The term omnichannel is currently discussed at length. It is not only a buzzword but also a broad concept, and thus its meaning is blurred and interpreted in many ways. In the series of articles on this subject, I will explain what does omnichannel mean in customer service and how to put this approach into practice.

What are the challenges that customer service faces?

Let’s begin with answering the question: why do you actually need omnichannel? I often hear that its goal is to increase or decrease some kind of customer service indicator, or that it is about implementing the Omni-channel tool (about which we have already written on our blog in What lies beneath Salesforce Omnichannel?). I suggest to take a big step back and look at the subject on two levels: the customer level and the user level.

The first one is well known to us — we are all customers, we shop every day, recently even more often online, without leaving home. Why do we prefer particular shops and portals to others? Market research shows that we choose a brand due to customer service quality increasingly. What does it mean? What do we require as customers?

 

Omnichannel through the eyes of customers

  • Comprehensive customer service and the possibility to choose — we want to have the ability to manage things via any communication channel (email, phone, Facebook —customers have their own preferences.)
  • Fast customer service — we do not like to repeat ourselves, and we value time. From our perspective, an issue is simple, and we expect that it will be solved after the first contact with the Customer Service.
  • Consistent customer service — we expect consistent quality of service whether we shop stationary or online.

If after a few hours we do not get a reply and when the day passes, the issue is still unsolved, our dissatisfaction grows together with a desire to write a negative comment on the brand’s social media. Most likely, we will not purchase in this store again.

It can be concluded that customers expect high customer service standards, regardless of communication and sales channels.

On the other hand, when we talk about the user level, we have in mind the other end of the phone or computer screen, that is, the Customer Service. What are the typical challenges of Customer Service?

 

Omnichannel through the eyes of Customer Service

  • Dispersed work environment
    • Individual channels of contact are embedded in separate apps (for example, emails on the email account, chat in Facebook Messenger, phone in the switchboard app.)
    • Lack of a consistent order base — data on online orders is in other place than data on orders from stationary stores.
    • Stock level info is also stored in a similar, unorganized manner — in several separate apps.
  • Lack of consistent customer information.
    • Different views of a customer in various databases – a particular customer may buy a lot via the Internet, but not stationary.
    • Customer Service should have full information on customers to provide them support with due care.
  • No automatic identification of a customer.
  • Difficulty in referring a case to another agent.
    • A customer view built from scratch with every issue (agents often have their own databases), no possibility to restore contact history.
  • A complicated and time-consuming process of new employees onboarding.

 

Implementing omnichannel — a process, not one shot

As you can see, the quality of customer service depends on the work environment of agents. The more adverse circumstances like those mentioned above, the more difficult it is to meet customers’ expectations and provide them with satisfactory service.

Requirements of customers grow systematically, there are more and more channels of contact, and the sales expand. How to meet these challenges? Without the omnichannel tools, it will be more difficult or even impossible.

From my experience, I know that implementation (we wrote about it in the article How to properly configure Omnichannel in Salesforce?) is not something that happens in one fell swoop, as if by magic. It is a spread-in-time process, but thanks to the possibilities offered by Salesforce, it can be accelerated and improved. How to do that? I will discuss it in the next article.

Author

  • Maciej Bucholc
  • Salesforce Architect
  • He supports customers in tailoring technological solutions to business goals. With his 10 year  experience in implementing IT solutions for customers in Poland and abroad, he participates in carrying out projects at every stage – starting from  sales, then offerings and topping his work up with  configuration and implementation. He has 13 Salesforce certificates under his belt.

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