The big questions of 2016: who’s going to win the US presidential election? Will the new Top Gear deliver? And the most important of all: what is omnichannel customer service?

Omnichannel refers to the fact that a customer now has a variety of ways of interacting with a brand. Someone buying a pair of shoes might browse in the local department store, look up the best deal online, ask a question about the material over Twitter, and then buy the shoes on a mobile app whilst commuting.

An omnichannel literate company will ensure there’s consistency between all these channels, and also take into consideration the device that the customer is using. They will also make sure they are measuring at each stage of the customer journey, ensuring their performance is consistently high, regardless of channel.

In terms of customer service, the channels are the variety of ways a customer now has to get help – one person might prefer a phone call, whilst someone else will search online or write a question on the brand’s Facebook wall. The company that has truly conquered omnichannel customer service will be able to seamlessly transfer the customer across these channels, without requiring them to explain their situation from scratch each time. A challenge, for sure, and one that is actually easier to manage within a small company than a multinational behemoth.

In the Omnichannel Customer Care Report it was found:

“Companies with well-defined omni-channel customer experience management (CEM) programs achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organizations without. These organizations also average a 3.4% increase in customer lifetime value, while those without omni-channel programs actually diminish customer lifetime value by 0.7% year-on-year.”

At VirtuaTell, we have always recognised the value of an omnichannel customer service approach and have offered real-time feedback capture across many channels, for many years. After all, we want to help businesses perform to the highest standard possible, and the numbers in that report speak for themselves.

When it comes to surveys, we use multichannel surveys to support an omnichannel approach.

Our multichannel surveys allow for the fact that different customers will prefer to engage with surveys in different ways. In order to get a true reflection of a varied customer base, it’s essential to consider collecting survey results across every customer preferred contact channel – phone, email, chat, web and smartphone, for instance. A customer is unlikely to begin a survey on SMS and then switch to a phone call halfway through, so it’s not about continuing one person’s journey across channels. Instead, it’s about recognising the bias individuals have for platforms on which they’ll engage.

VirtuaTell are also experts at combining the omnichannel experience. For example, a telephone survey may be offered when a customer calls from their mobile phone but if they don’t answer, feedback can be offered via an SMS message, to get that valuable feedback. If they accept, we can even offer them a phone, sms or smartphone survey, depending upon their preferences.

VirtuaTell specialises in multichannel surveys, supporting your omnichannel customer service experience. Talk to us about how we can help you build your omnichannel customer service strategy – email us for a consultation here.