July 15, 2021

Omnichannel Customer Self-Service Options Are Must-Haves

When you think about your company, what stands as your top qualities? Is your email marketing top-notch? Do you tweet the trendiest memes? Are you good at delivering poor customer service?

Did that last one catch your eye? It was supposed to.

Research shows businesses lose nearly $75 billion a year in revenue due to poor customer service. Now, we’re not ones to pass judgment. Instead, we’re here to help. So, if you’re at all worried your customer support is lacking, don’t be!

Why? Because it simply doesn’t have to be this way. With advancements in technology, there’s no reason to give up and accept unhappy customers. One of the best ways to take advantage of new tech is to offer omnichannel self-service options.

But what is that exactly?

In this blog, we’ll detail what omnichannel support is, its advantages, and how to implement it. By the end, you’ll see that it’s a must-have. 

Defining Omnichannel Customer Self-Service

Omnichannel support or customer self-service options let consumers interact with your support agents on the communication channel they prefer (and, in many cases, without having to speak to an agent). This may sound similar to multichannel support, which also offers several platforms for customers to reach out to brands.

However, there is a crucial difference.

Multichannel support channels function as stand-alone units, while omnichannel is all about integrating and unifying communication. For instance, if someone engages with your chatbot but needs to talk with a live agent, the conversation should pick up where they left off with the bot. Customers are increasingly using multiple touchpoints to reach out to brands for a contextual, personalized experience like this. When they have to repeat themselves, they get frustrated. That makes omnichannel a more viable approach to meet such expectations.

With that said, what are some examples of omnichannel customer self-service platforms? Take a look at some popular choices:

  • AI-powered chatbots. An AI-powered chatbot lets customers ask their questions at their discretion. They go above and beyond a simple chatbot by reading questions comprehensively and utilizing natural language processing to answer questions carefully and accurately.
  • Live chat. Live chat lets your support agents with extensive knowledge of your products and service converse with a customer in real-time. You can link live chat and chatbots together to increase convenience and lower wait times.
  • Knowledge bases or help centers. A knowledge base or help center is any collection of articles that answer some of your company’s top questions. These can range from how to troubleshoot an issue, downloading a service, or where to look up order information. With AI like Forethought Solve, you can improve the chances of customers finding what they need faster.
  • Email. Just because email isn’t shiny and new doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. Customers love it. However, up to 62% of businesses don’t respond to customer service emails. To avoid this and connect the dots to your other channels, consider AI like Forethought.  

It’s essential to remember again that you must ensure the conversation moves flawlessly from channel to channel to achieve omnichannel over multichannel. Customer service software and customer support AI can both help.

Advantages of Using Omnichannel Self-Service Options

We’ve already detailed how omnichannel self-service options create contextualized experiences your customers prefer. What are some other benefits to using omnichannel over multichannel, though? What makes it a “must-have?”

There are quite a few advantages, actually, but some of the stand-outs include:

  • 24/7 availability and faster response times. Convenience matters, so customers rate these two elements high when it comes to satisfaction. If you utilize AI with proven accuracy like Forethought, you can resolve issues quicker than ever before through connected self-service.
  • Gives power to your customers. By offering different integrated channels, consumers can pick the platform of their choice without sacrificing quality or context. In turn, this improves the customer experience overall.
  • Less customer churn. With more opportunities to reach out, your customers will be happier. In fact, studies show that companies delivering consistent, quality service channels retain 89% of their customers.
  • Better insights into your support efforts. Offering more than one channel can help you learn more about your customers by seeing their behavior across platforms. Then you can determine what’s working and what’s not.
  • Helping out your agents. Omnichannel self-service options lets agents respond to simple questions more efficiently, freeing up their time and reducing their stress. They can also contribute to more complex issues and larger support objectives.

How to Get Started with Omnichannel

Some businesses that put forth the effort to build out omnichannel self-service jump straight to onboarding a chatbot without stopping to think about their methodology. Ultimately, their results may suffer. That doesn’t have to be the case for you. With some pre-planning, you can increase your chances of success.

Before jumping in, be sure to:

  • Write down the reason you’re deciding to use omnichannel self-service. Are you trying to reduce wait times or improve your agents’ job satisfaction?
  • Come up with your initiatives and set up a timeline. For example, do you want to adopt an AI-powered chatbot within six months?
  • Research your customers’ demographics and preferences to accommodate accordingly. A millennial will use live chat more than other generations. If your customer base leans heavily toward this age group, you’ll probably want a live chat solution.
  • Find ways to improve any existing channels. You can do this by looking for and eliminating any silos in communication between what you’re already using.
  • Research different tools. You may already have a customer service software solution. You may need to find a viable choice. Additionally, there are AI-powered tools, like Forethought, that integrate with Zendesk and Salesforce to take your efforts to the next level.

Taking the time to think out your strategy may seem exasperating when you’re excited to get started, but it’s worth it in the long term. A little pre-work will ensure you’re using the proper channels for your audience. It could also save you money by showing easy ways to improve what you’re already using. Whatever the case, don’t skip these steps!

Conclusion

Point blank: To deliver a better customer experience, you must synchronize your self-service and other channels. If you don’t, you may be one of the businesses losing revenue annually to inadequate support.

But as we already mentioned, we’re here to help. Our AI can help augment your omnichannel self-service options in the best possible way. If you’d like to learn more, let’s chat!

Download Forethought's guide for navigating the evolving landscape of customer support for 2021 and beyond.

Get your copy