Anyone who meets the concept of Omnichannel for the first time will not always decode it off the cuff. The second part, “channel”, certainly draws attention. You can think, rightly, that by translating from English, it’s probably about the channel (communication) – in fact, nothing more accurate. However, the term “Omni” is not so obvious. It’s all about the Latin “everything”. So we combine both translations and get something like “All-channels”. This is how this concept was adopted in free translation on the Polish and European market. Basically, in Poland this term has become a permanent feature quite recently, it is growing rapidly and more and more companies are trying to implement customer communication activities in accordance with the assumptions of omnichannel. How do they do that is the other side of the coin. They often don’t have the resources and the idea to make it efficiently. It is also connected with the lack of experience and the wrong selection of tools. Then comes outsourcing and companies that are able to take on the whole responsibility for communication with the customer, plan it from A to Z how it will look like and implement the assumptions of the sales, service or other campaign. There are many elements to be implemented and even more assumptions to be fulfilled. Therefore, achieving results is not the easiest task. Even the selection of the tools mentioned above and the allocation of human resources require reflection. It is worth trusting professionals who have extensive experience and know how to do it.
Omnichannel and Network Customer Service
Omnichannel ≠ Multichannel
Customer service in the omnichannel canons focuses on the use of different communication channels to ensure the provision of the service, while maintaining synergies between all channels. On the other hand, the aim of multichannel is to provide customer service through multiple communication channels. The key element that distinguishes these concepts is synergy, cohesion to the benefit of the first concept. Omnichannel assumes more combined and trouble-free management of communication channels, focusing on the customer’s experience and the smooth way through cognitive, sales and service processes. As an example, we can take the process of purchasing a product in an online store, which is currently the standard:
Product search on the website. -> Questions to consultant via chat. -> Conversation with customer service -> Making a purchase -> Information about order processing via SMS and e-mail.
Such a path and method of communication with the Customer are nowadays even required by the consumers. Of course, the entire communication and selection of tools must be properly adjusted to the product and the recipients. In such a strategy, everything is connected with each other and creates added value for customers in the form of maximum simplification of all processes in contact with the brand.
Contact with customers
is the basic element of brand awareness building and any foundations for establishing business relations. Depending on the product or market, it is more or less complicated. It requires investment of time and money, and does not always bring the set goals. Why? The answer is simple – it is a process. Requiring continuous improvement and monitoring. Continuous and demanding planning, changes and constant supervision. The process that evolves together with the company, its environment, and its course depends on many factors, those that the organisation has an impact on and those that it does not have an impact on. Omnichannel now allows us to look at the needs of customers, contractors and the image or environment of the company in a slightly different way. It causes that every company using this form of marketing communication wants the consumer experience related to its brand to be consistent regardless of the channel of communication and, more importantly, connected to each other.
Entrepreneurs want to generate positive experiences in contact with their brand’s products and provide a sense of satisfaction. By building trust, they lay the foundations for future consumer purchasing decisions. Evolution of communication with the customer is inevitable. At times more complex or even complicated, it becomes problematic for some companies and sometimes it slows down the functioning of some processes. Especially in the case of multichannel communication for several market segments. This is connected, among other things, with the connection of offline and online channels. Misunderstandings in the synergy of these channels slow down purchasing or logistic activities. For example, let’s take an online order as an example. Executed by means of a website, e-mail or telephone. Delay or failure to provide information about the purchase made to the warehouse causes a delay in the entire order processing line and thus weakens the credibility of the product. Acting on the basis of an omnichannel strategy and ensuring its proper functioning is intended to prevent such cases and make the Customer’s experience with a product or brand generate only positive emotions. It also often happens that companies do not have sufficient staff or technology resources to carry out sales and service processes at the highest level.
Call Center can take over some or all of these processes and increase the level of their implementation to the highest level. As an outsourcer we understand that perfectly well and we know that it is necessary to be an expert in every industry and take care of the high level of knowledge and expertise among the staff. Striving for continuous improvement and selection of appropriate technologies allow both us and our contractors to develop properly.
Technological development makes contact with the customer theoretically simpler. Why theoretically? Because the constant element of the market, which is competition, never sleeps and certainly bombs the audience with a mass of messages in order to break through with its product. With such a huge amount of information from various sources, catching the customer’s attention is not easy. However, consumers’ awareness of their needs is extremely high. Very often they have a product that they want to buy or are looking for specific features profiled in their heads. The task of outsourcing, including call center outsourcing, is to reach the right people and meet these personalised needs. Even if the consumer is not fully aware of them. Rapid technological development strongly helps with that. It gives us the ability to accurately report and keep records of activities. It makes phone calls even more efficient and smooth (e.g. thanks to applications for automatic dialling). The technology itself is not everything, but without the technology we would not be here – on the first line of contact with thousands of customers in many industries. Customer service is all about contact and understanding the needs of the final customer and contractor. As far as the impressions from omnichannel service are concerned, it is, contrary to appearances, very simple. Consumer satisfaction and positive experience with the customer’s brand and products is the success of the call center, the outsourcer. On the one hand, this is due to the technology and on the other hand, to human resources, whose contribution can be measured in terms of results, but the involvement of staff in projects, building customer relationships and assistance often 24 hours a day – is the added value of call center services. A properly trained telephone consultant is more effective than a stationary or even mobile consultant. They are often available until late at night, so they can help at a time convenient for the client. Not to mention the area of activity, which in fact is limited only by the range of telephony.
Technology also allows us to determine the behaviour of our customers, and even trigger the desired actions. When customers can interact with a given brand or product both in these online and offline channels – their awareness of the need to have them increases very strongly. In the era of smartphones and other mobile devices, a potential customer has an access to all services of the world with a single device. Diversification of activities increases the chance that the product will be noticed. More and more often it can be noticed that purchases are made online or with the help of telephone consultants. We do not have enough time to walk in shops ( although we are still forced to do so here, when it comes to fashion or jewellery sector) or to queue for customer service points. Nowadays, telephone consultants have almost completely taken over the role of customer advisors. They have a lot of knowledge about products and services, they have access to the full offer – and even wider when we discuss discounts and flexible terms of purchase or extension of a product or service. Moreover, it is the client who can choose a convenient time for a conversation. It does not have to be a crowded shopping center or service point, where the queue is only getting longer and the staff does not even want to talk to anyone. It may be the place appropriate for a conversation.
Omnichannel assumes the compenetration of sales processes and communication channels. It is still subject to various barriers related to technological development, so it is not perfect. But if there was a perfect solution, there would be no need for development. The idea of “omni” solutions is more than just the sale. It is largely about building and developing relations between the customer and the brand, and vice versa. Such an idea gives new marketing opportunities and allows to look into the future and plan long-term strategies.