4 minute read
It's been long since the concept of omnichannel customer service was first introduced. The term refers to customers having access to multiple communication channels at the same time. It is an effort made by organizations to provide a more convenient customer service.
However, you'll often find that a few channels work better than the rest. This is usually because a similar type of audience uses your product––with similar tastes and preferences. This gives rise to optichannel customer engagement.
What is optichannel?
The ability to connect with and assist a customer in their journey through the channel that is ideal for them is referred to as "optichannel".
Businesses must adopt a strategy that can help them communicate with customers on the channel that best suits their requirements and preferences at the moment. To do this, businesses must be able to recognize a customer's contextual information as well as transactional and behavioral patterns.
Let us take an example. Let's say that the majority of the inquiries you receive from customers concern technical matters. Most of the time, an FAQ page could help customers find the solution more quickly. Your system, however, sends these inquiries to human agents. In such a scenario, you need to reassess the customer service options you prioritize.
Clearly, the strengths of various channels vary. Text messages, for instance, are effective for brief, time-sensitive messages. Email is significantly superior for information that has to be referred to later (receipts etc.) or requires a lot of detailed explanation.
For instance, look at Amazon. The largest online retailer in the world does not provide web chat in every country. It has projected that, when there is a problem, most customers choose to reach out to the customer via email or opt for self-service by referring to FAQ pages, product videos, and tutorials.
When you develop your customer experience strategy, you must assess which channels do your audience most frequently use and why. And then, do everything you can to make the experience of interacting with your customers through those selected channels as smooth as possible. This is what optichannel customer engagement is all about.
Optichannel vs Omnichannel vs Multichannel customer engagement
Optichannel customer service means using the most optimal channel for interacting with customers.
The focus is to improve customer experience by focusing on the most optimal channels and mastering those channels, as opposed to providing more channels and integrating them.
Omnichannel customer service means offering customer service across different channels and integrating all of them together at the same time.
Whenever a customer switches channels, they don't have to provide background information again.
Multichannel customer service means providing multiple channels for customer engagement without integrating all of them together. One channel functions in isolation from the other.
This makes it compulsory for customers to provide context whenever they switch channels.
How to benefit from optichannel customer service?
It is important to track the performance of every customer communication channel. It helps understand which channels can be optimized for improving customer interactions.
When we track this data and take corrective action, we can almost always guarantee better conversion rates, and higher customer satisfaction levels.
It is important to note that optichannel customer service does not mean limiting the number of channels that are currently available. It simply provides optimal performance with a consistent customer experience across online and offline channels.
Companies can utilize AI to accelerate communication across the appropriate channels and at the appropriate time. This can increase ROI, thanks to the availability of customer data and insights.
Additionally, these insights help reduce expenses and improve resource allocation. Operational efficiency is increased because of the possibility of communication automation, such as AI-based chatbots, integrated landing pages, and so on.
Some of the most important things in optichannel customer service that form the foundation are mapping the customer journey, tracking customer touch-points, and analyzing the performance of all the channels.
Customer journey mapping
Customer journeys are sometimes different. Five customers could go five different routes to buy the same thing. Customer journeys continue to vary from time to time.
Hence, charting customer journeys is vital for determining how customers interact with your business. Knowing your customers' preferred communication channels is crucial if you want to connect with them and get responses you can be happy with.
Analyzing the customer’s journey also lets you determine if your optichannel strategy is succeeding and if there are any barriers. When you know how your clients find you, you may understand their decision-making process and adapt to their requirements. In the end, this results in improved customer service.
Your team must have clarity about which channel is suitable for each stage of the customer journey. This will help them to understand which channels to change or modify.
This brings us to our next point, tracking and analyzing the performance of the customer service channels.
Tracking and analyzing the performance of customer communication channels
Measuring the performance of the various channels against various parameters such as demographics, past preferences, purchase history, etc., are likely to improve your optichannel approach for a target audience type.
User metrics like Net Promoter Score and CSAT scores in each touchpoint should be tracked for analyzing such parameters. These metrics will give you clarity on the most preferred channels of every customer. This will allow you to maximize customer experience.
When you are able to track the performance of all the channels, you can drop channels that aren’t doing well, and focus more on those that are showing considerable positive performances. This will ultimately help you improve your overall RoI as well.
The most crucial factor is that businesses meet their customers where they are. It's time to provide customers with the channels they will find most useful.
This will save businesses money by concentrating on the channels that are truly important. It will also streamline the customer contact process, making it a much more straightforward, efficient, and painless experience.
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