“Omnichannel”. What a disgusting word! Sadly it’s one of those words that has gained traction as a result of too many people hoping to sound clever. So it appears I am just going to have to get over it!
So what is omnichannel? It’s a bastardisation of omnipresent and multi-channel. When applied to customer service or marketing, it simply refers to being in all the myriad of places that customers want you to be, whether that’s the facebook (channel) or a good old-fashioned phone or email channels.
With that done. Let’s get down to business…
We see this all the time: as businesses get bigger and busier, and their customer service teams expand, they begin using more and more different tools to stay on top of everything.
Maybe you just started with one system to deal with incoming phone calls. Then you added an email management system. A little while later, you started to get more messages from customers via social channels, so you had to add in a new tool to stay on top of them. As even more time passed, you realised that customers wanted to contact you through live chat, so that was added to your website too… Sound familiar? If so, you’ll know how hard it is to keep on top of it all.
That’s where omnichannel service management comes in. It means that you are, essentially, bringing everything together into one single system. The obvious benefit of that is, of course, increased efficiency. But the benefits of omnichannel service management go far beyond that. Let’s take a closer look at what else it can bring to your business.
Increase your customer satisfaction
It’s not just your customer service agents who’ll be happier when you move everything to one single system – your customers will appreciate it, too.
With an omnichannel system, all information about your customers is stored in one central place. That means everything you need is at your fingertips – from basic information like their name, so you can get your conversation off on the right foot with a personalised greeting, to all of their previous interactions with your company. That makes for a happier customer, as they don’t need to repeat the same information or rehash old conversations every time they speak to a new agent – something that’s particularly important in the case of complaints. Instead, you can simply load up their information and get down to the issue at hand – making it faster and easier to solve their problem or answer their question, and leaving you with a far happier customer!
Having everything in one place also means you can offer faster service. You can switch from a live chat enquiry to email to phone, without ever having to leave the software you’re using and – crucially – without losing your customer data as you move between platforms. That makes for a more seamless brand experience from a customer perspective. All too often, customers start a live chat on a company’s website, then move to email or social media, only to find they have to enter their information and explain the issue again. From a customer perspective, if they’re speaking to multiple people who all work for the same company, why can’t they just share the information between them? Well, now you can do just that with an omnichannel system.
And that speed of service is crucial for customer satisfaction. Using HubSpot has enabled one of our enterprise clients, who deal with an average of 7000 support tickets every month, to improve their average time to resolve issues from 8.9 days in January 2022, to just 34.9 hours in June 2022! Think of what you could do with all that saved time.
Customer insights you can actually implement
If you’re currently tracking all of your service channels in different places, it can be difficult to compare and contrast their performance. How do you know whether you’re resolving more customer issues over the phone or on live chat? And do all of your channels get the same amount of traffic? What if hundreds more tickets are being raised by email than by social media, but you have more agents covering social?
Switching to omnichannel service management and using the insights provided by the likes of HubSpot service analytics can help you to have a more holistic overview, enabling you to report on all your incoming service channels in one place.
What’s more, you can better assign resources depending on where the most demand is. Switching to HubSpot has helped one of our enterprise clients to manage this as, now when they start work in the morning they can see how many enquiries are waiting, and then assign resources accordingly. They can make decisions in real-time, reassigning agents from emails to live chat if more enquiries are coming through on that channel (and vice versa). This flexibility is especially important on product launch days, when they can get as many as 500 enquiries in a single day.
This system also allows you to get a better feel for the types of enquiries that are coming through each channel. Maybe you notice that lots of people are asking about one particular issue on live chat tickets. In that case, you could add a snippet to save agents typing out the same thing every time the question is asked, a link to a specific page – or you could update your website content or create a new page to ensure the question is clearly answered, removing the need for customers to get in touch in the first place.
Reduce employee turnover
If you run a business with a customer service department, you’ll know that staff turnover in that particular area is, unfortunately, high. The turnover of customer service agents globally sits between 30% and 45%, and entry-level CS agents only tend to last a year in the role.
When CX Magazine looked further into the reasons for this high turnover, it uncovered some interesting statistics, with a huge 72% saying that they wished it was easier to access customer information on the customer service tools they used. Additionally, 79% stated that their workload was too high, meaning they had too much to do in too little time.
That’s where omnichannel service management comes in. Firstly, a tool like HubSpot has all of your customer information in one place, making it easier to access.
Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to streamline processes, making work more efficient for your staff. They have the opportunity to respond through more time-efficient channels like live chat, and it’s also easy to set up snippets and templates across the different channels. That means responses to commonly asked questions are set up and ready to go, saving your agents time whilst also solving customer queries more efficiently.
In fact, when one of our enterprise clients began using snippets consistently, their reps increased the number of email and chat enquiries they could handle, from an average of 22 per day in January 2022 to 80 per day in May 2022.
This also allows you to better manage your teams, ensuring the right people are tasked out to the right channels, further improving your team’s productivity. The agents who are using HubSpot tools most effectively, for example, can be directed to email and chat channels, while those reps who are more comfortable using traditional support channels can spend the majority of their time manning the phones.
With more free time in their day, agents are better able to focus on providing better service, and handling more complex issues, as well as completing training and planning for future improvements to your business’ customer service function – giving them improved job satisfaction, and meaning you’re more likely to hold onto your valued customer service team.
Say goodbye to agents struggling to fix problems with their system, and say hello to a more time and cost efficient way of doing things. Using the same software for all of your service channels consolidates costs, and moves the operational burden from your agents’ shoulders to the systems themselves.
You can also save on costs in a big way by setting up knowledge bases and bots on your site. These allow customers to try to find the answers to their questions themselves before getting in touch with your team – indeed, this is the preferred way of doing things for the majority of customers. Microsoft found that 77% of customers have used a self-serve portal, and the Harvard Business Review reports that, across all industries, 81% of customers attempt to find out the answer to a query themselves before reaching out to customer service.
We’ve found the same with our clients, too. Implementing HubSpot chatbots and triaging customers by the bot before a rep takes over the live conversation has enabled one of our clients to increase the number of live chats resolved by an average of 25% per month year-on-year from January to May 2022.
Stand out from the crowd
Omnichannel is a hot topic at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is doing it – far from it. When you switch to omnichannel service management, your customers might not be aware that’s what you’ve done – but they will know that you provide superior customer service. That’s enough to help you stand out in a crowded market, and keep a loyal group of fans coming back for more.
Tools like HubSpot aren’t just for customer service teams, either. Your marketing team can also benefit from HubSpot, meaning your teams can share information and learnings to further improve service and business efficiencies.
To give you an idea of how this works in practice, let’s look to one of our enterprise clients using HubSpot. There, the service team informs marketing if customers are confused about a product launch. Marketing then updates the website with further information so they don’t get repeat customer enquiries, and the marketing team helps the service team by pre-emptively creating snippets for new product launches, which the customer service team can use with standardised responses to resolve queries faster.
Go beyond efficiency with omnichannel customer service
Omnichannel customer service goes well beyond efficiency. It can also:
- Increase purchase likelihood
- Increase visibility of enquiries so you can actually make improvements
- Reduce employee turnover
- Save on costs
- Create loyal brand fans
- Improve communication and collaboration between departments
Ready to find out more about what omnichannel management can do for your business? Book a meeting with us today.