Report: Retailers Adopt Omnichannel Solutions to Strengthen Customer Experiences
Retailers face a number of challenges, including competition from nimble e-commerce upstarts and increasingly impatient customers. The industry is recognizing that as the needs of the modern consumer change, the customer experience they offer needs to evolve with it. A large part of that evolution has been the shift to omnichannel support.
Omnichannel solutions allow retailers to communicate with their customers in customer-preferred channels and to offer personalized services. However, without a strategy to ensure those channels are integrated, both customers and support teams can struggle with siloed, fragmented experiences. For example, in the retail industry, ticket volume can increase as much as 42 percent over the holidays, causing a drop in customer satisfaction for retailers without a built-out omnichannel solution.
Just how important is it for retailers to have an omnichannel solution? According to Zendesk’s most recent benchmark report: extremely. We examined customer service interactions from 45,000 organizations across 140 countries.
Fragmented Channels Result in Poor Customer Experiences
Customers increasingly expect to be able to contact support through a variety of channels. Companies that provide those options see quantifiable benefits. We found that companies without an integrated omnichannel approach across email, web, phone, chat and self-service have 16 percent lower first reply times, 31 percent lower first resolution times, and 13 percent fewer replies overall.
Our report also investigated changing customer expectations, and found 61 percent of respondents surveyed said they were less patient with customer service than they were five years prior. Additionally, we saw that the majority of customers with more than one previous customer service inquiry used more than one channel to reach out, proving consumer desire for omnichannel support.
Omnichannel Support Best Practices
As companies add channels to keep up with customer preferences, it’s crucial they remain focused on operational efficiency and ensure channels work together for customers, agents and admins. Below are some basic tips for retailers on effectively integrating their support channels.
1. Have the customer’s perspective in mind.
The key to creating an effective omnichannel solution is to understand the customer experience you offer from the perspective of your customers. Identify the top issues customers write in about. Pay attention to issues customers are unable to solve on their own through your help center.
There’s a lot you can find by digging into your data. Identifying your customers’ top issues and the average resolution time for each allows you to implement better routing rules. This gets customers to the right agents sooner and correctly matches particular requests to the channels best suited for them.
By noticing where failed customer searches lead to new tickets, you can improve your help center and answer customer questions more effectively. Helping customers find what they’re looking for on their own also frees up your support agents to focus on inquiries that truly require attention.
2. Keep conversations connected.
One of the first things retailers need to do in order to have an effective omnichannel strategy is to eradicate any silos. The last thing a frustrated customer wants to do is to repeat themselves over and over again to your agents. The best solution is to fully connect all customer support channels to ensure that there’s one connected record of the customer and no divisions when it comes to tickets. This will result in a better customer experience and a less siloed, more efficient support operation.
For more best practices on establishing omnichannel support, check out our full report, which goes into more detail on launching new channels, integrating existing channels, teaming up with the right technology partners, and more.
Mark Bloom is the Director of Product Marketing at Zendesk, a customer service software and support ticket system.
Related story: The ROI Case for Omnichannel Support