How Omnichannel Customer Service Can Increase Sales

Zuzanna Bocian

Zuzanna Bocian

12 min read
Jul 7, 2024

Omnichannel customer service provides a consistent support experience across various channels, such as phone, live chat, social media, and mobile apps. It emphasizes a unified customer service approach with interconnected communication channels.

According to The Future of Commerce 2022 Shopify report, 58% of customers believe that customer support from their preferred channel influenced their buying decision (source).

I’ll explore omnichannel customer service, its benefits, and its impact on sales. So, let’s get right to it!

Omnichannel vs. multichannel customer service

Before we discuss omnichannel customer service further, it’s important to clarify its difference from multichannel customer service.

What is multichannel customer service?

Multichannel customer service involves providing customer support through various channels such as phone, email, live chat, social media, and mobile apps. It allows customers to choose their preferred method of communication to receive assistance.

Not all channels need to be connected, meaning customers may experience varying levels of engagement on different channels.

What is omnichannel customer service?

Omnichannel customer service involves delivering consistent and personalized support across various channels. A unified platform synchronizes customer interactions across all communication channels.

Regardless of whether customers initiate contact through live chat and then transition to social media or follow-up emails, the entire conversation history and context are preserved and consolidated into a central platform.

It ensures that the customer service team comprehensively understands the customer’s history and preferences, enabling them to provide more personalized assistance.

Omnichannel vs. multichannel customer service – 3 key differences

Both omnichannel and multichannel customer service offer customers support through multiple channels. However, the service experience varies significantly in both.

1. Integration

One of the most prominent differences is the integration of communication channels.

Although multichannel customer service offers customers multiple channels to interact, the channels often operate in silos. There is no such thing as one platform that unifies all customer interactions.

For example, suppose the customer interacts with the agent through social media for the first time. In that case, the data will not be available to the agent when the same customer interacts with the agent next time through email or a different channel.

In contrast, omnichannel customer service offers a fully integrated, consistent experience. All the channels are linked to a singular platform. For example, when a customer initiates a conversation on social media and later switches to email, the agent can access the complete interaction history due to a unified platform.

2. Customer experience

70% of customers anticipate that the support agent they communicate with should have full context (source). However, multichannel customer service offers a fragmented experience. For example, the customer may explain the issue on the live chat but must repeat it when interacting through the phone. If customers have to repeat their queries every time they switch channels, it can increase frustration and inefficiency.

On the other hand, omnichannel customer service focuses on a cohesive customer journey. The singular platform is a one-stop place where all the customer interactions are accessible to the agent. Simply put, the customer has to explain the issue once in the channel of their liking and get the assistance they need without repeating the information.

3. Data and Analytics

Data and analytics are crucial for organizations to learn about customer expectations, preferences, and pain points. In multichannel customer service, the siloed communication channels also make data siloed. It becomes difficult to analyze data and get valuable insights thoroughly.

In contrast, omnichannel customer support offers superior data collection and analysis capabilities. Its centralized setup consolidates customer data from all touchpoints, helping the support team deliver highly personalized customer experiences by analyzing their preferences and past behaviors.

In addition, the central access to data makes it easy to analyze and identify trends, customer behaviors, and other elements, which helps make data-driven decisions.

Benefits of omnichannel customer service for businesses

Now, let’s closely examine the benefits of omnichannel customer service for businesses:

Increased customer retention

Implementing an omnichannel customer support strategy significantly increases customer retention and satisfaction.

Customer support essentials have changed. Today, customers want convenience at every level, whether it’s a seamless experience with the products/services or customer support. With an omnichannel strategy, you’ll offer customers a seamless experience. They can reach you from the platform of their choice and get personalized service through the context-aware support agent.

88% of customers believe a company’s experience is as necessary as its products/services (source). So, when customers experience a seamless customer service process, it improves customer satisfaction. They feel more valued and understood, which leads them to become loyal customers.

In short, customers’ consistent and efficient experience across all touchpoints directly influences customer retention and loyalty.

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Customer service essentials Source

Higher customer engagement

Omnichannel customer service solutions provide more ways for customers to reach you.

Suppose your products are used by customers between 20 and 50 years of age. The younger customer base might prefer interacting with you through social media, while the older customer base will likely prefer phone calls. When you offer multiple ways of interacting, you efficiently cater to the needs of all age groups.

Secondly, omnichannel support ensures that customers get consistent, high-quality service. It means you get higher customer engagement from different groups of customers while handling them from a unified platform.

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Improved customer insights

Businesses need plenty of customer data and insights to understand their preferences and act accordingly. Implementing the same marketing tactics repeatedly and expecting the same results is impossible. You must adapt your marketing and service offerings to changing market dynamics and customer preferences.

With omnichannel customer service software, you can collect data across channels. The unified platform becomes the central hub of all communication with customers. When data is centrally accessible, it becomes easier to analyze, understand customers, and make data-driven decisions.

For example, customer interactions through different channels may have shown that customers demand a specific feature in your product. Based on that, you can prioritize the development of that feature and then strategically plan marketing campaigns around it. This way, you have better customer understanding and become proactive in responding to their needs.

The omnichannel customer journey also helps you learn more about your customer base. You can offer better communication and tailored services by understanding their behaviors, pain points, and preferences.

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Metrics in HelpDesk.

Operational efficiency

Omnichannel strategies are directly connected to improved operational efficiency. When you provide multichannel customer service and consolidate it into a single platform, you simplify the workflow and eliminate unnecessary repetition.

It provides support agents with access to the customer’s history. This context-aware agent can then offer quicker issue resolution. Over time, you’ll see more streamlined operations, a more efficient support team, and decreased support volumes. Additionally, operational efficiency will lead to cost reductions through optimized resource allocation.

Impact on sales of omnichannel customer service

Omnichannel customer service offers numerous benefits, including improved customer satisfaction, engagement, and retention. It also provides better customer understanding and operational efficiency, positively impacting sales.

Let’s explore its direct and indirect effects on sales to understand how omnichannel support influences sales.

Direct impact on sales

Businesses that have implemented omnichannel strategies have witnessed remarkable sales growth. Below are the three case studies that testify how omnichannel customer service directly impacts sales growth:

Case study #1: Sephora

Sephora is a multinational retailer of beauty and personal care products. The company has implemented a comprehensive omnichannel strategy that has helped it boost sales and customer engagement. It provides customers rich in-app messaging, personalized push notifications, and in-store technology. For instance, the in-store technology lets cast members examine the customer’s favorite items and suggest new products that fit with the customer’s preferences.

Furthermore, the Beauty Insider loyalty program analyzes unified customer data and offers personalized mobile, web, and email offers to drive in-store and online purchases. Due to all these omnichannel and customized experiences, Sephora had great success. Customers who visited the store within 24 hours of its retail website were three times more likely to purchase, with 13% higher order values than others (source).

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Sephora Source

Case study #2: Zappos

Zappos is another well-known retailer of clothing and online shoes. It’s also one of the best omnichannel customer service examples to consider.

Zappos allows customers to reach out through different channels, like text, X (formerly Twitter), 24/7 call center, and other platforms. Due to omnichannel customer support, all customer service agents are context-aware of customers and can continue the conversation anytime.

Zappos is reputed for its exceptional customer service, as you’ll find customers appreciating their customer service on social media.

Zappos X Source

Due to its omnichannel strategy, support for free shipping, and 365-day return policy, Zappos has witnessed a boost in sales.

Case study #3: Starbucks

Starbucks has implemented an omnichannel customer service strategy for years now. It makes customers feel like part of the business. For example, the @StarbucksCare page on X actively engages with customers and helps them solve their issues. You’ll get a similar experience through Facebook and Instagram.

Starbucks Twitter

Starbucks has gone above and beyond in its omnichannel strategy. It has also integrated its digital platforms with physical stores. You can easily order through mobile and take advantage of Starbucks Reward. The mobile-based ordering and payment system and personalized rewards have let the company receive over $1.6 billion in prepaid mobile deposits from over 24 million users (source).

Indirect impact on sales

The above case studies have shown how omnichannel customer service solutions can directly uplift the sales game. However, it also indirectly impacts sales.

As mentioned in the benefits of omnichannel customer service, businesses witness improved customer engagement and retention. So, how these attributes lead to increased sales is evident from the below statistics:

The statistics above demonstrate that customer satisfaction, engagement, and retention are indirectly connected to sales improvement when combined with an omnichannel strategy. In other words, the omnichannel strategy boosts repeat purchases from existing customers and generates new sales through word-of-mouth marketing and positive customer reviews.

This leads to a simple formula:

Omnichannel formula

Implementing an omnichannel strategy

Now that I have explained the basics and importance of omnichannel customer service, you must be wondering how to start.

Below is the step-by-step guide to implementing an omnichannel strategy:

Five steps to implement an omnichannel strategy

Step 1. Understand your customers

The first step is to understand your customers. You must know their preferences and how they want you to assist them. You must collect customer data from surveys, data analytics, feedback, etc.

Based on your collected data, you can create customer personas, segment them into different groups based on behaviors, demographics, and other attributes, and map the entire customer journey from the first interaction to the final goodbye.

You can understand your customers and tailor your strategy effectively based on all these customer details.

Step 2. Choose the right channels

Now, you have to finalize what communication channels you’ll use. Consider the customer preferences extracted from the first step in picking the channels. 

For example, suppose your customer base consists of 20 to 30-year-old adults who like interacting through live chat or social media. In that case, you can emphasize channels like live support on your website, Facebook, Instagram, X, etc.

Step 3. Integrate channels into a unified platform

Next, you must find a platform to integrate all your communication channels. This platform will serve as a central point for the support agent to learn about customers’ past interactions and respond accordingly.

HelpDesk is a robust platform that can unify all your customer messages into one place. Its intuitive interface streamlines ticket handling and boosts productivity. Furthermore, it helps create automated workflows and AI chatbots to automate repetitive support activities, reduce the burden on the team, and increase sales.

HelpDesk dashboard

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Step 4. Develop consistent and personalized messaging experiences

The next step is to focus on developing consistent and personalized customer experiences.

You should develop a consistent brand voice that aligns across all channels. Besides consistent voice, make your messaging personalized for each customer segment to give them an engaging experience.

Step 5. Regularly monitor and optimize

The last step is about optimizing your omnichannel customer support over time. You should regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your strategy, identify the gaps, and optimize it accordingly.

The necessity of the right technologies for a successful omnichannel setup

Besides following the above steps to implement omnichannel customer service, you must integrate the right technologies for a successful setup. Below are some essential technologies to have in your omnichannel strategy:

Training and development of staff

Well-trained staff capable of effectively handling multiple channels is essential for omnichannel support. As the front-line team, they must be proficient in utilizing integrated technologies and platforms.

Additionally, they should be well-trained to deliver consistent, personalized customer experiences across all channels. You can organize comprehensive training programs to ensure they have the top expertise and are aligned with your omnichannel strategies.

Summary

Omnichannel customer service is a modern and necessary system for addressing business challenges. In every case study, a brand has seen success with an omnichannel strategy. This strategy allows customers to interact through multiple channels while the unified platform provides personalized experiences.

It’s time to take action. Begin developing your omnichannel customer support strategy and provide customers with the best experience.

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