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'Omni-channel engagement' may sound complete sound like a completely alien term to many business owners. But not James Stafford, business development manager at Parker Software.
We caught up with James ahead of the 2015 Digital Marketing Show to find out more about omni-channel engagement, and how it can help businesses to grow.
James started by saying: "I think omni-channel engagement has become a necessity in recent times as more customers have more knowledge of the options available to them. It means they can be a bit more picky about who they choose to do business with. What that means is that companies have to provide as many options as possible to enable them to communicate. So it's no longer just about presenting them with the best way that you want them to communicate, giving them the option of phone or email. It's about making sure the customer is most comfortable and can communicate with your company in the way that they are most comfortable with."
What about live-chat? Why do they have such a strong footing within omni-channel?
James explained: "In this digital age, more and more customers and consumers are moving online. Businesses can no longer treat their websites as shop windows or catalogues, because they now need to put the customer communication and the customer journey first. They need to provide customers the option to communicate in the way that is most convenient to them, once again. And [businesses] also need to have an understanding of their visitors and their needs, and need to be able to reach out to them when they need them."
But where does live chat fit in the future of omni-channel?
James said: "Live chat has proven itself as an important part of omni-channel. It has the highest satisfaction rate of any customer service channel at 73%. That's against email which is 61%, phone which is 44% as well. On top of that, there is a 20% uplift in conversion when a live chat button is simply put on a site. This means that it's a win-win for businesses and consumers. They get the best way to communicate, and businesses get an uplift in conversion and happier customers. It's going to be an integral part of omni-channel communication for the future."