The word “omnichannel” was a buzz word not too long ago, something ground-breaking and exciting. In 2018 we’re now seeing this to be an expectation. Customers may not specifically say “I want an omnichannel experience” or even “I want to be able to deal with you across different media” but they do expect to deal with you on their terms, and what “their terms” can mean has changed to encompass more than just phone channels. This expectation is the product of a rapidly evolving landscape focusing on the needs of the customer, as such we see offering omnichannel engagement as a means to the end of providing optimal service. For those organisations who are not there yet this journey is one to seriously consider soon taking to remain competitive, and we discuss some areas around this here. Recognising the wants and needs of your customers is the first step. Which channels they expect to be able to contact your organisation through, hours of operation, how seamless they expect their journey to be and so on can differ depending on who you as a company actually are. Though wanting to provide an omnichannel experience is a great thing, setting the correct vision to start with can ensure you don’t provide what will never be used and waste resources in the process. Surveys, focus groups or feedback forms can all help with this.
The next is implementing the correct operational and technological framework to facilitate the realisation of your vision. From an operational perspective, considerations around linking departments, cross-skilling/blending and looking at the customer journey holistically need to be made. From a technological perspective, ensuring the correct system links and integrations are in place is critical. This is often easier said than done but having an experienced systems integrator (like us!) assist or implement for you can drastically reduce the cost and effort involved. Failing to set the correct framework will make channel-spanning, where a customer moves between channels (ideally in a seamless manner) to complete their enquiry in the first contact, virtually impossible.
From there, collecting and analysing customer data becomes paramount. This ensures what you deliver is in line with what your customers actually want, it’s all well and good to come up with a detailed and effective framework but this should be constantly evolving and not “set and forget”. See our posts on this topic for some more information and ideas.
Finally, creating an organisational culture that is flexible and centred around integration can help drive the message home. Whether this is through the setting of KPIs which drive this (e.g. First Call Resolution) or highlighting to your employees snapshots of data gathered via surveys, having your people on board is just as important as any other factor, if not the most important factor of all.
Though we’ve tried to cover the main areas, there are further factors to consider. As always, please reach out to us if you’d like to learn more.