The modern business needs to understand that consumers have more choices today than ever, including the way they interact with a company when they need help. Call centers were created back in the mid-1950s when the phone was really the only way to interact with a company besides mail or in-person. Today’s contact centers interact with consumers through multiple channels depending on the preference of the consumer. Some people prefer chat or email. Some like to interact through a community, forum or through social channels. A large, growing population prefer to help themselves. The fact is consumers will prefer a particular method of interaction depending on their needs. Kate Leggett over at Forrester Research states “customers demand omni-channel service”.
Worried about the costs to deliver omni-channel service? Don’t be – it’s actually cheaper in the long run than providing just phone support. Here’s how it generally breaks down on a cost per interaction basis:
How is this possible? Well…
Chat provides the ability of one rep to help multiple customers concurrently. Be careful not to go overboard and have your reps working with too many customers simultaneously or service quality will suffer.
Emails are quick to respond to and can get the job done quickly for low complexity issues.
Community/Social channels create a one-to-many relationship where one response could be helpful to many customers. Additionally, when you create a vibrant community, customers can help each other and you effectively crowdsource your support.
Check out another one of my posts to find more details on Knowledge base.
It’s important to note, you need to deliver outstanding experiences through each of the mediums. Customers expect and demand quality with every interaction. A reportby Zendesk states that “when consumers can’t get an answer or fast response elsewhere, they are falling back to phone support as their primary contact method.”
Need more info that indicates omni-channel is the way to go? Check out Aberdeen Group’s report on Omni-Channel Customer Care. Here are some highlights in performance comparisons between companies who provided an omni-channel model vs. everyone else:
Companies that provided omni-channel programs showed a 6.5% year over year increase in customer retention compared to a 3.4% increase in all other companies.
Companies that provided omni-channel programs showed a 6.1% year over year increase in average profit margin compared to a 1% increase in all other companies.
Companies that provided omni-channel programs showed a 3.4% year over year increase in Customer Lifetime Value compared a .7% decrease in all other companies.
It’s easy to see who’s winning this battle.
So, which company do you want to be: the one that invests and provides an omni-channel experience or all other companies?