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Article 3 min read

Start your omnichannel journey the right way

By Andrew Gori

Last updated March 16, 2022

Understanding the value of the omnichannel experience is one thing, but successfully implementing it? Well, that’s something else entirely. However, if you’re unsure how to begin, rest assured that there’s a tried and true method to getting there and providing the kind of experience customers demand.

To see how it’s done, let’s return to the story of backpacking enthusiast Marisa, longtime customer of Frozen Outdoor Equipment. Ever since it first launched, Frozen understood the importance of providing excellent customer service along the buyer’s journey, and as customer expectations changed, the company took notice.

To ensure it got it right, Frozen formed a thoughtful plan, one that focused on a trio of key elements: planning, people, and technology.

Strategic planning

Because Frozen knew the reality—most customers expect a seamless support experience across channels and think companies need to focus on that outcome—its leadership decided to focus first on understanding the scale and complexity of its support requests.

For example, when Marisa needed to find a sleeping bag on short notice, the low complexity/high urgency request naturally fit Frozen chat channel. However, when she requested that the company find it in stock at a brick-and-mortar store along the way to Joshua Tree, the interaction became more complex—which meant that the phone channel would make more sense.

As part of this first stage of implementing omnichannel, Frozen decided to push customers with simple issues towards less costly channels such as self-service and online forms. To do that, Frozen embedded a web widget on its site and mobile app to help drive these customers to its knowledge center.

Meanwhile, Frozen also considered ways to proactively reach out to high-value customers like Marisa to build and maintain relationships. Its chat channel, which is embedded in its shopping cart page, ensures that its customers not only abandon purchases less often but also gives agents the opportunity to upsell.

Frozen has also embedded live chat on its shopping cart page, ensuring customers not only abandon purchases less often but also giving agents the opportunity to upsell. This proactive outreach has helped address questions by valued customers in time of need, quickly and easily.

The true value of customer support

People and process

Once Frozen finished its plan for omnichannel, it began the next step: setting up agents for success and getting the process right. In an omnichannel experience, it’s common for customers to interact with more than one agent as they move across channels, so Frozen knew that every support employee needed the following:

  • Access to the customer’s profile

  • A view of past conversations the customer had

  • What the customer was doing before reaching out

Frozen also needed to decide how it would handle channel assignments for its agents—would it choose a shared model, in which agents handle multiple channels, or a dedicated model, where support employees focus on say, email or chat?

In Frozen’s case, its large customer base made it natural to gravitate toward a dedicated model, which had some key benefits for the company: it allowed for the creation of specialists and helped its large support organisation work more efficiently. However, if Frozen had been a startup, it may have moved toward a shared model, which plays to the strengths of smaller, agile teams.

Get the right technology

Finally, Frozen was ready to choose the technology that would power its omnichannel experience. The company’s leadership understood that the software not only needed to provide a seamless channel-to-channel experience for its customers, it must offer agents a unified interface with simplified workflows and context (the ability to view all open tickets, see customer contact preferences, make calls directly from the dashboard, start chat sessions, and review all channels a customer has used).

Beyond that, Frozen knew it needed advanced functionality for its administrators: robust analytics and reporting options, platform stability, and the ability to customise workflows. Once the outdoor equipment company had this final piece in place, it was ready to give customers like Marisa what they demand: a seamless support experience anywhere, anytime.

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