The age of customer experience is upon us. It’s never been easier to get in touch with your favorite brands and comprehensive customer service is never more than a click, a tweet, a status, a text, or a call away. At least, this is what consumers have been told about the dawn of omnichannel interaction. Is it the reality though?
New data from the Northridge Group says otherwise.

The report, “State of Customer Service Experience 2016,” is an exploration into the experience of customers attempting to resolve issues through new channels of communication.

Omnichannel communication was intended to provide a boost to the ability for companies to get in touch with customers when and where they want. In reality, however, the channels have created a situation in which data sources are fragmented and siloed from one another. In fact, 55% of those surveyed reported having to contact a brand using two or more of these channels before resolving this issue.

“As we’ve observed and propagated, the premise of omnichannel is certainly a great unlock on how to embrace customers on their own terms, but the complexity of integrating customer data has been underestimated,” Matt Garrett, EVP of Strategy and Implementation at rDialogue, told Loyalty360. “In most cases, a unified customer profile for brands is still non-existent. This is one of the foundational components that need to be architected as we push new capabilities and new promises to customers. The risks are too great. Removing the friction between customers and brands working together is a major pillar of customer loyalty, and it needs pragmatic and patient adoption.”

The hottest trending of these channels is undoubtedly social media. The platform provides customers an opportunity to interact with brands directly, immediately, and in a format that allows for an informal dialogue. Because of this, a whopping 77% have used the medium to contact brands as much or more than a year ago.

Now the bad news: 21% indicated that they never received a response, once again demonstrating the need for brands to create seamlessly connected customer service processes.

The technology is here, and brands are running out of excuses for poor customer service and consumers are less patient than ever: 19% of Baby Boomers, 31% of Gen-X’ers, and 40% of Millennials noted that they migrate to another channel within 60 minutes if their issue is left unaddressed.

Inconsistent customer service is a huge point of friction for consumers across every vertical. Platforms such as social media and text analytics should make the process seamless, but they seem to be having the opposite effect, thanks to fragmented data sources. The companies that are able to crack this dilemma will hold the key to providing true omnichannel customer care, and win engagement from their most loyal and valuable consumers.

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