Omnichannel Communications: 5 Critical Benefits for Enterprises
Thirty years ago, customers primarily communicated with brands through just two channels: phone and mail. Today, consumers don’t think twice about using a combination of channels for communication, including sending an email, SMS messaging, phone calls, chat, and social media.
Ninety-eight percent of Americans switch between multiple devices throughout the day. An additional 35 percent expect to be able to communicate with the same customer service representative on multiple channels, such as phone, email, and chat messages.
Companies that offer omnichannel customer service experience 90 percent higher customer retention than their competitors.
Providing multiple avenues for seamless customer communications, or omnichannel communications, is not only a cloud contact center best practice, but it’s a highly effective tactic for enterprise organizations as well.
Why Omnichannel Communications are Critical for Enterprises:
- Timely, Proactive Communications
- Centralized Technology & Data Insights
- Better Employee Experience
- Customer Convenience & Satisfaction
- Insights-Driven Business Strategy
Multichannel vs. Omnichannel Communications
Before we begin our discussion of the importance of omnichannel communications in business, let’s first establish the difference between multichannel and omnichannel communications.
Multichannel communications refer to the practice of using multiple channels of communication to reach your customer. These channels might include email, social media, print, and more.
Alternately, omnichannel communications are achieved when “all of the company’s channels are aligned and present a single face to the customer, along with one consistent way of doing business.” This consistency in messaging and communication is what differentiates omnichannel communications from multichannel communications.
Modern enterprises are faced with real challenges when it comes to meeting and exceeding the expectations of today’s customers. Without a single, unified approach to personalized customer service, your firm could risk falling behind competitors who offer seamless customer service interactions using unified communications.
Globally, enterprise organizations are starting to realize the value of omnichannel communications with their customers. From a customer experience (CX) perspective, this approach simply makes sense for what customers want from brands:
- 67 percent of customers head to the web first for information, such as self-service information portals on a brand website.
- 91 percent of customers said they had an interest in using an online knowledge base to solve their problems and answer their questions.
- 57 percent of customers won’t recommend a business if their website offers a poor experience on mobile.
While omnichannel communications is a relatively new concept, it’s quickly taking over the business world.
Several years ago, brands like Amazon were among the first to dip their toes into offering a truly unified customer service experience with personalized product recommendations and multichannel support. Today, unified communications are within reach for virtually all enterprise organizations.
5 Advantages of Omnichannel Communications
Let's discuss some key advantages, as well as use cases of why these concepts matter to your organization.
1. Timely, Proactive Communications
Today’s customers may book their plane tickets from a restaurant while they’re waiting for their mission-style burrito to be delivered. Others may research mortgages or insurance while they’re commuting to work.
Information is available on-demand, which has changed the way people think about their pre-purchase research. According to Google, these "micro-moments" are important because they are :
"Moments when consumers act on a need, e.g., to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something or buy something. They are intent-rich moments where decisions are being made and preferences shaped.”
If it’s easier to purchase from your competitor than it is to get an answer about your re-ordering process, why would a modern consumer buy from you?
The age of micro-moments has given rise to highly-personalized communications. Brands are discovering the value of emails, push notifications, SMS messaging, and phone calls that meet their customers in a moment of need, based on behavioral triggers, such as searching for answers on your company website.
With omnichannel communications, your brand can move towards the future of customer communications. Examples of omnichannel communications at work include:
- Customer service representatives can access a customer’s multi-year history with your organization, product purchase history, and communication preferences from the moment of contact.
- A customer service experience that feels unified and seamless, regardless of whether a customer is chatting with a customer service rep (CSR) or interacting with an employee in your businesses’ brick-and-mortar location.
- Personalized, behaviorally-triggered offers via mobile, email, and other channels that reward customers for loyalty and entice repeat purchases through special deals.
2. Centralized Technology & Data Insights
Behind every omnichannel communications strategy is a backbone of technology.
For many enterprises, cloud-based unified communication tools like Atlantech Online CCaaS can offer the advantage of ease-of-implementation, mobility, and centralized data insights. Our Hosted PBX ecosystem is an advanced communications and collaboration solution that integrates with your existing business infrastructure and can quickly scale to meet the growing needs of your workforce.
By integrating cloud-based communication tools with customer relationship management (CRM) software, your employees benefit from the convenience of centralized insights and a single point-of-truth.
Your business also benefits from superior data insights, including:
- Enriched customer data, including a single source for all relevant client details and interactions with your organization across multiple channels.
- Instantaneous access to the full history and context of your customer relationship, including auto-population of firmographic details.
- Automated alerts and warnings based on behavioral data, such as frustrated chat messages or repeated calls to customer support for proactive relationship management.
- Insight into your customer’s preferred channels for communications.
- Behaviorally-based insights, including the intelligence necessary for automatically-triggered, personalized outbound communications via email, mobile push notification, or mail.
- Smarter allocation of your customer service resources based on customer data insights, including contact center staffing and technology investments.
3. Better Employee Experience
Did you know that 70 percent of employees would rather work for a small or mid-sized organization (SMB) over a large enterprise?
Why? Because they perceive smaller companies have simpler communications and better collaboration.
An additional 91 percent of workers say that communication bottlenecks negatively affect their productivity in the workplace.
Your employees want the tools necessary to communicate with clients and colleagues effectively and deliver superior customer service. An angry customer who’s explaining a return request for the fourth time is experiencing a negative brand interaction. But, these experiences also frustrate your CSRs who don’t have the communication history necessary on the client to understand why the situation has escalated.
Omnichannel communications tools make it easy for your customer-facing employees to understand your clients and deliver superior service the first time.
4. Customer Convenience and Satisfaction
Convenience has always been essential to offering quality service to your customers, but in recent years it has become even more important. A study conducted by the National Retail Federation indicates that 83% of consumers value convenience more now than they did five years ago. According to the same survey, 97% of consumers have abandoned a purchase or left a brand because of inconvenience.
Customers have more options than ever, and if you want to obtain and retain customers, offering consistent, convenient service is vital. Omnichannel communications give your business the ability to deliver appropriate messaging to your customers—and to your employees—via the appropriate channel every time. This consistency makes your internal and customer-facing operations more efficient, delivering a more satisfying experience for your customers.
Omnichannel communications give your customers and employees a major upgrade to the convenience of communication.
5. Insights-Driven Business Strategy
As organizations begin to understand how their leads and existing customers interact with their brand across channels, they can adjust their customer communications for improved sales, customer retention, and satisfaction.
Here are a few ways omnichannel communication technologies can support business strategy include:
- Using customer insights to inform better-targeted “push notification” touchpoints via mobile apps.
- Improved mobile or web design to reduce “friction” in the online buying experience.
- The introduction of new products and offers for more satisfied customers, such as the release of cost savings for people who choose paperless-only billing.
Unifying Your Communication Tools for an Omnichannel Customer Experience
Organizations today understand the value of offering more than just phone-based customer service to their clients. By expanding beyond voice-based contact centers to offer convenient, digital options like chat, email, self-serve knowledge portals, and mobile apps, your organization can communicate with your customers in the way that is most convenient for the client at the moment.
Unifying your communication tools in the cloud can allow you to go beyond just digital convenience to offer a truly seamless, multi-channel approach that makes your clients feel valued, personally known, and connected to your organization.
Atlantech Online has been offering cutting-edge communications tools for enterprises in the greater Washington D.C. metro area for over two decades. While best practices have evolved significantly during our years in business, we believe that organizations that pivot to meet customer needs will always win.
With cutting-edge service offerings, including unified communications tools and direct connection to the Equinix Cloud Exchange, Atlantech customers gain the advantage of real-time access to the most advanced cloud omnichannel communication tools available today.
To learn how to maximize your brand’s omnichannel potential with the right UCaaS vendor for your business, check out our free resource, 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying Unified Communications as a Service.