D365 Business Applications

Why Your Organisation Should Adopt an Omnichannel Approach to Customer Communication 

Why Your Organisation Should Adopt an Omnichannel Approach to Customer Communication

I recently placed an online order, and in addition to multiple delays with the delivery, the order that arrived was missing several items, even though I had been charged the full price.  

I went about emailing the company and explaining the ordeal. A week passed with no response. I followed up with yet another email to additional contacts that I had found from their website. I tried the customer service support phone number with no luck either. Finally, I sent a Facebook complaint and was immediately attended to, receiving a refund within 48 hours of my query.  

What’s Wrong with the Traditional Approach to Customer Service?  

The above scenario is a prevalent example of how organisations struggle to coordinate and manage multiple customer communication channels, which can be devastating to customer experience and retention. The challenge stems from having different people assigned to each communication platform, and in turn, resulting in varying levels of attention and urgency. 

Having a large volume of inquiries with various customers can be overwhelming. So is not having the correct tools, which can significantly impact your customer service process. In a modernised market, customers need a quick turnaround time for you to respond to an inquiry and get a resolution.  

As a result, you have to focus on improving the productivity of your support team and streamlining procedures to resolve customer service queries as quickly as possible. The truth is, manually monitoring different communication channels can take up a significant amount of time and could potentially lead to some unnoticed inquiries. Competition in the market is rife, and you should avoid transferring your customer from one department to another.    

The question perhaps to consider is what should be done by an organisation when handling email, social media, live chats, inquiry forums, and telephone calls as customer support channels? It’s crucial that you keep all channels active to ensure customer satisfaction and overall business continuity.  The solution is to seamlessly implement omnichannel customer service tools to help you monitor and manage inbound customer communications across all digital channels. 

Microsoft Omnichannel for Customer Service 

Omnichannel for Customer Service offers a suite of capabilities that extend the power of Dynamics 365 Customer Service Enterprise to enable organisations to instantly connect and engage with their customers across digital messaging channels. 

Microsoft’s Omnichannel for Customer Service has been rapidly expanding its feature set since launching in 2019 and provides a low-code approach to integrating multiple channels, including live chat, WeChat, Email, SMS, Phone, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, as well as custom-built channels. SMS and WhatsApp are enabled through TeleSign and/or Twilio, and other SMS service providers can also be integrated into Microsoft’s Omnichannel.  

In Omnichannel for Customer Service, organisations can integrate a chatbot to start a conversation with a customer, provide automated responses, and then shift the conversation to a human agent if required. The application offers contextual customer identification and agent productivity tools like knowledge-base integration, search, and case creation to ensure agents are effective. 

Leverage The Benefits and Improve Your Customer Experience  

When I first came across this as a strategy, it was one of those concepts that sound great in the boardroom but proves costly and complicated to implement. Multiple integrations and numerous API’s quickly coupled with complex matching and data model challenges meant the ‘manual’ approach would have to remain.  How do organisations surface SMS, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Email in a single view to manage and prioritize the correct response from the right person?  

The technology that drives omnichannel has since progressed to where it is now possible to use a single interface regardless of channel. This means organisations can streamline and train service teams to focus on the content of the query and not silo them into channel teams. In addition to bringing training and service costs down, this also improves compliance and audit processes, as you are now managing a single data set. Your security around who deals with what data can also be centrally controlled. However, the real benefit is designing your customer experience to deliver communications across multiple channels based on customer preferences and your experience design.  

If you too are like many organisations and want to improve your customer service, here are a few other benefits that you may want to take advantage of:  

  • You can get real-time and historical visibility and insights into the operational efficiency of agents and their utilisation across various channels. 
  • You can improve the likelihood of purchase and increase customer satisfaction and retention. The happier your customers are, the more likely they are to stay loyal to you.  
  • Through a knowledge base, you can learn standard responses to common questions and empower customer service agents to propose and implement standard responses. This can improve efficiency and capacity to manage more customer requests.  
  • The Omnichannel for Customer Service reduces operating costs by using streamlined and automated capabilities to quicken responses and resolutions and generate data-driven status updates.   
  • Overtime, you will generate knowledge of the customer’s communication preferences, expectations and sentiment around your products or services. This will empower your organisation to personalise and tailor customer experiences.  
  • Machine learning (MS Azure) can be applied for smart routing to relevant service agents.  

Conclusion  

If an organisation is already running Microsoft Customer Engagement applications, adding Omnichannel makes sense from a cost and effort perspective as opposed to taking on different enterprise applications. Especially considering that Omnichannel for Customer Service takes advantage of the Common Data Services (now called Microsoft Dataverse) that are responsible for driving consistency of data and its meaning across applications and business processes. 

As organisations design their overall customer experience and create customer service journeys, omnichannel capabilities empower them to transform customer experience without technical limitations. The return on investment of implementing this solution is now a lot clearer than it was a few years back, and as personalisation becomes the gold standard for customer experience, this is a critical part of the digital strategy.  

Trevor Thackwell
Trevor is a specialist in Microsoft's Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement software toolset, ensuring that key clients understand and realise the opportunities to leverage this rapidly changing platform. Having spent years in solution delivery, and currently filling the role of Account Executive for large FSI clients in South Africa, Trevor has built trusted partnerships with some of Mint’s most valuable clients and continues to unlock value in the Dynamics 365 Business Applications space. 

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