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  • Industry Spotlight: The path to omnichannel customer care

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    All too often when a business lets down a customer, it creates further problems for itself by failing to rectify the problem through its customer care channels.

    In a nightmare scenario, customers can find themselves bounced around from live chats to call centres, Twitter to email, each time starting the conversation from scratch and repeating themselves. Meanwhile the wrong sofa/chair combo is left sitting untouched in their living room, the incorrectly-booked holiday remains unadjusted and the customer’s sense of frustration will build.

    It is all well and good having multiple touchpoints that allow customers to contact you through a variety of mediums (multichannel), but these are of little use if they aren’t successfully integrated. Omnichannel customer care marries these platforms together, offering a seamless transition from one platform to the next, with the customer’s communication history available to each operator.

    It sounds great on paper, but how can omnichannel customer care be put in place and implemented in practice? Here are three steps to follow:

    • Remove information siloes: imperative to the success of omnichannel customer care is having a clear, consolidated view of all the data available about your customer base. Many brands have multiple customer care platforms, but have failed to liberate the information available, leaving it to sit in siloes instead. As a result they are not getting a holistic view of the data, and ultimately losing value. It is no coincidence that the companies widely regarded to deliver the best customer experience, such as Amazon, are ‘born digital’ and so have had all data available to all parts of the business at once since their inception.
    • Use the right channels: transitioning from multichannel to omnichannel customer care should not be taken lightly. Like many complex processes, starting with small steps will ease the process. It is vital that when new channels are added they are properly integrated with the existing systems, and legacy systems should also in turn be brought up to date to enable the entire operation to flow smoothly. In order to carry this out correctly, it’s essential to have expert assistance.

     Boardroom noise about Chief Digital Officers has built steadily over the last couple of years and this is a great example of the kind of work they could be put to use on. The CDO should be the person to make sure the right channels are upgraded, at the right time, as well as making sure that staff are informed, trained and on-board with the changes that are made.

    • Manage your database: making sure your databases are integrated and managed efficiently will give account managers a clear view of their customer care operations. This is particularly important in areas such as retail, where a shop floor and online interactions are often entirely separate. Successful management of data, and a unification of the two will allow a single customer base, with all the data from an individual on one interface. This will in turn enable more efficient customer care, and a smoother, less disjointed customer journey.

    Today, consumers have more data at their fingertips than ever before, and as such the power truly lies in their hands. As a result, customer care has never been so important and can be a real brand differentiator. It is imperative that there are as few stumbling blocks as possible in the customer journey, or else customers may leave and never return. From a business point of view, to meet customer demand, it is mission-critical to focus on evolving existing multichannel platforms and deliver a truly global omnichannel customer experience.

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    Toby Cruse

    All stories by: Toby Cruse