Chances are that the support channels you offer are backed by a strategy. You’ve optimized your IVR, you’ve introduced chat, you’ve set up email routing and service level agreements, and you’ve got a healthy set of FAQs. Channel by channel, your software and workflows are set up to ensure that no ticket slips through the cracks, unanswered.

But there’s another way to miss an opportunity to better serve the customer. It can happen when it’s impossible to see whether a person who called has also email or tweeted at you. Or when someone on live chat has already read your help article, and three others, before you sent it across.

An omnichannel support solution removes these silos but when you’re designing your omnichannel strategy, you have to consider who you’re designing it for. Each channel can offer benefits to your support organization and business, but the best omnichannel strategy is designed around the customer so that they can move as fluidly between channels as your agents can. Rather than overwhelm customers with channel choices, consider the natural journey your customers might take and which channels to surface at a particular touchpoint. Here’s just one example, among many, of how that might look.

Start with self-service

Self-service is good for your customers and for your business. At least seventy percent of customers expect a company to have a self-service option and, frankly, that was a few years ago. Self-service is now a norm, but good self-service is not a given. It needs to be fast and easy, so that it doesn’t lead to a frustrating conversation two hours later. At Zendesk, we’ve found that giving customers the satisfaction of a quick answer does raise satisfaction—86 percent of customers surveyed found that Zendesk Guide usage impacted satisfaction by 50 percent or more. But the numbers were even higher when it came to improving ticket deflection and reducing support costs.

When you lead with self-service, you can also lead customers to the next avenue of support–keeping them on your site while enabling agents to have productive conversations with customers whose issues are not as easily solved.

Surface a web widget

In a perfect world, customer issues might resolve without intervention. However, in the world we live in there are issues of all shapes and sizes to contend with. If your customer is unable to resolve their issue on their own, the next natural step might be to surface a web widget to offer the customer another quick way to search for relevant help content right from the page they’re already on (all the while helping your help center to get smarter with each search). This can be a failsafe against the impatient customer, who might be keen to navigate away from your site if an answer is not immediately apparent.

Chat it up

If the customer still needs help, you might add the option in the web widget to chat with an agent. Up to this point, you’ve been proactive about serving up useful content, but no longer want to stand in the way of a customer connecting with a human for support. And with Zendesk’s omnichannel solution, agents can pick up a chat and see the path the customer took to arrive there—which help articles they may have viewed, or which pages the customer visited. This helps agents avoid sending or suggesting repeat information and while a chat has become necessary at this point, it remains an easy, quick option for the customer—an extension of the customer’s digital experience.

They call, you answer

Of course, some contacts begin with the phone, but at other times customers call only after they’ve attempted to get help another way or to continue a longer, more complex conversation. How and when customers reach for the phone depends on your business. For example, a customer might use your help center to check on your shipping policies, but when the order doesn’t arrive, they call. The beauty of tying phone support to email, chat, and other channels is that agents can see all previous customer conversations when they answer the call. An omnichannel solution provides the context so that agents can see whether the customer is new or long-term, a frequent caller, a VIP, and so on…setting the agent up to deliver a positive resolution.

Put it all together

When you create an intuitive flow from one channel to the next, as part of an integrated omnichannel solution, you give agents a single view of the customer, all in one place, which is always better for the customer.

And what’s better for the customer is also what’s better for the business. Time to value is faster and ROI improves. With Zendesk as your omnichannel solution, you can be agile and make changes to your channel offerings as needed, on the fly, and configure for a seamless flow right from the beginning. By better understanding your customer’s support journey, you also gain insight into how to optimally staff each channel—learn where the process breaks down and fix it, or how to blend agents to move between channels. The data you collect can provide real insight into both service and sales and help to drive the best outcome… maybe that’s a sale, or a really satisfied customer. Hopefully both.

Learn more about an omnichannel solution with Zendesk