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Two interesting contact center experiences in the last few weeks made me choose this topic, How Omni-channelized is your customer service strategy?
To the experiences I was referring to, the first experience was with my mother’s Internet service provider in India, she wanted to upgrade her Internet package and called the customer service. The service representative wanted a photo ID to be faxed, my mom told the representative that she does not have fax but she has a scanned copy of her ID that she could email. The response she got was “Sorry ma’am, I don’t have access to email and we are not authorized to receive information from the customer in email, I am in the phone support department.”
The second experience was with my bank. I contacted their chat support a couple of weeks back and had a conversation about my previous statement cycle and the representative answered all my questions, I was very pleased with the support. A couple of days later, I had a follow-up question and called their phone support and gave all my account information and was expecting the representative to pull up information about my prior chat interaction so she can understand my situation before I asked my follow-up question. To my surprise, the representative did not have access to my previous interaction in the week and had to walk her through the questions all over again.
Both the organizations mentioned above provided an extensive multi channel support portfolio including self help, phone, chat, email, social media (and even video support in case of the bank) but unfortunately their multi-channel was not Omni-channel.
Multi channel support offering is great and it helps the customer to choose the channel they prefer but is a thing of the past. Do you provide the ability for your customers to choose the channel they prefer, at the time they prefer and engage with your customer seamlessly? That is the key to providing a holistic customer experience to a very savvy 2015 customer.
I see a lot of folks using the two terms interchangeably. Offering multi channel support does not mean you have an Omni channel customer service. Multi channel is your ability to provide service to your customer base in the channel they prefer and Omni channel is when the multi channels come together seamlessly and provide a continuous customer engagement.
Companies heavily invest in Omni channel sales and retail experience but do not factor in customer service as a part of that Omni channel eco system. Your Omni channel strategy is incomplete if customer service is not a part of that paradigm.
Good news is there are key 3rd party CRM players in the market who can offer a customized Omni channel customer service infrastructure and also integrate it to your sales and retail strategy. All that required is for you to recognize the potential positive impact of Omni-channeling your customer service and integrating customer service in to your overall Omni channel ecosystem.