Omnichannel communication sounds good in theory but…

March 7, 2016

Brands are failing to provide the omnichannel communication their customers have come to expect, according to a new study.

Today’s consumers want to start communications on one channel and seamlessly move onto the next without having to restart the conversation.

However, 69% of the 100 leading companies Eptica surveyed failed to provide any consistency between their email, chat, Twitter and Facebook channels – either because they didn’t answer on one or more of them, or because their responses simply didn’t match – let alone show any signs of an omnichannel approach.

“Companies understand the importance of customer experience and are investing heavily in improving the service they offer to consumers,” commented Olivier Njamfa, CEO and co-founder, Eptica. “However, many appear to be adopting a piecemeal approach, not joining up channels or delivering the seamless experience that customers demand.”

Njamfa was spot on in suggesting that firms’ fragmented communication and marketing strategies will undermine relationships and drive customers away.

The research seems to indicate that brands are operating without both a clear strategy and the software to deliver a multichannel customer experience. This is surprising – to me, at least – given that the sheer volume of customer queries are continually rising, as are customer expectations.

Eptica’s research consisted of assessing the companies’ ability to quickly and accurately answer 10 routine questions via the web, email, Twitter, Facebook and online chat. It found that just 51% of all queries were answered satisfactorily, allowing it to draw the conclusion that “consumers are as likely to get a useful response as they are to correctly call heads or tails on the flip of a coin”.

Just one company provided responses on all four channels.

The findings don’t say a lot about firms’ ambitions to provide an omnichannel customer experience, although I did take heart from reading that brands are taking social media more seriously as a means to answer customer queries. Even then, though, the average response time on Twitter was 4 hours 14 minutes. That’s a long time for a customer to get fed up and start voicing their discontent to the world. Brands really must be doing more if they want to keep complaints and criticism to a minimum in the era of the ‘always on’ customer. It all starts with strategy, of course.

Kevin Mason - Director