Customers expect a seamless experience across channels, allowing them to communicate in the ways that are most comfortable and convenient for them. This is at the heart of omnichannel, a customer service approach that continues to gain momentum. Features of an omnichannel approach include self-service options and ensuring that customers can stay on an app or website when seeking support. Another aspect is improved agent efficiency, which is achieved through dissolving internal silos and keeping agents up-to-date when a customer switches touch points.
Recently, we sifted through the Zendesk Benchmark, our index of product usage data from more than 45,000 Zendesk customers. The goal: Uncover what sets omnichannel companies apart. What emerged from that analysis was our two new Benchmark reports on why companies are taking an omnichannel approach and how to do it, based on the data from real companies.
We’ve spoken to you often about the benefits of omnichannel, compiling best practices and true stories from our customers, and outlining the obstacles that omnichannel can help you overcome. What’s noteworthy about these new findings: The data comes directly from the real-life omnichannel experiences of companies that use Zendesk. Read on for compelling insights.
Faster, more efficient support
When we compared omnichannel companies with those that did not integrate across channels, our data showed significantly lower first-resolution times for tickets (31 percent) and lower wait times for customers (39 percent).
Overall, we observed that companies with an omnichannel approach outperform those with limited channels or that operate channels in silos. Customers of omnichannel companies spend less time waiting, resolve their issues faster, and are less likely to require follow-ups.
Greater likelihood of meeting customer expectations
Starting last year, a majority of customers who contacted support multiple times used more than one channel. This lines up with existing research on customers’ evolving channel preferences—these days, customers want to be able to talk to companies using the same kinds of channels they use to talk to friends and family. Last year when we explored changing customer expectations, we found that nearly two-thirds of respondents reported being less patient with customer service than they were five years earlier.
With omnichannel, companies can keep pace with rising expectations in some key ways: by focusing on meeting customers on the channels they’re already using and ensuring an efficient experience when customers do contact support. Our data indicates that companies should also pair traditional channels (like email and webform) with self-service and live channels (like chat and phone) to best align with customer preferences.
Live channels and Facebook are being adopted fastest by companies using Zendesk, outpacing the growth of email and webform in terms of the share of a support team’s workload they represent. This is likely due to the fact that companies are looking to keep up with customer expectations, and customers want to be able to contact support in real time.
The growth of chat and phone support also makes sense because live channels surpass others, according to key metrics. Support tickets handled through live channels like chat and phone see higher CSAT, fewer re-opens, and faster first-resolution times.
Keeping up with the competition
Companies are catching on to the benefits of omnichannel—and they’re already moving quickly to add channels. Both B2C and B2B companies typically launch three channels in their first month of using Zendesk, moving from standard email and webform to rolling out self-service and then live channels like chat and phone.
This movement toward adding more channels lines up with industry research. The Aberdeen Group reported that companies doubled the number of channels they use to interact with customers between 2012 and 2017.
Not all companies are going omnichannel at the same rate. B2C companies are more likely to take an omnichannel approach, as they represent the largest share of integrated omnichannel companies by target audience. B2C companies also see much higher ticket volumes, since they tend to have a bigger and more diverse customer base than B2B companies or support desks for internal use.
For more on why and how to take an omnichannel approach, check out our latest Zendesk Benchmark reports. And learn more about the Zendesk Suite, which offers everything companies need to enable conversations with customers to flow across channels seamlessly, wrapped up in one simple package and an amazing price.