When today’s customers have a query, they expect support through whichever channel they favour – be it email, social media, live chat, mobile apps, voice or video calls – on whatever device they’ve got to hand.

They also expect to be able to swap between channels without having to repeat their query every single time.

Simply put, they expect service to be as ‘omni-channel’ as the rest of their lives. And new research suggests meeting this expectation is fast becoming a necessity for service success.

Our 2015 State of Service report reveals that today’s highest performing service teams are at least four times more likely than their underperforming peers to have ‘outstanding’ or ‘very good’ capabilities in omni-channel interactions.

The same applies for other key support capabilities, including mobile customer service, and delivering service to customers through their favourite social media channels, on any device.

The investments top service teams have made in omni-channel support are set to pay real dividends over the coming months, with service requests via mobile app, mobile chat and social networks expected to increase by more than 20 percent by late 2016.

The Omni-Channel Support Picture in the UK

Here in the UK, one in every two top performing teams rated themselves as above average in handling omni-channel interactions – a stark contrast with the underperforming teams, none of which did the same.

Leading UK service teams were also three times more likely to consider their social sense and respond capabilities to be ‘outstanding’ or ‘very good’.

Omni-Channel Support in Practice – Quintessentially Lifestyle

One company that’s reaping the rewards of its commitment to omni-channel is the British luxury lifestyle management service, Quintessentially Lifestyle.

The company’s Lifestyle Managers respond to member requests 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – making last minute restaurant reservations and holiday bookings, securing access to clubs and parties, and even organising special events, such as private climbs on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

“We are 100 percent service focused. Our goal is to become the world’s leading luxury group in the service and lifestyle sector and to become an indispensable part of our Members’ lives.” Paul Drummond, Co-Founder of Quintessentially Group

In Quintessentially Lifestyle’s business, seamless, omni-channel service is essential. 

To this end, the company logs and manages every member request, whatever its origin, though Salesforce Service Cloud – where it also keeps and manages details of over 50,000 suppliers.

By ensuring its global teams all have the same, single view of every individual member, Quintessentially Lifestyle is also able to help promote a truly consistent customer experience – wherever the customer may be. And there’s an operational benefit too:

“By gathering data on every Member interaction across multiple channels, we can see what resources we need to fulfil requests. This helps us forecast capacity and maximise efficiency.” Dan McBeth, Global Head of Technical Operations at Quintessentially Lifestyle

Quintessentially Lifestyle receives service requests by phone, email, through its online portal, and even through its own mobile app – another service capability that’s currently separating the service winners from the service laggards…

Mobile Apps – An Emerging Customer Service Technology

Globally, more than a third of high-performing service teams are already delivering customer service via mobile apps.

In the UK, the correlation is even more pronounced; 45 percent of top service teams have the ability, versus just 10 percent of UK service underperformers.

This focus on mobile is unsurprisingly set to grow, with 56% of service leaders planning to let customers access service and support via a mobile app within the next two years.

Other Key Customer Service Technologies

Mobile apps aren’t the only service technology set to become more widespread in the very near future.

Offline mobile cases: 32 percent of top UK service teams have already added offline mobile cases to their toolset, with another 36 percent expecting to do so by late 2016.

Social media monitoring – 46 percent of top UK teams have already got on board with social media monitoring, and a further 18 percent of their top performing peers plan to embrace the technology within the next 12 to 18 months.

The Conclusion – The Race Is On

For both the world’s and the UK’s top service teams, omni-channel customer service support is increasingly the new normal.

The ability to meet empowered, channel-hopping customers on their own turf – and to offer seamless service experiences through mobile apps and social media – is one that currently separates these service leaders frm the rest of the pack.

But they might not have the omni-channel advantage for long. Many of today’s service laggards are already making plans to regain the ground they’ve lost. The delivery of service via mobile apps, for example, looks set to grow by 475 percent among service underperformers over the next two years.

Read the full State of Service report to discover how omni-channel support now plays a crucial role in the creation of truly stellar service teams – and what else is giving 2015’s service winners the edge.