6 ways to rapidly improve your omnichannel customer experience

Natalie Smithson
AI enthusiast | Tea addict | Focused on using AI assistants to win the working week
Illustration of a man in red among various symbols for communication channels, including social media, phone, bricks-and-mortar store and messenger platform

Struggling to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience that meets the needs of today’s customer? You’re not alone.

To do omnichannel well, organisations need real-time access to customer data, deep understanding of customer needs, a robust technology base, collaboration across all departments, and a commitment to ongoing improvement ― it’s a lot.

Here’s a detailed look into where to invest your efforts if you want to do omnichannel well in customer service support.

TL;DR

  • Customers today expect to have a choice of channels and to switch between them effortlessly with no real sense of a switch at all, so consistency is essential.
  • Where you show up for customers and consistent messaging far outweighs how many channels you appear on, so choose channels wisely from the start.
  • A quarter of people expect a response to enquiries on social media within 30 minutes and almost 60% expect that same level of response during the day and night, so faster response times across all channels 24/7 has to be a priority.
  • Collect as much customer data as you can to tailor your service to their specific needs and anticipate what they might need next.
  • It’s vital to get everyone on your teams involved in improving omnichannel customer experience to increase sales, retain more customers, encourage customer loyalty and more, and use AI as your ally.

What is omnichannel customer service?

Omnichannel customer service is about delivering consistent, seamless, personalised support across all your communication platforms, from phone and email to social media and SMS. It’s more than just a multichannel service ― it’s about seeing and shaping the customer experience entirely from their perspective.

The concept of omnichannel is more than ten years old and there are now so many touchpoints across so many different channels (traditional and digital), it’s a genuine challenge to deliver a seamless operation well. Still, if you want strong relationships with customers that last long into the future in an increasingly competitive landscape, it’s important to get a handle on it.

Why is omnichannel good for customer experience?

Getting omnichannel right means any communication and support customers experience is consistent and straightforward, which eases frustration and pushes up customer satisfaction. A cohesive approach to service can help customers feel valued and understood, boosting loyalty and retention too, but you can only achieve it by putting them at the centre of your strategy.

Before you start, it’s important to review what you already have in place, set clear goals for your customer service teams, and optimise continuously for the best results.

  • Do you currently deliver the same message to customers across every touchpoint?
  • Do you have the technology infrastructure you need to support seamless omnichannel customer service, or can things be improved?
  • Are there any gaps in your service?
  • And how much does all of this cost you?

You don’t need to work out how to be everywhere, just work out where you need to be to satisfy your unique customer base. Then look at how well your channels come together to offer a smooth, uninterrupted experience for people everywhere, every time.

6 ways to improve omnichannel customer service

If customer experience is good in all areas, but it doesn’t effortlessly transfer from channel to channel, you haven’t mastered omnichannel ― yet. That’s why being consistent is first in our list of the six things you should focus on to truly deliver excellent customer experience.

1. Consistency and branding

Customers today expect to have a choice of channels and to switch between them effortlessly with no real sense of a switch at all. They expect the same level of service and information regardless of which channel they use, so consistency is essential.

The first thing you can do to promote consistency is review your content to check your tone of voice is the same across all channels. Also, that information about your business, products and services is up to date throughout and reads the same in every place it appears.

2. Customer needs and preferences

Where you show up for customers and consistent messaging far outweighs how many channels you appear on. We recommend you choose channels wisely from the start because it’s a lot harder to close down a channel than it is to set one up.

To give your customers channels they’ll readily accept and happily use, you’ll first need to plot the customer journey:

  • How do people find you?
  • What leads them to the checkout?
  • What do they do after they’ve bought from you?

All this informs what channels you should offer to people to keep them close to your brand.

3. Speed up response times and offer self-service

Research shows a quarter of people expect a response to enquiries on social media within 30 minutes and almost 60% expect that same level of response during the day and night. This might seem like a high demand, but we all know it’s possible since automated services are now everywhere, so faster response times across all channels has to be a priority to meet this shift to instant gratification.

A woman is sitting on the floor talking to a customer service agent who appears in a bubble. Text says

Convenience ties in closely with the expectation of 24-hour service. Save people time or effort, or give them exactly what they want, when they want it, and the happier they will be. Even if your support teams are all asleep in bed, you can rely on an advanced AI assistant to answer queries for you. Consider ways for customers to self-serve on your channels for accessible and hassle-free customer support.

4. Use your data and customer relationship tools

Without information, it’s difficult to know what people want and need from you and how to deliver an experience that meets expectation. Collect as much customer data as you can to tailor your service to their specific needs and anticipate what they might need next.

If you don’t already use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, consider this to track the behaviour and habits of your customers. Your CRM system stores all your customer data, including contact and purchase history, helping to track the whole customer journey, so you can get to know your customers better and be clear on what they want.

5. Personalise the customer experience

For a single unified view of each customer, consider extending your CRM system into a Customer Data Platform. This means you collect information about your customers from multiple sources (including your CRM) to deeply personalise their service. Tailor your emails and offers to their wants and needs, recommend products and services that match their buyer behaviour, and offer a convenient, frictionless way for people to interact with your brand across every channel.

6. Build familiarity and train your teams

Marketing experts estimate the average person sees anything from 4,000 to 10,000 ads every day ― that’s a lot of noise for you to cut through. A consistent message across all your channels helps create a sense of familiarity with your brand, so customers arrive virtually or physically at your door, rather than go to your competitors, because you’re the one they trust.

Make sure you train your customer contact teams on what your brand message is and who it represents. Share knowledge about the customer journey, buyer preferences and habits, and teach your teams how to interpret data from different channels.

It’s vital you get everyone on your teams involved in improving omnichannel customer experience to increase sales, retain more customers, encourage customer loyalty, enhance customer satisfaction, improve business efficiency, and strengthen your brand reputation.

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Why AI is your ally

It’s clearly not easy to juggle multiple customers across multiple channels using multiple data sets to gather information, and that’s where AI becomes your new best friend.

An advanced AI assistant working hand-in-hand with your customer service teams can gather information from every channel and pack it into one neat, easy-to-use resource for them to work from to make informed plans and decisions about the future of your service.

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Think of an AI assistant as a super-efficient organiser. It takes in substantial amounts of information but returns highly focused, precise data you can use to improve your customer service.

  • Use one AI assistant across all channels, from your website and mobile apps, to WhatsApp, SMS, smart speakers and more, to keep your message consistent across them all.
  • Send out the same response to every customer, every time they ask a question that relates to the same topic (on our platform, you approve all content before it goes out).
  • Rely on your AI assistant to remember every detail about every one of your customers ― even tens of thousands of them at the same time, so personalisation becomes a doddle.
  • Store all your customer data in one place, so you can make decisions based on what all of your customers are doing, across all channels, as a whole.

While an AI assistant handles the data, it gives your customer support teams more opportunity to work on all the unusual, complicated or sensitive enquiries that need the human touch.

“AI emerges as a remarkable ally, opening doors to novel possibilities in optimising our resources. By tapping into its capabilities, we not only refine internal and external processes, but also pave the way for a more efficient and straightforward era in our technological journey; one where simplicity and effectiveness take centre stage. The key lies in maximising its multifaceted utility for a transformative impact.”
~ Jiedy-Ann Canon, Full Stack Developer at EBI.AI

How to know where to start

One of the biggest challenges of getting omnichannel right is knowing which channels to use in the first place. You might have enough data over a long enough period of time to work out which channels you should start with, but if you don’t, your AI assistant can start finding out for you the minute it starts speaking with your customers. You’ll soon see if customers are passing through the customer journey as you want them to, or if you need to make some changes. That way, you don’t waste time building something customers don’t want or won’t use.

Make omnichannel easy

It’s easy to get caught up in the meaning of the word omnichannel and neglect the fundamental business task that sits beneath it, which is to give customers a consistent, enjoyable experience across all your channels. Using an AI assistant marks the next era of omnichannel customer experience, with AI bringing the significant upgrade, so you can do just that, easily.

FAQs

What is omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a strategic approach that offers customers a seamless, integrated shopping or service experience across all channels, whether physical or digital. It ensures a unified and consistent transition between different points of interaction such as online stores, mobile apps, and physical premises. This approach enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Why is omnichannel important in customer service?
Omnichannel is vital in customer service as it makes sure customers get a consistent, integrated, and personalised experience across all communication platforms. It offers continuity in assisting customers, increasing satisfaction, and fostering loyalty. The approach also provides a comprehensive view of the customer journey, so you can deliver more effective interactions tailored to customer needs.
What are the best ways to improve omnichannel?
Improving omnichannel involves several key steps: 1) Understanding customer behaviour across all channels, 2) Implementing technologies that enable seamless integration of these channels, 3) Streamlining data and ensuring its accessibility in real-time, 4) Training staff to deliver consistent, personalised service, and 5) Regularly reviewing and tweaking strategies based on customer feedback and business analytics.
How does AI help with omnichannel?
AI enhances omnichannel strategies by automating and integrating communication across various channels. It can analyse customer data in real-time, predict customer behaviour, and provide personalised services. Additionally, AI can help streamline data management, improve efficiency and give customers more accurate, prompt responses, elevating the overall customer experience.