There’s no use fighting it: customer service has changed. The rise of e-commerce is driving the spread of service channels over mobile, email, chat, social, and more. More interactions means rising customer expectations. To meet them, you need skilled agents who can deliver on an omnichannel customer experience.
What is an Omnichannel Customer Experience?
An omnichannel customer experience is a series of seamless interactions between a customer and a brand. It’s designed to meet consumers where they are, across channels. An omnichannel approach is built on the foundation that customers shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced just because they’re using different methods to communicate.
New technologies like chatbots and self-help modules are reducing the numbers of basic service inquiries. This means that agents need to be even more prepared to solve complex, emotionally nuanced problems. However, as agents have taken on more complex service tasks, their turnover rate has increased — reaching between 30-45% for some organizations.
To be successful, agents must be empowered and ready to deliver consultative service driven by a connected experience — and have the training and tools to do so. They need to have all the information about the product or service they’re offering, and have full insight into the back-end to know product availability and other details. They need more context about customers than ever—how often they’ve reached out over different channels, whether their previous issues have been resolved, and how they’ve felt about previous interactions. And, they need to be able to engage over multiple channels at the same time, switching from email to chat to phone with ease. To have a single timeline and the ability to see the entire history of customer interactions enables agents to take an informed approach to building lifetime value.
Going from Service to Experience Requires New Metrics
With these changes in mind, to understand the value your service is bringing to your customers, you’re going to need new metrics. Average Handle Time (AHT) can give you insight into your overall efficiency, but it’s only valuable if you’re approaching your service organization as a cost-center, rather than a revenue driver. If you’re treating your service as a tool to build relationships with customers, then metrics like Customer Satisfaction surveys and QA reports have more value, but these only give you limited context and insight into how your customers really feel about their experience. What’s the right number to measure?
Stella Connect and Kustomer both tackle this issue from two different sides—which is why we make such great partners. Stella Connect motivates agents and prompts a response from customers with a gamified post-engagement survey that focuses on the performance of specific agents. By delivering real-time feedback on performance across every channel, Stella Connect delivers metrics that drive measurable change. Companies like Williams-Sonoma and Swanson Health Products that use Stella Connect to create a better environment within their customer service organization see a measurable drop in attrition.
Kustomer’s focus is on increasing Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) and promoting First Contact Resolution—helping agents follow the customer across channels during the same conversation. Agents are empowered to connect with a customer over chat, then call them over the phone if needed, then follow up over email with next steps. This ensures that the customer journey is always progressing, meaning shoppers never have to repeat themselves or start over. From the agent’s perspective, omnichannel customer service can increase First Contact Resolution. However your organization needs to be focusing on FCR and ultimately LTV rather than Average Handle Time, as it will take more time to deliver high-touch, conversational service.
Omnichannel Customer Experience Promotes Success
A fully-enabled omnichannel strategy reaps real rewards for your business. Sixty-six percent of customers have used at least three different communication channels to contact customer service, so being prepared to deliver great service over multiple channels is a bare necessity. Almost 87% of retail leaders agree a seamless omnichannel strategy is critical to business success, but unfortunately only 8% say they have successfully achieved it. A good omnichannel customer experience is crucial for bolstering your bottom line, with about 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience and 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience. In fact, companies see an increase in customer retention of 2-3% just by switching to Kustomer.
To make sense of this omnichannel world, you need to focus on Lifetime Value. To increase lifetime value, you need to understand and motivate your agents, and empower them to deliver a great experience over every channel at once. Together, Stella Connect and Kustomer help you do both.