Guest Blog: Onmi-Channel Engagement – What’s Next for Customer Service?

Dave Lee

In recent years, customer relationships have evolved to become more dynamic, with consumer demand now focussed on being able to access help and advice wherever, whenever and however they choose. In fact, 81% of people would be more willing to give feedback on their experience if they thought they would get an instant response from the retailer.

Recent technological developments have seen more sophisticated offerings arise, including mobile customer relationship management applications and more attentive, humanised interaction on social media. But what if the concept of constant connectivity was taken one step further? What if the customer service department could identify an individual’s needs before they have even answered the phone, putting an end to tiresome Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems? Or if retailers could make proactive communications especially designed to our individual needs and preferences?

Well, this might not be too far off. With CRM going all ‘Minority Report’ on us, what does the future actually hold for customer service?

360° View of the Customer

The emergence of omni-channel engagement will facilitate in integrating the lives of consumers with their chosen brands, by giving them the freedom to interact wherever and however they choose. The idea that companies can build a profile of their customers from all available communication points provides greater scope for reaching out to both current and potential business.

Many businesses are taking up social media to tentatively promote their services, but in fact, social media should be a cornerstone of your company’s communications model. Not only does it offer your brand an opportunity to communicate its offering and respond to criticism with clarity, but it also provides a valuable insight into customer base. For example, by collating information from platforms like Facebook and Twitter into a grand database (e.g. Facebook ‘Likes’), brands have fantastic potential to target marketing to individual interests and needs.

Implemented properly, omni-channel engagement can empower brands to trigger sales by using rich customer information to facilitate highly targeted marketing campaigns. In addition, an integrated system means that lost sales can also be recovered though tracking online activity.

To illustrate, a potential customer may fill their basket online and made it to the checkout, but don’t complete their transaction because maybe they were distracted, or their order didn’t process properly. Rather than this becoming a lost sale, an omni-channel solution would enable customer services to identify this occurrence and reach out to offer help via the most appropriate communication channel.

Smartphone Technology

Smartphones and tablets are becoming more popular every day, with recent research revealing that 60% of mobile phone owners in the UK have smartphones. While mobile technology is nothing new, creating mobile customer service applications within call-centres can essentially turn brands into mind-readers.

To illustrate, contact centres have traditionally struggled to quickly establish their customer’s needs, leading them through several frustrating rounds of IVR. However, emerging technology such as Mobile CRM apps, may instead allow them to determine the caller’s needs based on information held by their device. In turn, calls can be diverted to the appropriate representative before they’re even answered.

And it’s hoped the future holds much more than that for mobile technology and CRM. If mobile apps are capable of building and collating information about us as consumers, then there’s a possibility for smartphones to act as a secure locker for verification tokens like usernames, passwords and membership numbers.

The world of customer relationship management is constantly evolving. With the most recent technological advances transferring responsibility to the brand to reach out to their consumer, investment in omni-channel platform solutions will prove to be a valuable tool for business success.

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