Shep Hyken On: How to Be Truly Omnichannel (2021)
In an interview with customer service expert Shep Hyken, we talk about how omnichannel will evolve in 2021.
We chatted with customer service experience expert and keynote speaker, Shep Hyken, to discuss what he’s most excited about for the customer service world in 2021. You can find Shep’s predictions and more in our Navigating Customer Service in 2021 Trends Guide.
What's the difference between omnichannel and multichannel?
So omnichannel has been around for a while. And people get confused between what omnichannel is and multichannel. And it's really frustrating when companies give you all these different options and different ways to connect with them—but the ways that they've created are not connected themselves. And that's the difference between multichannel and omnichannel, which offers lots of ways to connect.
But if there's no connection between the different channels, for example, I may be chatting with a bot, and asking a question and getting answers. And that's all automated, but then all of a sudden, the conversation gets too complicated. And I need to switch over to a human person. And we switch from one channel, the chatbot, to just simply texting back and forth. Although it looks the same, it's a different channel. And it's like I'm almost starting over. That is a broken omnichannel, actually, that's not omnichannel, that's a multichannel -- omnichannel would allow me to go seamlessly to the human.
And maybe I'm on a website, and I'm filling out a form and I'm struggling. And I then call a company on the phone and this person, once they identify who I am, can see, hey, you're on our website, and you're filling out our form. But you've obviously stopped at question number eight, what can I do to help you out? It's that seamless. That's omnichannel.
What's on the docket for next year?
So what's going to change next year compared to this year? I think more companies are going to be able to understand what omnichannel is, [which] is the seamless connection of these channels. And I think more and more companies are realizing that this is a really important piece. Furthermore, even though it doesn't necessarily apply to “omnichannel”, I think what's happening on all of these automated processes, these different channels that are distancing the customer from human interaction, I believe that the seamless and easy way to get to a human is going to become more evident and obvious.
The best example of this, which has been going on for years, is Zappos.com. Even though they're an online retailer, they have a phone number on every single page for you to call them. That means they're more than just online. Now, that is truly omnichannel. But the idea behind it is it's a failsafe system that says, I'm struggling, I push the button, almost, you know, literally dial the button, and I now can talk to somebody that can get me out of whatever issue problem or answer any question that I have.
Check out more of Shep’s insights, as well as those from our other customer service experts and influencers, in our Navigating Customer Service in 2021 trends guide. Download your copy here.
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