If necessity is the mother of invention, then the uncertainty of the last few years could certainly be said to be the mother of rapid adoption. Organisations of all sizes have had to quickly adapt the ways in which they may have been operating for many years.
Making sure to keep up with the latest in technological trends where possible has always been key to running a successful business. The importance of web chat, for example, was identified as key to customer satisfaction back in 2019. But uncertainly caused by social events – such as the pandemic, Brexit and the cost of living crisis – have pushed customers and consumers into sudden changes in behaviour. Businesses have no choice but to respond to such changes, whether they are big corporations or smaller enterprises.
What are omni-channel communications?
A familiar phrase for communications experts and large businesses, ‘omni-channel’ is now a rapidly growing phenomenon amongst small companies. It has become a default setting for many businesses particularly in a post-pandemic world. With so many ways to keep in touch – be it over the phone, or using email, live chat and video, messaging apps or a range of social media channels – a small business owner needs to be very adept at staying ‘connected’ with their customers.
These customers have come to expect quality service from all of these different channels – they crave an ‘omni-channel’ approach when they wish to communicate.
Why is an omni-channel experience important?
As has long been the case, the customer is still king. US reports suggested that 87% of customers want the organisations they interact with to improve their customer service offering. 35% wanted to deal with the same representative, regardless of the channel, be it phone, email or chat. An omni-channel customer service offering can create a massive 91% higher customer retention rate year on year.
Creating a ‘singular’ brand experience will allow customers to migrate from channel to channel in a seamless and consistent way, wherever they are in their customer journey, regardless of the avenue of communication. This way of ‘following your customers’ wherever they are on their journey with you is an ideal way to run customer service and sales. Take Amazon customers, for example, who can place and track orders delivered straight to their door, via their laptop, mobile, smartwatch or even an Alexa device.
The challenge is seamlessly connecting the necessary data systems – be it an existing CRM or similar, so that it can be accessed by all staff, across all devices. As well as this, companies may also wish to look into simplifying user experience and offer a more personalised service.
Why smaller businesses must keep up
Creating an omni-channel presence is vital for smaller companies who want to keep up with and even rival bigger competitors when it comes to customer service. That’s because customers expect no less. They are not worried about the size of the company when they get in touch, they just want to be able to reach the right person, using their preferred channel and get their issue resolved quickly and efficiently. It may even be that smaller companies have an advantage over larger organisations, as they may not have to contend with cumbersome and unconnected back-office systems that can often hamper omni-channel communications for larger businesses.
We’re better connected than ever before and will no doubt continue to see a rapid uptake of new technologies specifically created for business continuity and keeping customers and clients happy. With telecoms and tech at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to set up an omni-channel experience for guaranteed customer-service success.