The use of omnichannel strategy in providing a consistent customer service experience is gradually becoming the standard in modern business. Consumers now expect a top-notch consistent customer experience across devices and channels. On the contrary, as the internet continues to grow, many new channels continue to spring up. Making it more difficult to have a consistent interaction with the customer across all channels. Thereby, making the challenge of consistent customer experience more obvious. The lack of integration of the different channels continues to lead to repetitive and disjointed communication between the customer and the business.
Don’t play catch up
Businesses’ that don’t deploy an omnichannel approach will continue to play catch up, and will eventually be left behind. This is due to the fact there is a huge shift in the buying pattern of customers. Customers now enjoy making research about the product before buying. In fact, 81% of retail shoppers browse and research online. Before they visit a brick-and-mortar store to making the final purchase. Likewise, with all the plethora of information available online, customers can now compare multiple brands and product information before making a final decision. The information source may include social media sites, online review sites, webinars, endorsements by bloggers. As well as, print magazines, stores, and catalogs.
With all these sources affecting the customer’s final decision. Customers still expect to have a consistent customer experience irrespective of the touchpoint or channel they make their final decision. 32% of customers will walk away from a brand they love after a single bad experience according to a report released by PwC.
Omnichannel approach for consistent customer experience
A consistent customer service experience can prove very difficult. if your businesses are still stuck up in the multi-channel approach. The standard has changed. Even though the multi-channel approach helps you target prospective channels using different channels. However, it falters when it comes to having a consistent customer experience. Making it very difficult to understand the customer journey and also, to know how to better assist them to make a decision. For example, if a customer has an incomplete transaction online. it will be difficult to have a flow of conversation if the customer decides to complete the transaction on phone with a multichannel strategy. This is because the multi-channel strategy is not designed to create a consistent experience. Leaving the customer dissatisfy, and may eventually lead to a loss of revenue for the business.
Omnichannel VS Multichannel strategy
The main difference between the two is simply the concept. Multichannel focuses on using different channels to communicate with prospects and customers. Channels such as social media platforms, websites, billboards, and more. In the multichannel business approach, the various channels operate as an individual system. The main focus is to engage customers in the different channels available. Making it possible for customers to connect to your brand irrespective of the channels they are using. On the contrary, the omnichannel strategy focus on integrating the various channels to create a seamless customer experience. So, the different channels are not operating autonomously. Rather the various communication channels come together to make up one integrated system. Each channel can relate together to give the customer a consistent customer experience irrespective of the channel they choose to communicate at any point in time.
Also, Omnichannel is customer-centric. Everything revolves around the customer’s experience. Unlike Multichannel strategy that focuses on customer engagement. Increasing the number of channels available to the customer. Omnichannel strategy rather focuses on making sure prospects/customer gets quality support. In a typical omnichannel strategy, the customer starts to engage a business through a channel and can switch to a different channel to continue the conversation without having to repeat themselves. If a customer starts to engage with a business through a webchat, they can escalate the chat to a phone conversation, or a video call without having any form of disjointed communication.
How expensive is implementing an omnichannel strategy?
Implementing the technology needed for launching an omnichannel strategy can be expensive for an enterprise, Especially if you are looking at building from scratch. However, there are many SAAS (Software as A Service) based application that offers this solution at a very affordable for any kind of business. So, if you are starting, instead of looking at a tailor-made application. Most cloud-based SAAS application that offers the solution should fit your need.
How to deliver a consistent customer experience
1. Know your audience
I believe the first step in executing a consistent customer service experience is to know your audience. Although this might sound cliché. It is, however, very important to understand. You need to, first of all, know who your audiences are, and how they want to communicate with your brand. When you know this, you can implement the strategy to ensure that this individual channel is synchronized to give a consistent customer experience.
2. Invest in the right technologies
Next, you will need a technology stack that is supported by friendly personnel who can make the customer feel known as they engage with the business through different channels. By providing consistent and contextual handling of the customer needs. An in-house technology stack for omnichannel strategy can be quite expensive. Software that can manage orders, store fulfillment, dropshipping, and other procedures to effectively implement an omnichannel strategy can be quite expensive to build from scratch.
Nonetheless, they are numerous advanced cloud-based CRM software and email automation tools that supports omnichannel strategies that you can start using immediately. Because customers are always switching between channels and devices to interact with your brand, and they expect a consistent customer experience. Therefore, your CRM or any other software you are using should be able to integrate both offline and online channels seamlessly.
3. Use your data wisely
An effective omnichannel strategy starts from proper data analysis. Therefore, you should have a system in place gathering data from prospects/customers across various channels. The data can come in form of feedback from touchpoints such as social media platforms, websites, video chat, and more. It is through this process of data gathering you can best understand how each channel is performing and what you can do to optimize it. Also, if a channel is not performing well, you can know to improve it.
4. Customer Segmentation
A consistent customer services approach using the omnichannel strategy is largely dependent on segmenting customers and been able to connect with your them based on where they are presently in their customer’s journey. This way your customers are not just getting random messages but tailored messages that are relevant at any given time. They are various ways you can segmentation can be done. You can segment on criteria such as demographics, loyalty, previous engagement, and more.
5. Customize Customer’s journey
Next, you need to map out your customer’s journey from awareness to purchase. From the moment a prospect interacts with your business, their customer journey begins. That is why you need to properly manage customer’s data. It is with this data you can separate your customer into segments and send them personalized messages. So, at every giving point in time, you know the position of your customer in their journey and can better relate to them. For example, the kind of messages you send to a returning customer would be different from the kind of message you send to a new customer. Every customer is at a stage in their customer journey and you can relate to them accordingly.
A consistent customer service experience is the new normal in modern business. As buying patterns of customers have changed over the years, it will be difficult to achieve this without implementing an omnichannel strategy. In addition, implementing an omnichannel strategy in creating a consistent customer experience is not just about having customer support in different channels. But providing a consistent and contextual experience across the different platforms.