what those goals mean to you? Is it pushing sales? It is providing information and assuming that people will choose your product? Whatever it is, you want that consistent approach throughout social media, on your website, through your CSRs, and even bots. That doesn’t mean monotone; different channels have different angles. But it means everyone pulling from the same rope.
  2. Understand how to interact with your customer at each stage of your journey. Of course, different people use different channels at different stages of their journey. Each channel, each CSR, and each salesperson, needs to know how to recognize different stages, and have tailored content and messages for each of them. Pushing a sale on someone who is in the Consideration stage can backfire, just as offering starter information on someone who is ready to buy is frustrating.
  3. Automate data sharing. One way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to automate data sharing, so that if someone fills out a form to get a gated e-book, the salesperson knows what book they got, and understands their needs. If a customer has a problem, the CSR will automatically know who they have talked to, and why, and what about. Having cross-department and multi-disciplinary information flows means that you can avoid redundancy, extra questions, and delays. You let the customer know that you are walking with them on their journey, not just waiting at a cardboard table like a bored border guard to lazily grill them about where they want to go.
  4. Use technology to update statuses. If you’ve interacted with a customer on Twitter, use that throughout your relationship with them. If they have a problem that is being worked on, automate updates from engineering, so they get a DM letting them know the progress. No CSR can keep calling engineering and then calling the customer, but data sharing updates make that process automatic. Keeping in touch with customers in the medium of their choice (this can work with emails, voicemails, anything) keeps information flowing across channels, and keeps the customer enjoying their bespoke attention.
  5. Make customer feel like there is one point of contact. No one’s experience with a product is directly linear. They might be on Twitter, and then the website, and maybe a call or two with a CSR. The biggest problem with having multiple channels and multiple points of contact is that the customer can feel like they are dealing with a dozen different people (or no people at all) while they move from one channel to the other. The main point of omni-channel care is to make it seem like there is just one point of contact. Data-sharing and a consistent message helps to ensure that they aren’t starting over, and aren’t feeling whiplash.
  6. Cross over to the call center. The sales and marketing funnel are just one part of your digital customer care offering. The call center is a vital part of this, which means they have to be on the same team. They have to have the same information and the same approach. Data should be shared with them, and they should be a partner in the total experience.

Moving Through the Funnel

Let’s take a look at how this might work in practice. We’ll use a hypothetical, though it is based on the experience of many real companies. Our imaginary company sells custom-designed closet storage systems: high-scale and luxury, mostly for huge walk-in closets. They have a wide customer base, from homeowners to contractors building high-end multi-family buildings.

Their digital marketing started with longform content and social media. They’d write blog posts and white papers on issues in construction, remodeling, and design, geared around the geographic area they served. The blog posts were free; the white papers gated. Their social media would promote these, but it would do so largely by serving as a interactive channel where interested parties could ask questions about everything from how work-at-home trends influence the need for space to questions about what to put on shelves.

They’d answer, but would also direct the questioner to whitepapers and blog posts. Their other channels—a chatbox on their website, their Facebook page, etc.—would do the same. They’d use all of this to gather information on a potential client: what they were interested in, what their pain points were, and how they could help them.

They could ask, either on Twitter or on email after they downloaded a gated post, if they wanted to speak to a salesperson. This was all automated, with data sharing, so that when the salesperson did talk to them they already had all the information, and had already generated some possible solutions, in what was then a personalized and equal exchange. The lead had a ton of information, and the salesperson had an idea of their problems.

From there, they became a customer. But if they had any issues, they could call a CSR in the call center, who would also have access to what they have looked at, and what they needed. This was the same if they started asking for help on Twitter, or anywhere else.

What this did was create a comprehensive customer service experience that brought the customer through every stage of their buyer’s journey, gave them the information they needed, and started solving problems before there was even an initial phone call. It used all channels to analyze what a customer needed and provide a personalized solution. It was the dressing tube of the future, even if it was just for an old analogue closet.

The Benefits of Omni-Channel Care

Customers love omni-channel care, even if they don’t know what it is. They love it because it is exactly consumer in the digital age demand: a tailored approach to their unique needs based on the information they have sought out. That’s how we work with our technology in the information age. We look for things, and expect to get it. The company that does this with their digital customer care is the one that keeps customers.

Well-orchestrated omni-channel care can, among other things:

  • Reduce annoyance
  • Make your more human
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Improve internal communication
  • Make it easier to monitor customer feedback

We may not live in an imagined future. But the one we’re actually in is just as amazing, and in some ways more challenging for companies. Those challenges have answers though: a unified voice and unified approach to digital customer care. That will convert the interested into leads, those leads into customers, and customers into dedicated brand evangelists. It might be best known as a funnel, but you can consider it a tube.

 

Using every possible channel the right way is the only way to ensure satisfied customers.  At RDI-Connect, we focus on making sure every prospect and customer is treated to the most meaningful experience across all channels so that your business attracts sales and retains positive promoters. For more information, please download our white paper Digital Customer Care in 2017: Many Channels, One Focus. Connect with us today to learn more about the services we can provide your business.

 

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Better Together: How to Align Sales and Service With the Customer Experience

ABOUT RDI

RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.