Omnichannel, It’s Time For Your Close-Up
VoiceSage’s John Duffy has been exploring some intriguing findings around the power of omnichannel
If there’s one word some of us may be tiring of, it’s ‘omnichannel’. Maybe it’s overused and so a bit devalued.
The reality is omnichannel is a fantastic idea that was promoted a bit too much, but whose time has really come.
Take the latest Mary Meeker annual Internet Trends report, which we discussed recently in the context of global mobile penetration and its importance to proactive marketing (‘The Real Marketing War’s On the Mobile Front Now…’).
The full presentation is a treasure trove of useful data points. But one highlight was this insight; customer service is finally shifting to real-time and online – and as a result, brand managers and contact centre leaders can no longer evade a full omnichannel approach to help service users, with online chat but also SMS and voice to complement the mix.
For example (slide 53), having easier access to online support channels is the number one preference of US consumers, above faster agent response times, even (60% versus 53). Having a consistent customer experience across all channels – which is omnichannel! – is the desired improvement of one in three contacted, while it’s getting harder and harder to shake off a bad image – 82% of customers stopped doing business with a company after a bad experience versus 76% two years ago. And you can bet they share that news on all the social media they can access.
Accompany all this with an integrated online presence, supported by community building activities and user generated content coming in, and it seems a given now that at least some parts of the US business sector are delivering if not full omnichannel, something very hard to separate as not being it. Is there any basis for concluding things are on the same route of travel in the UK?
SMS and Automated Voice a bigger and bigger part of the UK contact centre ‘mix’
Our comprehensive ‘2017 UKCCF Proactive Customer Service Survey’, which we complied in collaboration with the UK Contact Centre Forum, the national membership group for call centre and customer service professionals, does present some noteworthy parallels.
Our evidence base for this from our interactions with 150+ customer contact leaders in the public and private sectors confirms the trends Meeker has called out around the move to omnichannel. For example, no less than 56% of respondents told our interviewers they map the customer journey, with 20% about to. The same proportion, 56%, said they have in place or will soon have fully-integrated information and contact routing systems, a pre-requisite for multi-channel engagement. And the majority, 51%, are using SMS to dialogue with brand followers, while one in five are already using Automated Voice – and 14% believe that, if they did, it would be Effective or Very Effective as a means to connect with customers.
We also checked if contact centre professionals in the UK get a clear picture of the customer history, another must-have of convincing omnichannel. The reassuring answer: one in six UK organisations we spoke to say they can give a team member immediate access to previous conversations with customers about the same issue and across all channels.
That shows a very high percentage of organisations have the kind of integrated information and contact routing systems Meeker and her trend watchers say are needed to deliver against the omnichannel promise.
And I say that’s enough proof for me to say that word again, and with enthusiasm.