Although many companies bill themselves as purveyors of exceptional, personalized customer service, the reality is markedly different. In fact, for most, a typical customer service experience can devolve to tropes often reserved for speed dating. Too frequently, customers find themselves having to reshare their name, history, and problem ad nauseum when communicating with a brand’s customer service team. And so, what should be a straightforward and personalized experience often becomes a fragmented, impersonal one.
The numbers paint a bleak landscape. According to a CCW Digital Market Study, 49% of organizations felt their biggest concern was a lack of 360-degree view of their customers. Without true omnichannel customer service, they couldn’t provide a unified experience. Moreover, insufficient data and disconnected systems make it a challenge for businesses to know enough about their customers to personalize the customer service experience.
Think about it: Can you truly deliver on the promise of personalized customer service when that personalization happens inconsistently — or incompletely, even? It stands to reason, then, that customer service cannot be truly personalized without also being truly omnichannel as well.
Let’s take a look at how omnichannel customer support informs personalized customer service, and how you can implement an omnichannel strategy to meet customer expectations.
What Is an Omnichannel Customer Service Approach?
In today’s hyper-connected world, you can’t simply think like the customer, you must communicate like them too, and be channel- agnostic.
An omnichannel customer service approach is utilizing every channel that your organization can to support customers no matter where customer interaction happens. Examples include email, social media platforms, chatbots on your website, and anywhere your customers are.
Step two is leveraging omnichannel customer engagement to create a seamless experience. To provide omnichannel customer service, customer data should be shared across your organization so that, regardless of what channel a customer contacts you through, their information is stored and ready to be used in another channel. This prevents situations that customers dislike, like having to repeat their history or problem to agents after already having done so in a live chat session — an omnichannel approach would be able to pull the customer’s information from every interaction, and pick up where the last conversation left off.
People today connect asynchronously. They have no allegiance to any specific platform or any one service. And their channel proliferation is happening at breakneck speed. One moment, they can be @mentioning your brand on Twitter, and the next they can shoot over a screenshot of said @mention over text. And while they may have a channel of choice, companies must understand that said channel can change at any time
To put things further into perspective, today’s average consumer uses 10 separate channels to connect with companies. By adopting an omnichannel customer service approach, you increase the chances of reaching your customers where they are and when they need you.
What is Personalized Customer Service?
Artificial Intelligence magazine defines personalized customer service as the service provided by an agent that caters precisely to what the customer is looking for. This enables the consumer to gain a connection to your company and feel confident that you have a tailor-made solution that leaves them feeling satisfied after the interaction.
Conversations connect people — they always have. And customer service agents must be encouraged and enabled to establish genuine connections with their customers. To do so effectively, they must also have adequate background information and context — on any client, on any platform, in any market, and at any moment. Silos will only inhibit them from delivering on customer expectations and forming a loyalty-building bond. They should understand who they’re servicing and how — and they should have that knowledge at a moment’s notice. To accomplish that, you first have to establish an omnichannel customer experience.
Benefits of Providing Personalized Customer Service
Delivering top-notch customer service is of the utmost importance. Doing so in a personalized manner, via the combination of human interaction and automation, can bring success to your business in more ways than one. Some of the benefits of providing personalized customer support include:
- Repeat business
- Enhanced customer loyalty
- Increased customer satisfaction
- More meaningful conversations that help you improve your strategy
Learn more about how personalizing the customer experience can enhance your business in our personalization how-to guide.
How to Personalize the Customer Experience Using Omnichannel Customer Service
Quality customer service is an ambitious tactic. In fact, according to research from Dimension Data, 81% of organizations believe that customer service is a major competitive differentiator. By personalizing the customer experience, more companies can enhance the quality of service they are providing and get a leg up on the competition.
Achieving personalized customer service can be achieved in three steps:
1. Get to Know Your Customer.
If your business utilizes an omnichannel strategy, then you likely have a platform that provides access to all customer information in a single view during an interaction. This gives customer service agents the context they need to provide personalized experiences. This cohesion allows agents to deliver quality, personalized service, and the ability to solve a customer’s problem in a timely manner.
2. Always Meet Customers Where They Are.
When it comes to increasing customer satisfaction and solving issues simultaneously, companies need to incorporate an omnichannel approach. When customer service agents can meet customers wherever they are, whenever they need assistance and not lose context as customers switch channels, they’ll be able to solve issues quickly, efficiently and personally. This creates a seamless customer experience that lets customers know you care about their business.
3. Use Artificial Intelligence to Your Advantage.
Companies that are ready and willing to thrive in the digital age understand the value that comes with automation. Using resources like chatbots allows technology to take care of the analytical and manual work, giving agents more time and flexibility to handle complex tasks and issues presented by customers. Not only does this free up human resources, but it also enables your customer service team to build stronger connections with customers, building strong customer loyalty.
The Result: Omnichannel Personalization
Ideally, your omnichannel and personalization efforts should run in tandem. The more integrated your omnichannel efforts are into your customer service practice, the easier it becomes to personalize it. It can be overwhelming to handle on your own, but a partner like Kustomer can make it easier.
How Kustomer Enables Omnichannel Customer Service
For too many brands, the need to keep up with the growing number of channels has meant adding solutions at the expense of the customer experience. This multichannel approach has created silos of customer service agents and information. Each channel is staffed with its own team and creates its own record of customer information that isn’t broadly shared among the rest of the customer service organization. For example, if a customer has interacted with an agent in a virtual chat and then sends an email, the chat team and email team would have no record of each other’s conversations or the solutions they each offered, leading to potential agent collision (and a confused customer).
Truly omnichannel platforms like Kustomer enable agents and customers to have a single-threaded discussion about a topic that spans all of the channels their customers may be using. Agents and customers can seamlessly switch from one channel to the next as needed during a conversation while progressing the discussion. And customers never have to repeat information because agents always have the context of every conversation through a comprehensive timeline of previous interactions, purchases, and customer data all in a single view, on a single platform. As a result, you can deliver truly personalized, omnichannel customer service even as the constellation of channels continues to grow.
To truly experience Kustomer’s omnichannel customer service approach, request your free 14-day trial of Kustomer today.