A time of shifting norms and expectations around service.

In recent years, there’s been a move towards self-service models – empowering customers to find quick resolutions to common issues anytime, without needing to interact with customer service staff.

The emergence of AI-driven chatbots has fuelled this hands-off approach – and many businesses have assumed that fewer customer interactions are better for everyone involved. Unexpectedly, research now shows that customers still crave those personal interactions with brands, even as technology evolves. A recent study found that 71% of Gen Z respondents still wanted the option to phone a business, despite the anti-social, anti-phone-call stereotypes of that age group.    

No wonder so many business owners and customer service teams are struggling. Finding the balance between great customer experiences and your teams’ workload or between digital efficiencies and personalised interactions isn’t easy – particularly if you don’t have the right technology.  

Here’s how an omnichannel strategy could help.  

Understanding the omnichannel approach

In our ultra-connected online world, serving customers is more complex than it used to be. Customers connect with your business through a range of channels, including online, in-store, social media, SMS, email, phone calls and chatbots. While these tools can be impactful, they can also add layers of complexity to your customer service, particularly if you’re using separate systems that don’t communicate well with each other to manage different parts of the customer experience.  

An omnichannel strategy aims to create a seamless customer experience across all channels at every business touchpoint. It’s about connecting the channels to deliver personalised experiences and cohesive service and better meet customers’ needs when they interact with your business.

While the term ‘omnichannel’ is most often associated with digital marketing, you can also apply the approach to your sales processes and customer experiences.  

If we see different channels as tiny threads that connect your business to your customer, an omnichannel approach is about weaving those threads together. To extend the metaphor, that woven rope of many smaller strands makes a stronger, more robust connection with your customer base.   

Ready to get started on your omnichannel approach?

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The disconnection challenge – why excellent customer service can be hard to achieve

Most customer care leaders know what great customer service should look like. They know that personalisation matters71% of customers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions. Customers want various ways to contact and interact with businesses, and smooth, positive customer experiences correlate with growth 

The challenge is in achieving that level of service. Your customer care team can be passionate and dedicated, but if it’s not supported by the right tools and an omnichannel strategy, it’s still hard to deliver on those expectations. 

Separate systems and tools that aren’t connected are often the root cause of customer service challenges. If you’re using one system for CRM, one for emails and one to manage inventory, you will likely have siloed data. This results in knowledge gaps for your customer service agents, leading to inadequate service and repetitive manual work if data has to be shifted between systems. In some businesses, customer service agents have to switch between separate email or chat inboxes to answer customer questions and resolve problems.  

This lack of connection can be extremely frustrating for a customer service team. With no way to view a customer’s full history with your business, it can take far longer to get customers the answers they’re looking for, impacting time to resolution (TTR). Disconnected systems can also increase errors, as your customer service team won’t necessarily work with accurate data or the full customer story. Imagine going back to a customer to ask for the details again because there’s no way to track down a past sale or check their email history.  

Breaking down the barriers to great customer service 

What’s the best way to fix the disconnection issues at the heart of your customer service struggles? It’s bringing your software systems, databases, and communications channels together through an omnichannel strategy. Where disconnected systems can mean time-consuming manual work and frustration for your people, an omnichannel strategy removes the busywork burden, giving them more time to work closely with customers.   

Here’s how your current system stacks up against an omnichannel approach:  

Knowledge gaps → Connected view  

With all your data housed in one platform, your customer service reps get a full, gap-free view of every aspect of your customer relationship. When you can see every email, text, live chat, invoice, return, order and phone call in one place, it’s much easier to trace issues back and reach a quick resolution without customers having to repeat themselves – and that’s a win for everyone involved.  

Repetition automation  

Reclaim time for your customer service team. With a disconnected approach, repetitive manual processes are inevitable – this could look like customer service agents manually inputting customer data, copying and pasting details from different systems, or answering the same queries again and again. An omnichannel approach automates those monotonous tasks, which means more time for your teams. Some simple examples: automated customer onboarding reduces manual inputs, AI chat responds to common customer queries, and email workflows get messages out quickly.  

Errors and gaps → accuracy  

Access to accurate, up-to-date information results in fewer errors, shorter resolution times, and lower case volumes for your customer service team. With a connected system, you get customer data you can trust instead of outdated or error-ridden information. This means fewer issues reach your customer service desk, and those that do are simpler to sort out.  

Broad strokes personalisation  

With an omnichannel approach, personalisation means more than just slapping a customer’s name at the top of an email or text. Create personalised messages, send tailored recommendations, and follow up on transactions or interactions. It sounds complex, but this kind of targeting and personalisation is all very doable with the right tech. The research shows that it works – according to McKinsey, 72% of consumers expect businesses to recognise them as individuals and know their interests.  

Frustration retention  

Minimising the challenges of a disconnected system doesn’t just deliver improved customer service – it also helps reduce frustration and dissatisfaction for your customer service agents, which could help improve retention.  

Optimising omnichannel customer service with ServiceNow and Fusion5

The why of omnichannel strategy may be obvious – but the how is less clear. That’s where ServiceNow comes in. Its AI-powered Customer Service Management (CSM) solution is purpose-built for omnichannel customer service. For your team, it’s a workspace where customer information and key comms channels intersect. With flexible channels and dedicated service portals, it’s designed for ease of use and minimal manual tasks. Beyond improving your existing service, ServiceNow CSM also uses AI to streamline case resolution and reduce your customer service workload. AI-powered Intelligent Virtual Agents use natural language processing to answer questions, automate emails, and even respond to voice calls.   

CSM delivers seamless cross-channel service for your customers, letting them switch between SMS, email, order forms, your website, your phone line, live agents and chat without losing the thread of their customer journey. Behind the scenes, it’s a complex web of data, communication and service channels. On the customer side, it just works at every touchpoint.  

Of course, implementing a ServiceNow CSM requires expertise and ongoing support – and that starts with an experienced partner like Fusion5.  

If your business is ready for an omnichannel approach to customer service, talk to our team now 

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Great outcomes start with great conversations

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