Since the early 2000s, the Indian banking and finance industry landscape has changed at a rapid pace and technology has been one of the major enablers. Various government initiatives, like UPI, IMPS and Bharat Bill Pay have resulted in more than 95% of all transactions now executing digitally.
As most banks and many fintech entities have brought in digital end-to-end customer journeys and “phygital” (physical + digital) customer servicing, customer experience (CX) has become a battleground for differentiation across the BFSI vertical. CX is increasingly an area of focus for almost all the public and private banks as they seek to onboard and retain customers.
Moreover, with the rise of digital, organizations see an opportunity for better control of their communication content—leveraging AI for stronger CX while growing revenues with data-driven customer insights.
The Need for a Seamless CX Strategy
An overwhelming majority of today’s consumers rate customer experience as more important to their product preference and purchase decision than price. Omnichannel customer experience has become the bedrock of successful CX strategies. Today, 9-out-of-10 customers desire an omnichannel experience, because they want to know “How well do you know me?”, and they want to be able to influence “How well do you treat me?”.
An overwhelming majority of customers expect companies to have access to previous conversations and purchase histories that are seamlessly integrated across the various channels they use to interact. That said, while most customers expect concierge treatment, less than 30% say they actually receive the full benefit of a company’s having a 360-degree view of them.
Across most industries, companies have fumbled when it comes to providing a unified, seamless experience to their customers.
So, What Exactly Is “Omnichannel Customer Engagement?"
Omnichannel CX is the ability of a customer to interact seamlessly with a company across a multiplicity of channels—such as social media, chat, voice, online, email, bots, or simply walking into a store—while having the same, unified experience across all those integrated interactions.
Today’s customers expect to be able to choose their own customer journey. Omnichannel CX is what allows a customer to move effortlessly across different channels of interaction. With each new or separate interaction, support representatives benefit from having a complete and holistic view of the customer, which includes all past interactions. With this holistic customer view across all channels, a company can generate deep and actionable insights–the foundation of any CX strategy.
“Omnichannel CX is NOT the same as multichannel CX. And it is imperative to understand the difference between the two.”
It is imperative to understand that Omnichannel CX is NOT the same as Multichannel CX. While a company with multichannel CX provides a customer the ability to interact through multiple channels (both online and offline), the various channels are most often siloed with very little workflow and data interaction between each other. Thus, there is limited information sharing across all channels from which to create the ideal holistic view.
For example, if a customer contacts a company through Facebook and then later through phone, there would be—in most cases— no record or visibility of the first communication and outcome. To do so would require a painful and time-consuming effort by the customer to, once again, restate all the background detail and recent interactions. Multichannel CX allows multiple pathways for a customer to connect to a company, but none of those pathways (or channels) are integrated to effectively serve the customer and put them at the center of the relationship.
Multichannel CX makes the company—or product—the focus, while leaving the customer at the periphery. Over 50% of large organizations have failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in disjointed and siloed customer experiences that lack context.
What Customers Really Want
Omnichannel Customer Experience really is table stakes today, Customers today expect efficient and successful interactions, regardless of their choice of channel. They want effective and efficient outcomes, not just pathways of access. They want their interactions to be consistent across channels, even if they choose to change pathways of access midstream in their objective-driven interaction. Lastly, they expect the brand and its service/sales agents to know them, understand their relationship with the company and know their prior purchase history and interactions with the brand.
So, what does a truly Omnichannel CX strategy look and feel like? A true Omnichannel CX strategy…
- Is built with the customer as the focus. Companies providing omnichannel CX focus on the needs of the customer, providing them with a unified, seamless interaction across any channel they choose. Since these channels are integrated, the customer’s information (product and account history, record of prior interactions, past resolution, etc.) are available in the channel of their choice, even as they move across channels (perhaps many times) throughout the customer lifecycle journey.
- Grows the top line. Forrester research identified that the revenue growth of CX leaders is 5.1 times that of laggards. A seamless and effortless customer journey results in a contented and happy customer—one with a higher propensity for sales and retention.
- Improves the bottom line. Strong Omnichannel companies see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact, compared to a mere 0.2% year-over-year decrease for weak companies. Intelligent adoption and integration of digital channels (including conversational AI) reduces service costs by optimizing interactions with service and sales agents. With greater operational efficiency, there is higher productivity with greater accuracy and reduced operating costs. While significant bottom-line improvements result, it is never at the expense of poor customer experience. CX is always at the core of an omnichannel strategy.
Companies will increasingly seek to adopt an omnichannel strategy throughout 2021. A recent Gartner survey shows that transitioning to self-service channels, while bolstering digital capabilities, is a top priority for many customer service and support leaders for the year ahead—with over 70 percent planning to allocate their largest budgets to digital channels and capabilities.
Your CX Digital Engagement Roadmap - Getting it Right from the Start
Deploying an omnichannel strategy is the critical first step toward building a larger digital engagement strategy. So, be sure to get it right from the beginning!
Cutting corners and stitching together lesser multichannel/legacy offerings will compromise your ability to reach customer experience nirvana. Companies that truly want a maximized CX for their consumers begin with an omnichannel strategy at the core—augmented with other CX enabling technologies (like AI, ML, analytics, etc.) to further glean those deep customer insights.
The journey to transform from a legacy contact center into a CX digital engagement center differs from client to client, and each requires a uniquely designed, pragmatic roadmap for getting there. However, each roadmap must begin from an omnichannel commitment to holistically engage consumers—regardless of channel
Want to explore elevating your omnichannel CX and generate a robust customer engagement strategy? Let's Talk.