The omni-channel approach and its added value to customer service

Daniel Díez

31 March 2015

The digital transformation process of businesses involves the creation of experiences across different communication channels, both online and offline, to provide added value for their customers. In this sense, the development of an omni-channel approach with customer service integrated is essential for providing services that can reach a user who has higher expectations every day.

Companies have become aware that having open doors is a smart approach, and on their websites, social network icons, click-to-call buttons, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and other mediums that facilitate the business-customer interactions have been appearing. However, there are often barriers such as the differentiation of channels depending on their orientation (i.e. customer service, commercial, etc.).

Multi-channeling has become firmly established and has found the perfect environment for its development in the digital space. The gradual emergence of new platforms has resulted in increasingly more connected and more demanding users. In turn, brands have been expanding their presence to meet the needs of consumers who wish to have multiple means of communication at his disposal. But the stakes are getting higher; added value is no longer enough to open channels. Now, companies are also expected to integrate all their platforms under a common umbrella.

From multi-channeling to omni-channeling

Omni-channeling is the glue that binds the different channels of brands together, in order to offer a unique user experience. The aim is for all interaction pathways to transmit the brand image, respecting the codes and standards of each one of them. What we are talking about here is the ability for the user to come in contact with the brand in a completely smooth manner, without barriers, such that he can start, develop, and complete the interaction using different channels, without being held back at any point.

This trend has mainly been spread across retail companies and has acquired special relevance in sales strategies, as one of the greatest advantages of omni-channeling is that it creates more access points for existing and prospective customers to get to the products or services that they want. And we cannot forget that in the buying processes, the online and offline channels, as well as different devices, are present. Customization and experience are the key aspects for consumers in retail sector.

An omni-channel strategy enables the creation of an entire system, in which there are no barriers between the physical store, e-commerce, the mobile application, social networks, and any other point of contact between the brand and the consumer. To develop this strategy, it is necessary to perform a detailed analysis of the customer journey, and to take into account that the mobile device is a key element for any kind of brand-customer relationship.

The Omnichannel Purchase Journey - Deloitte

Customer Service and Omni-channeling

It is always easier to take the right steps forward when the goal is to increase revenue directly from sales, but what happens with customer service? Including actions of support within the omni-channel strategy involves adding tremendous value to customer relationships. As mentioned earlier, the consumer is demanding, and he wants an optimal experience when he makes complaints or queries, therefore, the barriers that impede the development of smooth and simple communication, adapted to the needs of the user, must be eliminated.

Brands must adapt to what users need and it is not appropriate for them to continue to impose their own patterns of interaction when providing support services. The commitment to the omni-channeling approach allows for the customers to be the ones who choose the means of communication, and they can move from one to another along the support process without interruptions or variations in the experience.

Creating a customer service framework without silos requires extensive work on two fronts:

  • Processes: It is essential to draw all flows of information transmission of at the at the user’s level, and at the level of impact. These procedures will allow for the establishment of a few streams of agile communication, which serve as a basis for addressing each case of support through various channels, if necessary.
  • Technology: Depending on the existing channels, each company must choose a technological solution that will enable the integration of all data gathered through customer service actions with customer information and information about their transactions, which can already be found in their traditional CRM. Thus, a single customer file is created, which must be made available to all those responsible for customer service on the different channels, to provide optimal service cat all times.

An analysis of the data obtained offers a detailed view of the whole support process, and provides a sample of customer preferences. Brands that are able to capitalize on that information have a great opportunity to increase customer satisfaction and optimize resources.

With regards to the customer service actions that we conduct for large companies at Territorio creativo, we see that the most valuable brands are those that demonstrate that they have put themselves in the user’s shoes, and have adapted all their processes to ensuring that the service experience is completely seamless. To achieve this seamlessness, it is necessary for the springs of the omni-channel approach to be well-oiled, and for it to be developed in such a way that it can be adapted to any needs that may arise. The entire approach has short-term rewards in the form of higher rates of satisfaction, and in the long-term, it will be one of the key pillars to building customer loyalty.