More and more consumers are channel-hopping—that is, engaging on one channel and continuing on another because it’s more convenient. You really can’t blame them, everyone wants convenience. But there’s a cost if your customer engagement channels are not connected. Most businesses offer multiple engagement channels, but the majority are still siloed and operate independently of each other. And people tend to think of channel silos only as an operational issue.

However, consider the huge impact related to the customer and agent experience when you have cross-channel issues. Without omnichannel, there are too many opportunities for channel switching via siloed operations during a customer journey. And each one may be costlier than you realize.

The Siloed Experience

Here’s a common scenario: You have an unresolved problem with an online order, so you start a web chat with the business. This seems like the fastest and easiest way to resolve the problem. But even though you called last week with a related issue, the vendor hasn’t tied together the two interactions. You must start over and explain the problem in detail all over again. Then you encounter a complication that goes beyond the skills of the chat agent or chatbot. Now you need to call “customer service.” Get ready to repeat most of what you already chatted about.

What’s that saying? Shampoo, rinse, repeat. In this case, call, chat, repeat.

Customers today expect consistent customer experiences across all digital and voice channels, and channel silos limit your ability to deliver that optimal customer experience. No matter how strong your brand, a single bad experience is all it takes to lose a customer for good.

A new report from Forrester, Transform the Contact Center for Customer Service Excellence, estimates that unnecessary service costs for online retailers due to channel escalation are $22 million on average. But even this only hints at the hidden costs.

The Cost of Bad Customer Experience

When customers are not served effectively on their first engagement, it’s a bad experience. The same is true when they’re forced to switch channels because the business can’t transfer the customer seamlessly into a different channel or a different department.

According to the Temkin Group, if a customer sees an experience as “good,” there’s a 33% increase in spending. But a negatives experience results in a 65% decrease in dollars spent. Negative experiences damage your brand—and bottom line profitability.

The Cost of Unsatisfied Customers

Customers bail on doing business with you based on bad service. The Forrester report found that 69% of online consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails.

The Genesys commissioned, Forrester Total Economic Impact ™ (TEI) study quantified specific costs and benefits of taking an Genesys omnichannel engagement approach. A typical composite B2C organization using Genesys omnichannel engagement, realized a 50% reduction in customer abandonment at key points in the customer journey. The web chat capability alone reduced customer abandonment by 30% online, leading to more sales conversions.

The Cost of Agent Burn-Out

When customers must speak to multiple agents and repeat information, it’s more than just a time-suck. It puts unnecessary pressure on agents who bear the brunt of customer complaints. According to the 2017 Dimension Data Benchmarking Report, agents must  resolve increasingly complex and contentious customer escalations. This contributes to absenteeism levels double the levels seen in 1997. Agents are burning out faster than ever!

Agent absenteeism and turnover also impact a company’s ability to up-sell and cross-sell. The TEI study found that intelligent routing increased the number of revenue-generating opportunities presented to agents, leading to increased upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Omnichannel Gives You a Path to Improvement

The most recent analysis from Dimension Data finds that only 8% of businesses can offer cross-channel consistency, and just another 22% have most channels connected.

Prioritizing omnichannel is the first step in connecting the customer journey and meeting customer expectations. With the right processes and tools, you can identify where your customers and agents are becoming frustrated, and where to focus your efforts. When you’re able to give customers a consistent customer experience, you’ll reduce many unnecessary and hidden costs to your business.

In this on-demand webinar, Detangle the Agent Desktop Disaster: Empower Your Team to Deliver a Seamless Customer Experience featuring Ventana Research and learn how Genesys PureConnect reduces unnecessary hidden costs and run a more efficient contact center.

Wendy Mikkelsen

Wendy Mikkelsen

Wendy Mikkelsen is a Director of Product Marketing at Genesys. In this role, she has responsibility for the strategic success of customer engagement solutions, driving product adoption and market awareness. Wendy has considerable professional expertise serving the contact center and...