Five focus points to improve omni-channel customer service

Carolyn Blunt Workforce Management Jan 18, 2017 4 min read

When developing a strategy to improve omni-channel customer service, it’s helpful to have a few focus points that are aligned with what is most important to customers. It is one way to keep things simple and ensure that whatever channels you choose to use, you retain a customer centric approach. Recent surveys have highlighted focus points on which customers scored their experience and satisfaction or dissatisfaction. These were: Level of personalization; reliability, knowledge of customer service agents, timely response and query resolution, and how easy the customer service channel was to use. With these focus points in mind, let’s look at how at how they can be applied for calls, social media, live chat and email customer service:

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Call centre

TIMELY - Customer satisfaction was highest when calls were answered within a reasonable amount of time. On average this was just over a minute which scored a 90% satisfaction rate. How well does your call centre compare?

EASY - A phone is fairly easy to use but IVR’s can complicate things. Test your system regularly to check if calls are being routed correctly. If the routing options are difficult to understand or the voice message speak too quickly, customers will find it difficult to navigate.

RELIABLE - Is your system reliable or do calls get dropped? Do your customers experience invasive background noise? These seemingly small things can make a big difference to achieving excellent customer service.

KNOWLEDGEABLE – Do customer service agents provide accurate information that is useful to customers? Poor knowledge is the fastest way to lose customers, but customer satisfaction skyrockets when queries are effectively resolved on the first call.

PERSONALISED – Customers appreciate engagement with a friendly helpful voice on the other end of the line. Conversations are enhanced when agents introduce themselves and use the customer’s name.

Social Media

TIMELY – The average expectation is that queries are answered within 30 minutes and companies that achieve a faster average response time than this can boost their social media profile.

EASY – For short simple queries social media is a favoured customer service channel. Customers appreciate it when they don’t have to repeat themselves and when the responses are jargon free.

RELIABLE – Because social media operates in a very public domain companies that aren’t reliable shoot themselves in the foot. Maintaining a facebook page or twitter account requires constant attention and companies need to assign the proper resources.

KNOWLEDGEABLE – Once again because social media is very public, agents need to provide accurate information or risk public embarrassment. Agents should be well trained to answer queries effectively and concisely.

PERSONALISED – When customers log a query they don’t want a general response, but rather one that answers their specific query. A friendly and helpful response will increase customer satisfaction scores and boost the company’s reputation.

Live Chat

TIMELY - Live chat scores highest for an almost instant response (less than 5 minutes on average with top response rates at less than 15 seconds) which is why it is growing in popularity.

EASY - Of the customer service channels, live chat is one of the simplest to use. Queries are short and to the point which helps agents to provide an accurate and effective response.

RELIABLE - Live chat systems are generally not complex which also means that they tend to be more reliable. However, mis-reading queries or typing errors due to wanting to respond quickly can detract from a positive customer experience.

KNOWLEDGEABLE - Because customers are using live chat to obtain a quick solution, customer service agents need to be knowledgeable. On average agents scored satisfaction scores above 78%.

PERSONALISED – Live chat provide a great opportunity to engage with customers. Being friendly, polite and proactive in resolving queries rated as most important for customers.

Email

TIMELY – While email queries may take longer to resolve, customers were impressed when the initial response was 10 minutes or less. Customers were wowed when queries were resolved within an hour and unimpressed when they took longer than 24 hours.

EASY – Email is convenient and easy to use but for customers it’s important to receive clear replies free of jargon and have an alternative contact, should they need to take their query further.

RELIABLE – In terms of reliability customers ranked security and accuracy of information as being most important. Check the spelling of customer’s names and don’t assume you can shorten them.

KNOWLEDGEABLE – Good technical knowledge is expected and on average 93% of customers said their queries were completely resolved.

PERSONALISED – Customer service agents who are friendly, provide their names as a reference and thank the customer for their query scored the highest in customer satisfaction scores.

These five points illustrate that even when using omni-channel customer service it is possible to keep it simple and customer centric.

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