But how do you deliver against ever increasing expectations? It's simple; give your customers what they want and wow them in the process. Here are the five basics that every CIO should implement as a matter of course if they are to deliver successful omnichannel customer service in 2014:
- Deliver consistency across all your channels. The same level of service must be received across multiple touch points;
- Multiple channels, one point of contact. Where possible, ensure that customers have just one point of contact, regardless of channel. That way a relationship can be cultivated and customers won't feel as if they've been pushed 'from pillar to post';
- Speed of response and speed of resolution. Both are incredibly important to customers. Deliver on both counts, consistently;
- Keep your call centre. Customers like to call and speak to someone, especially if they don't receive a satisfactory outcome through other channels; and
- Integrate all your channels. Offering a choice of customer service methods is pointless if you can't access 'a single view of the customer.'
Cultivate customers for life
Successful Asian businesses have put omnichannel at the heart of their business strategy, incorporating and integrating customer service into their sales strategies and ensuring customer retention is their mantra. They make it their business to know everything there is to know about every customer interaction across their organisation. In doing so, they are fast to respond, they can track performance to ensure continuous improvement and ultimately, they strive to turn each and every customer into a brand advocate. They know the customer journey doesn't end at the checkout, but carries on for many years to come. Quite simply, they care enough to keep their customers for life.
Michael Folmer Hansen is vice president and Asia Pacific managing director at Zendesk.
[i] The omnichannel customer service gap, November 2013, http://www.zendesk.com/resources/omnichannel-customer-service-report
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