This article was originally published on MarTech Advisor, here.
By Mayur Anadkat, VP Product Marketing
Sally is irritated. She has enjoyed in-store shopping from her favorite department store for years, but she is finally ready to explore online shopping. While more and more people are motivated to shop online due to no crowds, variety and lower prices, Sally found that her experience as an online customer took a complete 180 since making the shift.
While she was online shopping from her laptop, she experienced an issue with her cart at checkout. Sally’s first instinct was to send an email to get her issue resolved, but the only available piece of contact information was a 1-800 phone number. Unfortunately, the number she dialed just rang and rang with no answer or automated pick up. Without a way to reach the company, Sally could not complete her purchase and, frustrated with the whole experience, ended up closing the web browser. Although she was previously a devoted customer of the physical store, Sally ultimately took her business elsewhere where she could shop more easily without the hassle of subpar customer service.
Customer service doesn’t need to be a source of stress, but unfortunately scenarios like this are all too common. Not only retail companies, but all businesses that have an online presence are adjusting their customer service strategy in order to interact with consumers in all facets of communication and across the entire buying journey to increase retention and build brand loyalty. Sally’s case solidifies the fact that companies need to have a strategic, omnichannel approach. Instead of just offering a phone number, this department store should have made it easy for Sally to email, send a tweet or even live chat an agent – all things she could have done right from her laptop. Brands today need to think about who their customers are, understand their particular customer paths and recognize all of the ways in which they might try to reach the brand, so that at the end of the day they are not only satisfied with the product, but happy with their overall experience.
In addition to creating the easiest experience for the customer, offering omnichannel customer service also benefits a company’s bottom line. When contact center agents are enabled to provide personalized service on any channel, it increases their productivity rates and allows them to help more customers complete their purchases from their preferred channel of communication. By implementing service via the channels customers request, it not only keeps the customer happy, but the agent feels empowered to continue offering great service. Here are just a few of the benefits a multichannel contact center offers:
- Via social media, agents can respond quickly to questions and problems
- Through email, agents can filter customer requests and intelligently guide them to resolution
- On chat, agents can respond to customers in real time through web or mobile in an intuitive way
By offering services via more than just phone, all businesses – whether consumer-facing or B2B – increase their chances of not only higher customer retention, but more loyal ones too. For Sally, although she was formerly a devoted customer of the store when shopping in-person, the experience she faced when she couldn’t get an issue resolved online made it easy for her to decide to take her business elsewhere. At the end of the day, companies want their customers’ journeys to be seamless so they return and their preference for the brand is not deterred.