Why should you be using omnichannel customer service?
by Andy Connell

8th August 2018

Consumer behaviour is evolving, thanks primarily to technological advancements and innovations that have enabled shoppers to be “connected” 24/7 with the “store”. Customers no longer have to rely on retailers and brands to showcase their products and services—we simply do the research online, on our own, and piece together our opinion on whether to complete a transaction with that particular retailer.

Consumers are often more knowledgeable about a brand’s products than the sales team whose job it is to sell them. Consider that 81% of shoppers said they do research online before making a purchase in-store.  This is not to say that the sales team is not doing their job properly. It is more to say that with the available resources, customers can easily gain specialist knowledge of this particular product or service.

The research doesn’t stop once consumers are in-store, however. A massive 90% of customers said they use their mobile devices while shopping in-store, performing such tasks as price comparisons, looking up product information, and checking reviews.

So while the vast majority of transactions still occur in-store, the way consumers are arriving at those purchases has changed. And perhaps more significantly, brick-and-mortar sales continue to slide while e-commerce sales—mobile in particular—are surging. This is particularly evident within the UK High Street and the change of customer trends which have seen huge brands including House of Fraser and of course Toys-R-Us struggle.

What does this mean for retailers? It needs to show that it’s more important than ever for your brand to have a presence and to be available to shoppers in multiple channels, especially to bridge the in-store, web, and mobile experience. But that’s just the start.

What customers expect:

To be successful and win the loyalty of the omnichannel customer, each experience must be smooth, consistent, and easy, from product discovery to post-purchase support. Customers have high expectations, and managing those expectations seems like a huge challenge for most retailers—and this should be the feeling. Things get complex fast when you consider what it might take to integrate your various business systems (CRM, OMS, ERP, etc.), and align staff and processes (from IT and marketing to the warehouses and stores). But this all happens behind the scenes, and consumers don’t care. At the end of the day, the consumer wants the product or service that they paid for when they asked for. How it is fulfilled is not usually their concern.

In fact, most consumers don’t know what the term “omnichannel” means. They expect to have the same hassle-free experience no matter how they engage with your brand, along any part of their journey. And when they don’t, they’ll let you know. Unfortunately, it can be seen that customers are quicker to relay negative feedback than positive. However, negating this negative feedback is as important as gaining the inevitable positives.

It’s when a customer has had a negative experience that appropriate service must be provided. This is your last opportunity to win over a dissatisfied customer. Otherwise, they’re on to find another retailer that can satisfy their needs— and they certainly don’t lack for options in today’s intensely competitive retail environment through websites such as Trustpilot and on-site review services such as Amazon etc.

What to take from this:

Knowing the type of support is required by customers and delivering on it are two entirely different things. Most brands haven’t integrated their communication across support channels, which leads to a disjointed experience for the customer. As a result, customers become frustrated with the level of service they’re receiving from retailers.

Consider these statistics:

• 89% of customers get frustrated when they have to repeat information to multiple service representatives.

• More than 35% of customers expect to contact the same customer service representative in any channel.

• 61% of customers haven’t been able to easily switch from one channel to another when interacting with customer service.

• 64% of customers expect to receive real-time assistance regardless of the customer service channel they use.

What’s needed to ensure that your customers are satisfied with the service they receive? The process starts by assessing the people, processes, and systems you currently have in place for customer service. This is where CLCA Call Direct comes come in. Contact us today to discuss how we can support your business processes with our omnichannel specialists.

enquiry@clcacalldirect.com | +44 (0)333 600 5005