You’re failing at Omni-Channel so far, aren’t you?

I mentioned in an earlier post a report we sponsored with ICMI entitled “Extreme Engagement in the Multi-Channel Contact Center“. If you haven’t seen the post, or want to download the 30-page research study, you can do that here. Today I want to share one of the conclusions I came to as I revisited it myself recently.

The issues of customer expectation and experience pervade the report, directly and implicitly, especially in terms of customers’ channel selections and preferences. It’s absolutely one of the maelstroms call centers are in the midst of right now. The omnichannel imperative has companies really struggling to figure out which channels to open, how to implement them, and how to integrate them.

One thing that isn’t tough to figure out is whether customers want an omnichannel experience, and that’s the first response I want to share:

Ninety three percent of respondents said that their satisfaction as a customer would increase if they could choose their preferred channel.

That’s almost everyone.

Honestly, I look at the number on its own and don’t really give it a lot of weight—of course they’d be more satisfied if they could have what they wanted: who wouldn’t? But it becomes very meaningful in the context of something else ICMI reported.

By a ratio of 5 to 1, respondents said they’d be willing to move to a competitive product or service if they could choose their preferred channel.

Together those are dangerous numbers. And it gets even riskier.

At first blush you might think that customers are more loyal than that, and that they take into consideration a lot of other factors besides that before they switch.

Not according to ICMI.

One of their Key Findings is that only 25% of respondents felt that their customers were extremely engaged with their company.

For me, that’s a wicked trifecta: the risks couldn’t be greater.

  • Moderate to low customer engagement with the company
  • A high desire for service channel preference
  • A willingness to change in order to get it.

Now here’s the really bad news.

They can get that level of service from a lot of companies right now. We’re building Omnichannel solutions all the time—we (or someone else) may have already built one for your competitor. The omnichannel business imperative is not something companies—B2B and retail—are letting pass them by, it’s not a novelty and it’s not going away. It’s too easy to implement and provides far too much value for customers and companies. It’s certain to evolve into a condition of entry for any company wanting to grow or maintain its competitiveness.