From mom-and-pop to big-box store formats, the retail industry has always found a way to reinvent itself. Today, it has evolved even faster, thanks to the widespread adoption of the internet, the need for contactless transactions, and technology utilization. We’ve had online models battle offline models and vice versa—all in the quest for a unified, seamless omnichannel model.
The term “omnichannel” may be a popular buzzword but its importance has never faded.
The omnichannel trend has also constantly evolved over the past few years—from in-store versus online buying to in-store pickup and “trying before buying.” Omnichannel retail, however, isn’t simply about retailers being everywhere; it is about providing customers what they need, when and where they want it. It allows customers to have a seamless experience across physical and virtual stores with no disruptions.
Picture this omnichannel scenario: A customer walks into a store and finds an outfit she likes. However, it is not available in her size. She then orders online, using a tablet within the store, and has the item delivered to her home instead1.
Here’s another scenario worth mentioning: A customer parks his vehicle at a designated spot at Target and waits for a store representative to bring the shopping goods. The transaction is safe and contactless, made possible by two purchasing options: either shop Drive-Up items through the Target app, or choose Order Pickup eligible items on Target.com and switch your order later on to Drive-Up, wait for the notification, and park at your designated spot. After that, it’s as simple as letting the store know that you’re already there so they can load your purchases into your car2.
The pandemic has expedited the transformation of the retail chain and emphasized the value of operating within an “omni-always” lens. It has also affected how retailers respond to continuous consumer behavior, such as buying online or picking up in-store, that are here to stay. These situations can easily be addressed by retail brands through an omnichannel model3.
We often see the terms “omnichannel” and “multichannel,” and assume that they mean the same thing. After all, they both have multiple channels that businesses use to cater to customers. However, they do have a significant distinction that gives them varying functions.
The key difference is integration.
Yes, the customer has various ways to access information through multiple channels. Still, a multichannel approach doesn’t provide companies with the capability to use such channels in a unified manner—because each one provides multiple services and runs separately. An omnichannel environment, on the other hand, puts the customer at the center. It focuses on the customers’ needs, providing them with a personalized message in a seamless, unified experience. This approach allows the customer to easily access information from any channel as they are all connected. Customers also expect a seamless experience between each channel4.
It’s all about the experience of the consumer through the empowered, purpose-driven people of TaskUs. The intricacies of omnichannel solutions sometimes lead businesses to get caught up in addressing the channels where they need to be, that they end up missing the ultimate end goal: engaging with customers in a meaningful way. At TaskUs, it might take two or more channels for an expert Teammate to attend to a customer’s need, but what’s compelling is the intention to make the customer a part of the journey. If you involve the customer in the experience—through whatever channel—they’re going to be more interested.
The enigma for businesses isn’t, “Should we or shouldn’t we adopt omnichannel?” But rather, “How do we provide an excellent experience through omnichannel?”
For instance, to produce excellent support in an eCommerce campaign’s complex environment, TaskUs focused on three key development areas: merchant success, individual empowerment, and enhanced training.
To help merchants achieve success on the platform, we trained our Teammates on personal accountability. Doing so ensures that customers and merchants have a meaningful experience with the support we provide, making us not only problem solvers, but brand stewards who support all aspects of the business.
Individual empowerment means Teammates can seamlessly transfer a conversation with a customer from, say, chat to a phone call, to ease the resolution. To proactively help customers, our Teammates are encouraged to write and email the instructions they share while actively communicating with the customer, in case they need it for future reference. Furthermore, Teammates are encouraged to provide a proactive resolution to any issue that often follows the current problem. The goal is to solve problems customers didn’t even know they had.
Lastly, TaskUs’s enhanced training for this campaign is designed to be self-paced and can be done at home. TaskUs created a bespoke facilitator-led curriculum, coupled with a custom and interactive learning management system (LMS), to utilize virtual learning and educational videos. We also simulated a store environment to provide interactive hands-on training.
Additionally, we conducted post-training development to ensure continuous improvement. We looked at inquiries that required the most extended handle times yet produced the lowest CSAT scores and completed additional training around these specific tickets. After restructuring the training program, we saw a 15-point increase in CSAT.