Customers expect omni-channel support.

That’s hardly surprising, given the modern media landscape.

We are all busy broadcasting, sharing and messaging our friends, family and colleagues using a huge variety of apps and platforms.

It’s not unusual to share pictures on Instagram, message friends with WhatsApp, complain about your phone’s battery on Twitter, check in with your parents on Facebook, and look for new opportunities on LinkedIn – all in a single day.

People are naturally omnichannel – and we expect this to continue when we need help from a business. We want to be able to choose the channel that makes sense for us. Every channel has distinct qualities that consumers implicitly recognise:

Phone is preferred when we have an urgent issue or a complex query.

Chat is chosen when we have a simple query but want an immediate answer.

Webforms and email are used when the query is not urgent and we’re happy to wait.

Social media is often used in moments of anger or frustration – or when customers want to vent or draw attention to a grievance.

Omnichannel support: the value to the provider

It’s clear that customers expect omnichannel support. But is this just a cost that companies must bear?

Or does the provision of omnichannel customer support deliver a more tangible benefit?

How can companies get a return on their investment in omnichannel solutions?

Before we look at the where the ROI can be found, it’s worth considering the results of a Zendesk survey into omnichannel support.

Compared to companies that don’t offer omnichannel support, omnichannel companies achieved:

  • 31% lower first resolution times
  • 39% lower requester wait time
  • 13% fewer replies
  • 16% faster first resolution times

These findings demonstrate the benefits of offering omnichannel support. People get help faster, and consequently need less agent time to achieve the same result. Instead of having queries bouncing around inboxes, or waiting for replies, agents can resolve more queries at the first attempt.

Reduce agent contacts

If customers have more channels to choose from, they are more likely to choose the channel that works best for their query. And that means less agent time wasted on calls when a chat would have been quicker, or email chains when a call would have been quicker.

Giving customers more options doesn’t mean giving them more of your time.

Improved customer retention rates

Customers like choices. They like feeling in control. And for every customer who prefers to get help by phone, there will be five who detest navigating IVR. By giving customers choices, you can help them avoid unnecessary stress. These minor moments all contribute to the customer experience. Frustrating, slow or inflexible customer support are all great ways to lose customers.

And as we know, it’s far cheaper to retain customers than to find new customers. Research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, inventor of the net promoter score, found that increasing retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.

Enhance your reputation and referral rates

People don’t typically recommend companies that are just ‘okay’. If you want a referral, you must be great. You must deliver a solid, reliable, remarkable product every time, and the entire end-to-end buying experience must be perfect. Any hiccup or disappointment reduces the chances that your customer will recommend you to their friends and family.

Offering omnichannel support improves your chances of delivering satisfying support, which in turn can retain customers and reduce agent demand. It’s easy to see that any expense incurred by deploying additional customer service channels can be easily recouped.

Does your organisation offer omnichannel support? If not, what’s stopping you?

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Articles | Contact Centres | Omnichannel