Omni-channel customer care - what customers expect from you? - TELUS International Europe

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  • Omni-channel customer care – what customers expect from you?

    October 16, 2014

    By Stefan Abadzhiev

    Omni-channel customer careCustomers today demand 24/7/365 support and expect it anytime, anywhere and from any device. This generation of shoppers simply wants service their way. They expect companies to solve problems quickly and they expect to enjoy themselves while they are doing it. The days of waiting patiently in line are long gone.

    This is leading more and more companies to offer omni-channel customer service. And in order to deliver the faster and better experience customers demand in the digital space many are now seeing live chat and social media customer care as the answer.

    Online chat: enhancing customer service….

    Live chat has reached critical mass as more consumers turn to the Internet to resolve their issues before picking up the phone.Our experience shows that chat is increasingly preferred among a rapid growing segment of online customers as it offers a quick, low-effort and personalised way to interact with a brand for sales, customer care and technical support.

    For customers chat is easy to use. They see it as a very clear and concise form of communication. It allows them to multi-task, remaining at their screens without the distraction and interruption of making a telephone call. Live chat is also immediate. Compare the speed of live chat responses to the waiting time often found in email or phone support channels. Finally, for many people live chat is a simpler and easier way to get things done because it removes the need for a long conversation on the phone with an agent.

    …..and driving sales growth

    There is also a growing number of statistics that suggest live chat can be a significant driver of sales. A 2010 survey from Bold Software revealed that 67% of shoppers with a previous chat experience continue to actively seek chat options on merchant websites, and that 77% of chat users agree the new interaction method positively influences their attitude about the retailer they were considering buying from.

    Further evidence came from a 2009 survey which found that 63% of respondents reported they were more likely to return to a website after experiencing live chat, and that 38% stated they purchased from the e-commerce website as a direct result of the chat session itself. 

    Social media: customer service going viral 

    The other major digital development is social media. Indeed, social customer service is rapidly becoming the new, critical channel to drive satisfaction and loyalty. Organisations are being pushed into social media customer service by savvy customers who are already asking questions on social networks and expecting responses. These customers are getting faster responses to their issues through social channels than the traditional contact centre because no company wants to appear unresponsive in public forums. 

    Providing good customer experience is more important today than ever before, as positive and negative word-of-mouth spreads quickly on the social web. Social media customer service is different from traditional voice, email and chat support because social care conversations are public, often permanent and can easily go viral. If done right, social care can actually generate more positive sentiment than the overall brand. It can drive positive conversations and improve brand perception.

    Benefits from omni-channel customer care? 

    The benefits of a well-run social care programme, either with or without online chat, can be extensive, from increases in market share to operational savings.Chat shortens the sales process by creating additional positive impressions that move a prospect quickly and efficiently through the sales cycle while resolving customer issues and objections immediately.

    One of the biggest advantages of social care is that issue resolution changes from a one-to-one model to a one-to-many model, meaning many people benefit from one informative, well-written response. As more people rely on the Internet for solutions instead of calling customer service, this benefit becomes even more significant.

    For many organisations this new model of customer care is becoming a business case that is impossible to ignore. Certainly as more and more customers recognise the improved customer care offered by social and live chat, we expect to see ever more companies begin to offer it, and those that fail to do so will be left ever further behind.

    Don’t forget the multilingual aspect! 

    Except for being available on multiple channels, consumers now expect customer care to also be available in their native language. Anyone who doubts the importance of this issue for 21st Century business should consider this fact: a 2011 study from the European Commission found that 42% of consumers never purchase products and services in other languages. As a business process outsourcer based in Bulgaria, Romania and the UK we operate campaigns in over 30 different languages, and so we face this issue every day. The case study below showcases how we manage to integrate both the omni-channel and multilingual aspect for one of our clients. 

    Case study: Payments industry 

    For a client of ours, the Austrian division of a global leader in the payment industry, we implemented social media monitoring on Facebook. The company had never used social media for customer care and was experiencing a rather challenging reputation.

    Within the first month of our partnership, we integrated the social media support channel (24/7), including the development of standard answers in nine languages, clear procedures for escalation while adhering to the service level standard of one hour. These efforts led to increased brand recognition for the company and positive social media postings recognising the fast responses.


    Stefan Abadzhiev is Senior Sales Manager at TELUS International Europe. 


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