Anecdotally, the idea that omni-channel means greater customer satisfaction and a greater chance at return business has been around for a while, and is generally accepted as accurate. Now, the value of omni-channel engagement got just a little more concrete thanks to a study from Forrester (News - Alert) Consulting, which found that omni-channel engagement can mean very big returns.
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study examined the impact of deploying of a Customer Experience Platform as issued by large companies. The results were astonishing; customers reported a return on investment (ROI) of 158 percent over five years. That's good by any standard, but further improvements not directly connected to ROI, like better agent productivity and increased conversions from e-commerce activities.
Indeed, many of the respondents saw complete ROI in a little under 13 months, showing the kind of impact that such a system can have even in the short term. As noted by Genesys (News - Alert)' chief marketing officer Reed Henry, omni-channel engagement centers can mean reduced operations costs, along with better revenue and even better employee outlook. Customers abandon purchases 50 percent less often, and adding new contact center agents to the roster actually requires 50 percent less cost. Agent handle time even increases by 12.5 percent. This led to the ultimate distillation of the study stated as “The only way to win, serve and retain customers is to become customer-obsessed.” Considering how much customers know about product and pricing these days, this isn't much of an exaggeration.
We've all known that customers want more than just a phone line for access. While most customers turn to a phone line for connecting with a brand, customers would like to expand that outward. There's no shortage of options, either, from social media to Web-based chat to even self-service options that prevent the customer even having to make contact with a contact center in the first place. Providing these options accommodates a customer desire and improves the likelihood of a customer returning. This might not be enough evidence to commit resources to, but an average 153 percent ROI in five years? That's a different matter entirely.
Having a presence in omni-channel engagement is likely enough to generate at least some return, and those businesses that don't—or won't—offer such systems are likely to lose business to those who can and will. Omni-channel engagement may not save modern retail, but it has great potential to help.