The importance of one customer view
Retailers have increasingly been engaging customers on new and unique channels. The shopping experience previously consisted of a brick-and-mortar store and perhaps an eCommerce website. Now, it could consist of social media sites, multiple marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, as well as mobile smartphones and tablets. Anywhere customers want to shop, they can.
Many retailers struggle to consolidate all of the data surrounding a customer on these different channels. This can make it difficult for customer service agents to answer shoppers’ queries. If a customer engages an online customer service agent about a purchase made on a third-party marketplace or a brick-and-mortar store, it may prove difficult to find information about those orders quickly and effectively in siloed systems.
One recent report from Forrester Consulting made the issues of customer service in an omni channel environment quite clear. The study found that 34 percent of respondents said they cannot easily deliver consistent customer experiences across communication channels. Additionally, many agents are being challenged to use multiple applications to conduct basic customer interactions. Finally, respondents also noted issues with being able to collaborate effectively with other agents to resolve problems in a timely fashion.
To make matters worse, customers are increasingly expecting more personalized service, according to Accenture. They expect service agents to know who they are and understand their purchasing histories with the merchant. People want interactions to be tailored to their preferences, and they want to feel valued by the customer service agent. Unfortunately, this will not happen if customer service agents are not able to look up past interactions or answer relevant questions quickly and succinctly.
Creating a single customer view
Retailers need to use order and customer management tools that will enable them to better serve customers, regardless of which channels they prefer to use. Shoppers do not distinguish between sales channels and expect a consistent brand experience across every touch point, which is why a retailer should not differentiate customer service across each channel a customer chooses to shop. By creating a single customer view the omni channel experience extends post-purchase to provide customers with consistent service regardless of channel. This is made possible by consolidating all customer and order data into one place.
Customer management solutions empower agents in multiple ways. For example, they can help consolidate tickets associated with every channel. Customer management solutions can also pool customer information into a single profile based on multiple identifiers such as names and email addresses, which helps create a connective tissue between online and offline interactions. This enables agents to answer questions quickly, whether shoppers want to make a last-minute order adjustment or are simply asking about order status. Agents will not have to fumble around trying to find the information they need.
Despite buying and shopping on multiple channels, each customer needs to be treated like one individual. Having separate profiles for each sales avenue is counterintuitive, and results in a lesser quality customer service experience, which is simply not an option in today’s constantly connected world.
Plus, customer solutions can help in other ways besides simply improving interactions with shoppers. They can reduce redundancies (instead of having multiple solutions for each channel, they only need one omni channel tool set), improves response time as well as teamwork and coordination within the retail organization.
Making customer service a core part of omni channel efforts
As retailers improve other eCommerce operations, ranging from order fulfillment to inventory management, it is crucial they do not forget that at the end of the day, the goal is to provide customers the best shopping experience possible.