Putting the ‘omni’ in omnichannel is key to customer loyalty

In today’s world, consumers are not just shopping and banking; they are living in a hybrid reality. They have adapted to experiences that seamlessly blend online and offline channels, leading them to expect a customer experience (CX) that is not only seamless across these channels but also hyper-personalised. Moreover, customers are becoming increasingly discerning, with just one or two negative support experiences can have them ready to jump ship.

Organisations in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are gradually recognising the importance of integrating the omnichannel concept into their CX strategies. However, a significant gap in execution persists, affecting their ability to truly influence customer loyalty.

This is because organisations fail to understand that an omnichannel strategy involves more than offering multiple CX touchpoints. It is also about delivering a consistently high-quality experience across these channels, precisely when and where customers want it.  In fact, a recent Ipsos study revealed that only one in five CX professionals in APAC claim to have a full integration of all channels and in place a true omnichannel approach.

The term “omnichannel” itself provides a valuable clue. “Omni” means “all,” signalling that the ideal CX roadmap is centred around engaging customers in every conceivable way, seamlessly bridging the gap between offline to online, and all the touchpoints in between. This necessitates an integrated approach across channels and a robust technology stack capable of maximising engagement across the entire customer journey.

So, the question arises: How can organisations truly achieve the ‘omni’ in omnichannel?

Tapping into the power of self-service

One effective way to do so is by tapping into the power of self-service channels. It is no secret that the recent proliferation of solutions leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) has reshaped the customer experience landscape. Among these, generative AI stands out as a game-changer.  It has allowed organisations to meet the heightened expectations of customers for faster, more accurate, and efficient customer support – all while they grapple with cost-efficiency considerations.

Consider the advent of AI chatbots, for instance. They offer a practical solution for service teams to ensure high volumes of support requests can be managed through round-the-clock, instant self-service resolutions, without the need to hire additional human agents. Indeed, IDC found that approximately two out of three organisations in the APAC region are either exploring or have already invested in generative AI technologies.

However, the crux to making the most of any AI investment is not so much addition, but consolidation. AI-powered solutions need to work seamlessly within the broader customer journey toolkit, especially for complex customer service issues. These require the human touch – and attributes like empathy and creative problem-solving –   that AI cannot replicate. In such instances, the AI tool should be intelligent enough to decide which agent or department should the call be handed off to, ensuring quick resolution and an overall positive experience for the customer.

Businesses should also consider AI solutions with native integrations into existing contact centre, messaging and customer relationship management (CRM) software. This will allow service teams to communicate with customers where they already are, making CX delivery even more seamless and personalised.

This is a win-win situation. Organisations build a true omnichannel customer journey with connected AI-to-human agent workflows, while customers benefit from unmatched convenience and ease-of-use – their entire interaction occurring via a single, unified interface.

Look inwards to perfect omnichannel

Technology may take centre stage in the omnichannel revolution, but organisations must not forget the value employees bring to the table with their human touch. Customer-facing teams are the backbone of any offline customer touchpoint, and so technology should be applied to augment their ability in delivering outstanding CX.

Beyond leveraging technology like AI to handle routine tasks, such as auto-surfacing useful information, updating records or generating follow-ups, training and development can be made a lot easier. For example, utilising data analytics to review customer recordings can help sales representatives gain insights into their own performance, and for managers to better identify areas of improvement for their team. In parallel, businesses can use the data to train new customer support specialists, familiarising them with frequently asked questions and answers.

Most importantly, this frees up time for employees to unlock their greatest value: bringing empathy, personal connection and genuine care to interactions with customers.

Ultimately, organisations must realise that building an omnichannel CX strategy does not stop at having the capability to engage customers across multiple online and offline touchpoints. Having the right technology foundation to enable multiple touchpoints is no doubt a critical first step. But what makes CX truly omnichannel is synergising the best of technology and the essence of human connection to deliver a consistently high-quality experience in customer interactions – no matter how, when and where they are.