A while ago, most companies depended on a single channel approach to assist, communicate with the customers. This was before the technological storm that has taken over every aspect of existence. The multichannel customer experience is becoming the new norm, given the scores of benefits it provides. The core element of the concept lies in the term ‘multi.’ This means that customers can use more than one communication channel to reach out to companies with their concerns or queries.
For instance, a customer browsing on Amazon sets his heart on a bird-feeder that also shows the weather report. He orders the product and eagerly awaits its arrival by tracking the order on the app. Unfortunately, the bird feeder doesn’t arrive within the promised delivery date. He reaches out to Customer Support (CS) via chat on the app, sends a complaint in an email, and talks to a CS rep to express his displeasure. He even tweets the brand about the product delivery failure. This is a starking example of a multichannel customer experience: one company, one customer, and a host of various interaction and communication channels.
Customers now have innumerable ways to engage with companies, from traditional channels to an ever-growing range of digital modes. The customer’s desire to interact with brands across various channels will not abate, and companies that cannot respond to this need for multichannel customer experience risk being left behind.
Changing landscape of consumer experience
The emergence of a myriad of devices and digital channels has added complexity to customer journeys, making the multichannel customer experience of key importance. A company has to be able to answer all of them with the same level of professionalism and agility. Today, a customer’s decision to buy is not only based on the quality of the product or the service but also the quality of the customer service and experience.
With the consumer landscape changing, companies have to implement tools and applications that make the user’s experience memorable. Gone are the days when massive spreadsheets showed the data to identify specific areas of poor customer experience and create action plans for improvement. Now is the time to use sophisticated and advanced tracking and tagging technologies to develop an understanding of the value and role of multichannel and to provide better-personalized customer service and intelligence to the business on which to base future investment decisions.
Customers don’t only want to have their problems resolved; they want to have them solved fast, transparently, and reliably and with a bit of empathy and personalization.
Honestly, a simple interaction can sometimes make or break a brand.
Impact of multichannel interactions on customer experience
Customer-centric: Customer journeys aren’t simple and linear but are a trajectory of handoffs between traditional and digital channels that vary significantly by customer type. Building an effective multichannel customer management strategy requires an in-depth understanding of what customers want. The ball is in their court now. It’s a customer-centric market; they call the shots and failing to gratify their digital requirements may hinder a company's long-term future.
Retention and revenue: Companies need to design the customer journey ensuring that the end-to-end digital and live-contact journeys address identified customer needs and preferences and have clearly defined digital migration points. They have to facilitate the journey with multi-skilled agents and best-practice contact-center operations to engage with customers live. Customers will choose to stick around if they receive remarkable customer service across all channels. They don’t want to be heard, they need that ounce of human touch that makes their journey less irksome. And loyalty sure does bring in revenue.
Reliable data: Keeping a customer happy will require a bit of groundwork. Gathering the right data about their buying patterns and past interactions with AI-based tools will help a company gain more insight into how to improve its customer service. Undoubtedly multichannel modes of interaction are a huge plus, but if there is a lack of consistency and incorrect data, the experience can be ruined forever.
Blurred geographical boundaries: With an array of channels to interact and communicate, geographical boundaries have become blurred. A customer sitting in a high-rise in New York can write a review about the box of Baklava that was shipped from a quaint little shop in Turkey on the app and even post on the brand’s social media platform. With the proliferation of digital modes for multichannel interactions, the latitudes and longitudes become just lines on a map, and customer experience becomes more impactful and memorable.
Seamless multichannel experience is not just convenient for customers, businesses stand to benefit in more ways than one too.
Impact of multichannel interactions on business performance
Lower acquisition costs: The best combination of multichannel for an optimized business plan tailored to the target demographic will also deliver the most customers with the lowest Cost Per Acquisition.
Augmented agent productivity: When a company creates a customer-centric strategy, they usually place skilled agents right where they are required the most. And most often, they collaborate with partners like Xaqt that provide AI-based platforms that help companies design and deploy intelligent and dynamic customer experiences across all channels and industries. With virtual agents attending the simpler queries, live agents are left to handle complicated ones without getting distracted, increasing their productivity.
Reducing turnaround time (TAT): Earlier responding to a customer’s query could take 24 to 48 hours. With multichannel modes of interaction, this has reduced significantly. Emails, chatbots, social media, helpline numbers, and even a knowledge base keep customers happy and satisfied. They know where to find the answer to the query or scout the platform to express glee or anger. As a result, customers are seldom left in the lurch hunting for answers, and the response time has drastically decreased.
Increased CSAT scores: A quick personalized interaction is what a customer wants. Multichannel customer management tools provide that to them. Even if it's a chatbot, an empathetic personalized note can drastically change customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. Also, when a customer receives multiple options to connect with a brand and is delighted with the service, they usually promote the product or service themselves. The concept of ‘word of mouth’ couldn't have had a better example when a particular customer goes gaga about a company’s service all over social media and soon a host of new prospects convert.
While the quality of the customer experience is important, consistency is equally important. That’s because the customers experience the brand as a whole, whether their interactions are online, in a store, over the phone, or some combination of these. There are a few factors that companies need to understand if they want to build a multichannel customer experience. Let’s take a look.
Building and managing a multichannel customer experience
Consistent communication: Multichannel customer experience is the new battlefield. No one wants to deal with a brand that treats the customers poorly and is inconsistent with information or service. And how a customer feels after an interaction with a customer service agent has a huge impact on future purchase decisions. A good interaction keeps the customer happy and satisfied, while a poor one could stop doing business with that company again.
Mapping the customer journey: Companies must develop a customer journey map that encompasses a vision for how to deliver an excellent experience based on the personas and how these interactions should feel for their customers. These basics will help them strike the right balance of speed, transparency, and interaction within each channel and achieve a successful interplay of digital and live channels.
Investing in the right technology: Technology has taken a massive leap towards progression and businesses need to utilize the advancements. A well-designed customer-centric strategy needs to be supported by efficient foundational capabilities. AI modeled platforms that use Natural Language Progression (NLP) engines help address customer grievances based on personal attributes by harnessing customer data using advanced analytics.
Open to customer feedback: Giving a voice to the customer can be a big differentiator. Developing a multichannel customer feedback system or a survey that allows regular and real-time customer feedback will help drive process improvement, employee behavior, product design, and ongoing strategy.
The need for multichannel customer experience is not confined to specific industries. Instead, it rises from evolving customer preferences and behaviors as more channels emerge. An effective multichannel support strategy can be the difference between increasing customer satisfaction and losing customers due to a lack of available support options.
Get onboard with Xaqt’s multichannel AI platform
When a company decides to expand its operations to include multichannel support; the exercise may look overwhelming at first, but the rewards reaped in the future outweigh the cost. Collaborating with a technologically advanced partner such a Xaqt, that harbors the power of AI in it’s multichannel support channels can be a wise decision.
Xaqt’s unified intelligence and conversation server renders customer support across on any digital platform- phone, chat, sms from the start. Xaqt’s multichannel AI Agents can seamlessly collaborate on providing solutions instantly and personalizing information based on past interactions.
Leveraging the power of AI, Xaqt helps companies design and deploy intelligent and dynamic customer experiences across all channels and industries.
Xaqt believes in an agile approach and continues to drive transformation in organizations with its engaging and adaptable employee and customer applications on a unified digital experience platform.
If you are interested in deploying intelligent and impactful customer experience across all channels and industries, find out how we can help you.