Feilim Mackle, Head of Sales and Services at O2, spoke to Retail Gazette about the significance of omnichannel in today’s market and how O2 as a business is creating a seamless online and offline experience for customers.(
As becoming ‘omnichannel’ becomes an increasingly key focus for retailers in the competitive digital space, what does the word mean to you and why is a seamless experience across stores and online so important?
I believe that all modern retailers should be customer-centric, operating wherever their customers choose to interact and communicate. ‘Omnichannel’ is about making it as easy as possible for customers to engage with a brand, and ensuring a consistent experience across every touch point.
The power of the internet and the rise of social and mobile technologies have empowered consumers, and their expectations continue to increase. They want to be able to browse online, view in store, pay via mobile – and for the whole experience to be seamless and intuitive.
In today’s digital world, technology should be at the heart of delivering an outstanding customer experience, whether online or offline. It makes it possible for retailers to transform shopping into an interactive and rewarding experience, providing shoppers with the excitement and accessibility they are increasingly coming to expect as standard.
O2 uses Twitter and other social networks to engage with customers and offer individual customer service; why is this medium the preferred way to interact with O2 shoppers and what positive and negative experiences have the team had on these networks that have informed the strategy?
Soaring smartphone usage and the mobile internet have fundamentally changed what people expect from customer service. We know that our customers are increasingly opting to interact through digital channels, including social media which, in O2’s case, has seen an almost five fold increase in customer interaction over the last two years.
Instant gratification is now the norm, and customers want a more flexible way to contact companies. Technology and social media are making this possible – for example, Twitter enables real time interaction, helping to resolve queries faster than many traditional methods.
At O2, we believe it’s crucial to recognise the value of the insight that we gain from these conversations with customers. From information on service performance to feedback on particular devices, the two way dialogue via Twitter enables us to be agile when issues arise, as well as developing a closer relationship with our customers.
This insight is also informing the way we work as a business. For example, the strength of interaction on Twitter has led us to implement what we believe to be a global first – a system that will see us offer customers the opportunity to check their accounts by tweeting. This innovative new service will be available in the coming months.
O2 recently announced new digital customer services; tell us more about this and how it fits in with your broader omnichannel strategy.
Last month we set out bold plans to redefine our customer service offering to better respond to growing demand from customers wanting to connect via digital means. We’re investing £31 million in digital customer service, and investigating how we can further develop our services to serve the customer of the future.
O2 was the first company to offer web chat for customer care as opposed to sales, and we want to remain progressive. The investment will allow us to scale up and enhance our digital service channels which are becoming increasingly popular. MyO2, which allows customers to manage and check their bill online, is currently being used nine million times a month, while web chat services are used three quarters of a million times every month. I