Customer service has changed dramatically over the years. From face-to-face communication, to call centers, to television and radio, and so on, the customer experience is always evolving. Human interaction may never be completely removed from the customer experience, but omnichannel support seems to be on the path of making customer service predominantly digital. This includes social media channels like LinkedIn and Facebook, live chat support, email, and many more. In theory, omnichannel support could be run on automation and deliver the ideal customer experience without any problems due to the well-integrated system. However, in his recent article, Thomas Wieberneit discusses the reality behind omnichannel customer service. He says the idea behind it makes sense in terms of consistency across all channels and being there for customers at all times, but there’s more to consider.
New technological trends mean new communication channels, which means new channels to support your customers. Omnichannel is an attempt at merging all of their customer service, marketing, and sales channels into one cohesive unit that provides consistent information across all channels so the customers are supported with reliable and relevant information at any and all times of the day and year. However, delivering this ambitious level of service can be nearly impossible to achieve perfectly, especially when they’re still trying to make money. Wieberneit says that though companies do their best to manage the customer experience points with journey mapping and similar strategies, there are still many databases and information that aren’t integrated fully with all of the company systems.
The article goes on to discuss the idea that because omnichannel support only takes place online, and there are still brick-and-mortar stores where people interact with customer service representatives in person, omnichannel support is not necessarily a realistic approach because there will still be disconnect between online and reality. But Wieberneit argues that this isn’t a terrible thing, and in fact, full-fledged omnichannel support with customer service on every channel and platform isn’t necessary. Instead, it’s better for a company to take a look at the most important channels and prioritize them. The example he uses is self-service on mobile websites such as Google. Many customers prefer self-service, so the focus in the future will most likely be put on automation and mobile services. Over the next years, Wieberneit predicts the rise of these future customer service trends:
1) Focus on mobile delivery of digital content, including voice bots and other automated IVR.
2) A consolidation of customer service apps, as customers grow weary of using many for different things.
3) Telephony will no longer be a separate entity and instead will merge with data and app systems.
4) Self-service and human interaction will become woven together seamlessly. The base will be intelligent software and human intervention will be interjected much less than it is now for when things go wrong. When the human agent does have to intervene, there will be much more information and data available to them to properly assist the customer.
This blog post is based on an article from CustomerThink. To read the entire article, please click the link below:
Omnichannel – Myth, Reality or Utopia? – Thomas Wieberneit
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