How leading brands are meeting customers where they are with tech powered by the human touch
In today’s marketplace, customers expect to have a seamless, consistent experience with a brand across all platforms. From the tone of your emails to the helpfulness of chatbots, getting it right matters: 70% of customers spend more with businesses that provide frictionless and personalized customer experience (CX).
The brands that are most successful have found the perfect balance between technology and the human touch. Targeted email newsletters. Intuitive website design. The availability of AI assistance. The responsiveness of customer representatives. Each interaction with their customers is thought-through, tailored, and seamless.
But a frictionless customer experience doesn’t mean fully automated. 64% of Americans and 59% of consumers worldwide believe most businesses need more human interaction integrated into their customer care.
It’s critical for businesses to leverage technology, but only in support of human-to-human customer relationships. This guide will help you better understand consumer expectations and improve your omnichannel customer experience strategies. We’ll explore the following:
Omnichannel is not a trendy buzzword for the extra high-achievers. It’s an absolute necessity for creating a great customer experience.
The majority of consumers interact with brands on multiple channels. Harvard Business Review conducted a study from 2015-2016. They found that 7% of consumers shopped exclusively online, and 20% shopped exclusively in-store. That means that 73% of U.S. consumers are omnichannel customers—and that was nine years ago. How much more are U.S. consumers utilizing multiple platforms today?
Research also shows that omnichannel customers are significantly more valuable than single-channel customers. Omnichannel customers spend 4% more each time they shop in-store and 10% more each time they shop online. The more you interact with a customer, the more likely you are to close a deal. And to sell more in each deal. Pretty remarkable.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. What is omnichannel?
Omnichannel is an e-commerce strategy that integrates and streamlines customer experience across all platforms. It recognizes that customers interact with brands across many channels. This includes email, social media, chatbots, brick-and-mortar stores, and more. An omnichannel strategy ensures that all customer touchpoints are seamless, efficient, and, we hope, even a little delightful.
Consumer Expectations for Seamless CX
Too often, we prioritize cutting-edge technology and automation over customer needs and expectations. We implement new technology to cut costs, and only after, consider the full implications for the customer. We think technology will make our customer’s lives easier and, therefore, will be inherently better. But that’s not always true.
Let’s look into what modern consumers expect from brands today. We can then learn how to create an effective omnichannel customer service strategy that strategically balances technology and human connection.
Customers expect to pick up where they left off
The customer journey and shopping experience are hardly linear these days. It takes place in person, online, across several devices, and over a number of interactions. In fact, the average consumer will have at least 5.5 touchpoints with a brand before making a purchase—and some will have up to 20.
The challenge is to ensure that customers can easily pick up where they left off. Say they place an item in their shopping cart on their desktop computer. That item should still be there when they sign into the app on their iPad.
Or suppose they fill out a form online. A customer service representative should have easy access to it so the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves.
Integration is key, as customers expect to pick up where they left off, no matter what platform or channel.
Customers expect shorter wait times
Good customer service is often synonymous with immediate solutions. No one wants to waste time sitting on hold. What might that look like?
Email responses should happen within 24 hours (at the least)
A customer representative should be readily available to talk
Chatbot responses should be near immediate
Millennial and Gen Z consumers particularly expect shorter wait times. But it’s interesting to note that Gen X and baby boomers have slightly different preferences. While, of course, they don’t love long waits, they are willing to spend a little extra time to receive more attentive customer care. For them, personalized and polite care outweighs the potential annoyance of a long wait.
Be mindful of your industry as well.
prefer talking directly to a healthcare representative, even if it means a longer wait.
Yet, those dropping a return package off want that process to be quick and efficient. The stakes are significantly higher with healthcare, so prioritizing better care over slight inconvenience makes sense.
Customers expect personalization
Customers expect brands to know them—what their hobbies are, what life stage they’re in, and what pain points they need help alleviating. The young mom with four kids in the suburbs does not want to see ads for the latest two-door sports car. The baby boomer executive in New York has no interest in the latest organic fabrics for kids’ clothes. Personalization has become an ingrained expectation.
Customers expect the human touch
Amazon is a (mostly) digital platform that has invested in AI technology, chatbot services, and self-service processes. Yet, even with all that automation, they still have representatives available 24/7 to answer questions and solve problems. Why? They understand the need for real human interaction.
Again, it is a balancing act. One that requires automation to support human interaction, not replace it. Technology can do a lot for us, but there are still complex problems that machines can’t solve.
Customers expect problems to be solved in real time
Agents need to have information easily accessible and the power to make quick decisions and solve problems. Employees at the Ritz Carlton can spend up to $2,000 per customer per day to right a wrong. All without seeking managerial approval.
Now, of course, we don’t all have the budget of the Ritz. But the principle stands. Empower your representatives to show human empathy by solving real problems in real time, hassle-free.
Customers are on all channels
This is the heartbeat of omnichannel CX. Customers are on all channels, and you should be, too. Remember how valuable multichannel customers are? They spend significantly more money in-store and online when they interact with a brand across multiple avenues.
In fact, research shows that customers who use four or more channels spend 9% more in-store than single-channel shoppers. Think of those who subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on social media, utilize a chatbot return service, and browse in-store. Investing the time and energy to provide excellent customer experiences across all platforms is worth it.
Ready to take the next step?
How to create seamless customer experiences
It’s clear that customers expect an omnichannel strategy that balances human contact and technology. A great customer CX gains you more loyal customers willing to spend more money. Let’s now look at some strategies for creating a seamless omnichannel customer experience.
Map the customer journey
One of the best ways to ensure your company strikes the right balance between automation and human touch is to create journey maps. Spend some time naming all possible customer touchpoints across all channels. Then, determine which ones can be streamlined and automated with technology and which need extra personalization.
Anticipate which processes are the most complex and provide extra easy access to human support at those touchpoints. You want to ensure that customers feel seen and heard at any point along the customer journey.
Be present in all channels
It can be exhausting to keep up with all the latest avenues for customer engagement and support. But remember how much more lucrative and loyal omnichannel customers are? It matters—and is a necessary competitive advantage in today’s marketplace. Here is a list of channels to consider as you build your omnichannel customer relationship and communications strategies.
Mail / fax
In-store / In-person
Mobile In-App Messaging
Live Video Conferencing
Keep it Human
Customers want to feel that behind your excellent product and service, real humans are at work. Representatives should be polite and responsive, and even your AI bots and technology should feel human and personal. But that doesn’t mean you should make your bots too colloquial. Keep interactions smart and professional with a human flare.
Track communication in one “point of truth”
Keeping track of customer information is a key component of effective customer service. For each customer, your company should be tracking the following:
Social Media Activity
Customer Loyalty Programs
Customer Service Interactions
But all of this information comes from multiple sources (like sales reports, social media analytics, and website visitation data). It can be challenging to store it all in one place. But this blocks you from gaining a holistic and accurate picture of your customers and creates friction between your processes.
Create a seamless customer experience by keeping all customer information and subsequent communication with them in one comprehensive CRM.
Integrate Siloed Systems
Technology’s strongest asset is streamlining systems and reducing inefficiencies. Lean on its strengths to integrate all your siloed systems and make a more effortless experience for the customer.
For example, retail stores can integrate all their systems from an omnichannel approach. Mobile shopping, web shopping, and in-store shopping should all seamlessly communicate with warehouse stock, inter-store purchases, and pick-up and return services.
Similarly, you can integrate your communication strategies across all channels. Email, in-store banners, blog and social media posts should communicate the same message clearly to your customers. Integrate your siloed systems so customers feel they interact with one consistent brand across all platforms.
It means so much when a friend remembers a personal detail from a previous conversation. The same is true for a company. Make your customers feel known however they choose to engage with you. How can you do this?
Leverage Customer Data
Gather and analyze data from various touchpoints to understand customer preferences, behavior, and history. Then, use that data to segment your customers and tailor your service and marketing strategies toward each group.
Tailor and Personalize Communication Use your customers’ names and provide relevant content based on their preferences. Remember, make them feel known. This can be through personalized emails, targeted advertising, or customized messaging.
Offer personalized rewards and loyalty programs Create incentives tailored to your customers to foster loyalty and encourage repeat business. We all love rewards.
Establish feedback loops Allow your customers to give your company constructive criticism. Use that information to continually improve systems, personalize customer service, and connect with your customers.
Omnichannel CX should always center around a company’s proactivity. Anticipate needs, solve problems, and actively connect with your customers. When you feel like there’s a lull in the relationship, here are a few ways to be proactive and reengage your audience:
Send a fresh targeted email campaign
Offer specialties and promotions
Collect feedback through a customer survey
Create a loyalty program or add a new perk
Refresh and update content
Create interactive content on social media
Our take: Seamless customer engagement at ROI CX Solutions
With our 40+ years of customer support, our team at ROI CX Solutions has done it all. We’ve worked with fashion brands, education companies, automotive dealerships, healthcare providers—you name it. And each time, we’ve helped companies implement effective omnichannel approaches that increase profits and improve customer experience.
What has that looked like for our clients?
in speed of answer
ADDITIONAL $1M REVENUE PER MONTH
by providing more efficient and effective service
INBOUND SALES RATE
through data-driven intelligence
Boosting customer satisfaction while scaling service
Contact ROI CX Solutions today to see how we can strengthen your customer experience and boost your bottom line with a seamless omnichannel CX.
About ROI CX Solutions
ROI CX Solutions drives customer satisfaction and business success through outsourced customer service and global sourcing management. With decades of experience across our expert team, ROI CX Solutions has innovated results-driven performance and improved customer experiences for brands across a variety of industries. With flexible, customizable solutions, state-of-the-art technology, and world-class customer service representatives, we deliver results for your business—and your customers.
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