March 06, 2018
March 06, 2018
Contributor: Jordan Bryan
To reduce customer frustration and improve loyalty, service leaders need the right omnichannel approach
Sarah has a problem with a recently purchased product. After failing to resolve the issue online via self-service tools and web chat, she calls the company’s help desk. The customer service rep answers with, “What product can we help you with today?”
Sarah is annoyed the rep doesn’t already know what product she has, and that she’s been trying to resolve her problem online. Her frustration starts to breed a negative opinion of the company and the service it provides.
“Customers say they want the company to ‘know them’ and ‘know where they’ve been,’” says Pete Slease, principal executive advisor at Gartner. S
ervice leaders have responded with an omnichannel approach, which purports to solve the difficulties of using multiple channels — and create seamless customer interactions.
“Organizations are striving to implement omnichannel solutions, but implementations tend to be challenging, time-consuming and expensive,” explains Slease. “In the short term, service leaders need to determine what improvements can be made to the customer service experience right now, while omnichannel decisions are being made and implementations are occurring.”
Before service leaders invest in omnichannel technology, they must first determine which benefits will yield the greatest returns. They can do this by homing in on what matters most to customers.
After analyzing more than 60 advertised benefits of omnichannel technology, Gartner found that what matters most to customers is service transparency and proactivity. These two service elements have the largest impact on reducing customer effort because they help to eliminate customer uncertainty.
“Reducing uncertainty is the one of the most impactful ways organizations can provide low-effort customer interactions in a multichannel environment,” says Slease. “Uncertainty in the service experience is the underlying reason for much of the frustration and disappointment customers experience.”
The more service leaders can ease customer efforts, the more they can increase loyalty and lower attrition. Therefore, service transparency and proactivity should be key considerations when improving or creating an omnichannel strategy and approach.
Download framework: Customer Service BPO: Drive CX Results
The good news is that focusing on service transparency and proactivity does not require large investments in technology or long lead times. The two often occur together and address the same customer needs.
Start by implementing changes in service reps’ processes, organizational communication practices and support systems. This will enable your reps to better handle customer challenges through low-effort interactions.
Improving such practices and systems will also lessen customer confusion, as they will help to:
Beyond transparency and proactivity, four other areas of experience really matter to the customer. Some may overlap or support each other, and some require a stronger investment of resources than others, but an effective omnichannel approach can deliver against these key customer expectations:
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Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:
Making the Business Case for Reducing Customer Uncertainty
*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.