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OPINION Customer service has changed fundamentally, so omnichannel must evolve with it

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Hyperconnected nature of customer interaction means omnichannel capabilities need to be slicker than ever. Russell Lux, CEO at TelcoSwitch explains

The massive growth in online shopping has led to a sustained change in the way customers interact with businesses, as they adopt the growing number of communication channels available and expect queries to be answered faster than ever before. This has raised the stakes as far as omnichannel capabilities are concerned, and businesses need to adapt quickly.

With online and mobile shopping in particular growing in popularity, businesses have faced new challenges in effectively meeting and supporting their customers on the variety of communications channels available.

Consumers are comfortable engaging across a wide range of channels, and while phone and email aren’t going anywhere, others channels such as social media messengers, WhatsApp, and webchat have really come to the fore.

The days of contact centres purely being big banks of desks with agents speaking on phones are over: instead this is being replaced with remote workers (which introduces its own challenges across scalability, security, and compliance) and a need to converse with customers across a multitude of platforms.

It’s common for customers to move between channels throughout the course of a single transaction: a pre-purchase conversation might take place in Facebook Messenger where a consumer has engaged with an ad, and that conversation might switch to phone or email depending on the nature of the enquiry. Not all conversations can be effectively concluded on the channel they started on, and managing and tracking that transition can be complicated for those businesses struggling to keep up with the multitude of platforms available.

Without the right tools in place to manage these channels and properly integrate them with CRM and other underlying systems, the customer experience won’t be nearly as sharp as it needs to be.

To meet this challenge, Lux believes that omnichannel technologies need to take another leap forward in sophistication and efficiency.

Omnichannel has been talked about for a long time, but the pandemic has moved the goalposts considerably. Customers expect more, they expect it faster, and they expect businesses to communicate on their terms. With this in mind, companies need to evaluate the channels that align to their customers, and seek out solutions that help their agents support those customers both pre and post purchase to ensure they deliver the best experience.

It’s a challenging time for businesses, but it’s an exciting time too. As the economy recovers from the pandemic, there are so many opportunities to engage with new customers and access new revenue streams. As long as organisations strive to reach these new levels of omnichannel proficiency, they will be able to deliver great customer experiences and in doing so retain and grow their customers.

 

 

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