Customer service in pandemic: the reduction of face-to-face or virtual work in companies has boosted the use of alternative channels to keep services operational remotely, such as telephone, chat, mail and social networks. What model to use to manage channels?
Demanding users and intuitive experiences: an irreversible global trend
According to a recent study, the value of e-commerce payment transactions worldwide will exceed $7.5 trillion by 2026, up from $4.9 trillion in 2021. This 55% growth rate over the next few years will be driven by engaging omni-channel experiences, which encourage users to make more purchases.
These channels, which include online (web and mobile) and physical shopping, will be critical to future success. This is because users expect the same services to be available regardless of channel, as well as payment options that suit their preferences, regardless of whether they are face-to-face or digital. Customers demand fluidity, convenience and an intuitive experience.
Multichannel vs. omnichannel: what does each imply?
In this area we find the multichannel strategy and the omnichannel strategy. Although they may seem similar, they have substantial differences.
While multi-channel offers independent contact options for the customer to choose the one he/she prefers, the omni-channel model seeks to integrate the channels, so that the user does not have to start from scratch at each contact and eventually start an enquiry or purchase in one channel and continue in another without having to explain again what he/she wants.
Omni-channeling prioritises consistency across all media: the customer journey involves multiple channels and devices. Thus, the integration that this modality allows us is very positive for the customer experience, as it allows us to build customer loyalty and personalise the contact, as long as it is carried out correctly.
How does omnichannel work?
Suppose a person accesses a brand's shop app on their phone during their commute home and later decides to make a purchase from their computer.
When you access the website on your laptop, your shopping cart should include what you selected during your mobile session, so you can continue your journey seamlessly. In addition, you can choose to pick up your purchase in-store, reflecting a consistent interconnected journey between the app, the web shop and the physical store.
Another area where omni-channel is making waves is in customer service. When a user has a problem, they expect to engage with the brand across multiple channels, both digital and offline. Their goal is to resolve the issue and receive support as quickly as possible. This is where omni-channel support takes customer service to the next level.
This means that customers can contact an agent via their preferred channel, be it live chat, phone, social media or email. What's more, if the customer feels they are not getting the help they need to resolve their issue in live chat, for example, the agent can switch channels to continue the conversation via a phone call or video call. Customer data is stored and transferred, allowing the customer to seamlessly continue the support experience without having to repeat the information.
Which modality do I choose?
Although the strategy will depend largely on the company's objectives and the type of relationship you are looking for with your customers, we cannot fail to consider that omni-channeling implies a much greater technological infrastructure than multi-channeling, as well as a high level of commitment from agents to make the most of it.
We often say that a satisfied customer is the best strategy of all. Switching to a multi- or omni-channel model in an efficient and coordinated way will be key to achieving this in any industry. In both cases, we must avoid disparity in the attention of the different channels, both in terms of time and quality of responses. To this end, it is essential to monitor key indicators on a regular basis, in order to ensure the proper functioning of the channels and to detect opportunities for improvement.
For this reason, to ensure a good customer experience as we grow in channels we must be consistent in all the contact media we use, with the same standards to maximise the potential of our strategies and make more the better.
Glauco Muzzio, Head of Operations
Glauco is a chartered accountant with more than ten years of experience in banking services. He has specialised in leading customer service teams.