Brendan Read's Blog


The Necessity of Mastering Omni-Channel Customer Service

04 May 2015 | by Brendan Read
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All of us are customers. Whenever we engage with companies we expect them to deliver a consistently high quality experience, regardless of whether we call or Tweet them, or visit their online or bricks-and-mortar stores. In short: omni-channel customer service.

Smart businesses of all sizes understand that the key to growth, competitiveness, and profitability is providing just that, in concert with supplying attractive high quality products and services. Indeed, omni-channel service should be instinctive for any business, and employee. I delivered omni-channel customer service some 40 years ago for a factory sewing machine firm. Only my company and I didn’t call it that. Instead it was called “doing my job.” I handled phone, postal mail, and at-counter billing, customer service and support, order entry, and sales, in addition to taking care of accounts receivable, inventory, making bank deposits, filing liens, and fulfillment: mailing and shipping.

But too many companies are still not offering omni-channel service, even with the advent, availability, and affordability of amazing analytics/BI, customer contact, CRM, ERP, marketing automation, mobile, and multichannel solutions, most of which weren’t even dreamed of 40 years ago. Alas, we too often get disjointed service, like not being able to return an online purchase to a store, even though it is the same company. And are the contact center agents and/or retail staff sufficiently aware of what we customers are saying about their stores and wares on social media, so they can be prepared to handle our issues?

In fairness, “going omni-channel” is not easy to accomplish, especially for established retailers and distributors. These companies still have thick channel silos resting on often long-depreciated technology, along with departments and managers who are used to them, and who may be reluctant to change. Having a business that is truly omni-channel is also a moving target as the channels and tools are continually evolving as are customer needs and markets. And there are sometimes other matters that push omni-channel programs down the project queue.

To help businesses become “omni-channel enabled”, Frost & Sullivan and Salesforce has a webinar on Wednesday May 13 on “Mastering Omni-Channel Customer Service”. Frost & Sullivan global program director Ashwin Iyer and fashion retailer Aldo Group project manager Jonathan Campoli will be presenting in this highly educational and informative event. To register, click here. And let us know about your resulting omni-channel customer service success stories.

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