The Omnichannel Experience: Your Agents Deserve It Too

Jun 16, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Today’s customer experience (CX) is falling short. Unsurprisingly, the employee experience is falling short as well. A Gartner survey revealed that only 13% of employees are fully satisfied with their experience. Read that again: only 13% of employees are satisfied with the experience they have (every day) at work. 

If your employees aren’t happy, how motivated could they possibly be to ensure your customers are happy?

We talk about the importance of omnichannel capabilities a lot, usually as if it solely impacts the customer experience. But the benefits of true omnichannel solutions extend beyond the customers’ point of view and experience to the employees’ perspective and overall job satisfaction. Leading CX consultant and author Shep Hyken recently penned an article claiming that 75% of a company’s customers are more loyal to a particular employee than to the business as a whole. He said, “We [all] want the best people, so we should create a great process to support those people. Is the overall experience we deliver to our customers as good as the people we have working for us?” 

This question should be on all leaders’ minds as we are in a time when change and uncertainty are all around us. And people (this means your employees too) need more care and attention. So if you weren’t doing it before, right now is the perfect time to ensure your employee experience is as stellar as your CX.

A recent article on CMSWire also addressed the missing piece of the CX conversation - the employee experience - by stating: 

“ be truly experience-led, you need to think about every human interaction, including those of your staff. You need to declare experience a company-wide priority and it won’t feel like an authentic core value unless you communicate your intention to create an exceptional employee experience, too. Providing technology and processes to make employees’ jobs easier is one way to make them feel taken care of.” 

The article continued to say that experience-led companies will thrive in the future only by investing in their internal processes and connecting every front-end initiative to the back and middle office employees. The experience you provide customers is fueled entirely by the capabilities you provide your employees. And to give your people what they want and need, there’s only one solution: an omnichannel one. True omnichannel solutions provide better service for everyone, from clients and prospects to call center managers and agents, even back-office employees.

My most recent customer service experience is a good example of how omnichannel capabilities are crucial for customer care employees -- and not just crucial for me as a customer. I’m two weeks into a new subscription health food delivery service. (Thank you,  Quarantine 15.) I had an issue with the assortment of items in my last order. Did I miss the cutoff date to edit my box somehow? Was there a glitch? Or did the warehouse miss my subscription type change? I went to their website seeking help.

subscription experienceMy Customer Service Expectation (Yes, My Hopes Were Set Too High)

I didn’t have to search for customer care options. There was a readily available bot assistant featured on the website. I clicked to chat. I let the bot know that I received the wrong items in my last subscription order. The bot seamlessly identified me and connected me with an agent. The agent knew who I was and had my full contact details and order history at-the-ready. I texted a picture over SMS of what I received in my delivery. We jumped on a call to confirm my order for next week, with zero  disconnecting in-between. The agent apologized for the mishap, ensured my subscription is updated to include smoothies only, and then issued a $20 account credit for the incorrect items. I thanked them for the assistance and ended the interaction on a high note; I’m more loyal now than I was before. I even provided feedback in the built-in survey before disconnecting.

My Customer Service Realitysubscription box customer service

I had to search the website for customer service options. I finally located a tiny nondescript Contact Us link at the bottom navigation. I had three options, surprisingly: chat now, send us an email, or call us. I got a warning message that their customer care team was suffering currently due to high demand. I chose the ‘click to chat’ option -- the path of least resistance for me. The bot ended up telling me to send a text or write an email and wait one hour for a response. So, what was the bot’s purpose then? A very friendly agent got back with me later in the day. But we had to start all over again via chat. I had to explain my situation and he gave me a ticket, or case, number. If I call the 1-800 number, the agent only has phone capabilities and isn’t sure of what transpired between myself and the agent over web chat. Forget about my experience, because in the end I got a credit issued and yes I’m still a customer, but what about theirs? 

Without Omnichannel, You’ll Let Everyone Down … Time and Time Again

Because the backend of their CX is so disjointed, the company has to put people like me on hold and frantically try to piece together my customer journey. They wanted to help me but the smart bot wasn’t so smart after all. They feel bad asking me to confirm my name, email address, delivery address, and order number again

This isn’t how you build relationships. And it’s not your employees’ fault. Imagine if your agents could be reconnected with customers they’ve previously assisted. They could create meaningful relationships and connect with people on an emotional level. That’s powerful!

As for the super friendly agent that assisted me over web chat? I gave him 5 stars on my post-interaction survey. I’d love to just talk to him again the next time I need help. I bet it would be a better experience for him too, being able to build relationships with customers and feel empowered in his role. 

If today’s customers demand seamless interactions across all channels and on all devices, don’t your agents require the same 24/7 access? Your contact center technology should show agents the full journey of each customer with full details and context into each interaction. It should empower agents to provide top-notch service on every channel and also enable them to seamlessly switch between channels without transferring or disconnecting; in short, it should be  omnichannel. If you want to provide stellar customer experiences, you must first arm your agents with the tools and technology they require. Rich, rewarding work experiences are possible (and even easy). 

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Written by Edify

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