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18 & 19 MARCH 2020


Why you need omnichannel customer service

Consumer behaviour is evolving, thanks in large part to advancements in technology and innovation that have enabled shoppers to be “connected” 24/7. We no longer rely on retailers and brands to tell us about their products and services—we simply do the research online, on our own.

In fact, consumers are often more knowledgeable about a brand’s products than the store associates whose job it is to sell them. Consider that 81 percent of shoppers said they do research online before making a purchase in-store.

The research doesn’t stop once consumers are in-store, however. A whopping 90 percent of consumers said they use their phones while shopping in-store, performing such tasks as price comparisons, looking up product information, and checking reviews.

So while the vast majority of transactions still occur in-store, the way consumers are arriving at those purchases has changed. And perhaps more significantly, brick-and-mortar sales continue to slide while e-commerce sales—mobile in particular—are surging.

What does this mean for retailers? That it’s more important than ever for your brand to have a presence and to be available to shoppers in multiple channels, especially to bridge the in-store, web, and mobile experience. But that’s just the bare minimum.

What customers expect:

To be successful and win the loyalty of the omnichannel customer, each experience must be smooth, consistent, and easy, from product discovery to post-purchase support. Customers have high expectations, and managing those expectations seems like a daunting challenge for most retailers—and rightfully so. Things get complex fast when you consider what it might take to integrate your various business systems (CRM, OMS, ERP, etc.), and align staff and processes (from IT and marketing to the warehouses and stores). But this all happens behind the scenes, and consumers don’t care.

In fact, most consumers don’t know what the term “omnichannel” means. They expect (read: demand) to have the same hassle-free experience no matter how they engage with your brand, along any part of their journey. And when they don’t, they’ll let you know.

It’s when a customer has had a negative experience that appropriate service must be provided. This is your last opportunity to win over a dissatisfied customer. Otherwise, they’re on to find another retailer that can satisfy their needs— and they certainly don’t lack for options in today’s intensely competitive retail environment.

The boiling point:

Knowing this type of support is required by customers and delivering on it are two entirely different things. Most brands haven’t integrated their communication across support channels, which leads to a disjointed experience for the customer. As a result, customers become frustrated with the level of service they’re receiving from retailers.

Consider the following:

• 89% of customers get frustrated when they have to repeat information to multiple service representatives

• More than 35% of customers expect to contact the same customer service representative in any channel

• 61% of customers haven’t been able to easily switch from one channel to another when interacting with customer service

• 64% of customers expect to receive real-time assistance regardless of the customer service channel they use

What’s needed to ensure that your customers are satisfied with the service they receive? The process starts by assessing the people, processes, and systems you currently have in place for customer service.


You can read Zendesk’s full ‘Retailer’s Guide to Getting Omnichannel Customer Service Right’ here.