ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Making Sense of the Omnichannel Customer Experience

30 years ago there were only a couple of ways to get in touch with a company with a question, comment or concern.  You either picked up the phone and dialed or picked up the pen and paper and wrote a letter to the company.

Today we live in a much different world.  A world of instant gratification where information and answers are right at our fingertips.  But in many cases, our technology and customer experience are lagging in the dark ages.  

Making Sense of Omnichannel

If all channels are not available and if they are not talking to each other in this type of world you are setting yourself up for a potential disaster of a customer experience.  Do you allow customers to contact you through all available channels?  The most common channels to communicate with a company are (in no particular order):

  • Phone
  • Chat
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • SMS
  • Smoke signal

If you do offer all these options (outside of the smoke signal of course), then you are a step ahead of most.  However, the offer is only the first step.  The channels you offer is just a short trip that is part of a much larger journey – Customer Experience.

The way your agents respond and take care of your customers is critical to customer retention and successful longevity as a company.  Most companies have an SLA for their contact center, typically something similar to 80% of all calls answered within 20 seconds.  

Do you have defined SLA’s for all channels that you offer?  And with that, are they consistent?

For instance, if you hold yourself to an SLA of 80% of all calls answered within 20 seconds for you customer calling you on the phone but an SLA of 48 hours on emails, you are intentionally directing customers with urgent needs to call as opposed to email.  On the flipside of that, if your SLA for phones is let’s say 80% of calls within 60 seconds and your SLA is 1 hour for emails, you will direct many customers who would usually call to email knowing they’ll get a response in an hour.

You need to look at what is right your business and where you want your customers to reach out to you in the omnichannel world.  It is a delicate balance of the business and customer needs and cost and customer satisfaction.

Most of us have had an experience with a company we tried to contact with our issue through multiple channels and always found ourselves explaining what has already happened over and over again.  In an ideal world, you can see every interaction you have had with your customer, every email, chat, phone call, website visit and social interaction all accumulated and used to improve your customer’s experience.

Some companies are doing this very well, but most are lagging in creating this customer experience.  There are enterprise software solutions that address this issue and pull your customer data into one portal for your agents to understand the full picture on how to best serve your customer.

Imagine the experience of getting disconnected from a chat session, but when you contact the company again, they can start exactly where they left off without having to start over because your chat logs with the previous agent are available to the new agent.

Or imagine emailing in a question and due to lack of response you call the company on the phone.  The agent who answers looks at your account and sees that you have an unanswered email and says ‘Are you calling about the email that you sent us?  I am reading that right now one minute please’.

Wow’ing your customers in the omnichannel world is attainable and worth the effort in getting there.  The best part is it’s a win-win situation.  The customer gets an amazing WOW experience which further increase loyalty and overall spend from the customer.  At the same time by being smarter and seeing the full customer experience the company is saving countless wasted hours of going over the same information again and not continuing from where they left off.

In today’s world of instant gratification customer’s expectations of customer service are only getting more demanding and it is becoming more and more critical to meet these demands to stay competitive.

If you take the time and effort to take care of your customers, they will, in turn, take care of you.  Your employees will feel empowered and will, in turn, feel more satisfied.  Own your omnichannel world and empower your agents with it to take your company to that next level!