A customer’s journey within an organization involves a lot more touch points today than it did five to seven years ago. Unlike earlier, customers can contact a company through various channels today – mobile, call, chat, emails, etc. They choose the medium they are most comfortable with. The challenge today is not only to be present in these channels but provide consistently the best,integrated customer experience through all the channels.
The importance of customer service is further emphasised in a report by Aberdeen:
“Companies that provide a consistent service quality across multiple channels retain 89% of their customers, whereas companies that do not provide a consistent quality are only able to retain 33%.”
Difference between Multi-channel and Omnichannel
We have seen people using these terms interchangeably. By definition, “Omni” means all and “Multi” means many. Multi-channel contact centers are usually able to provide information across more than two channels. Whereas, omni channel contact centers provide information across a lot more channels. In addition to that, all the channels are integrated and same, consistent message is relayed through them. According to Hubspot, all omnichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omni-channel.
“The synergetic management of the numerous available channels and customer touch points, in such a way that the customer experience across channels and the performance over channels is optimized” (Verhoef, Kannan, and Inman 2015, p. 176)
Today’s customers start their journey from anywhere and anytime. They are not limited to any particular medium. The organizations can not have the channels work in silos, they need to integrate them to provide high levels of customer experience. Thus, omnichannel customer experience management has become the new reality of today’s business scenario.
So, how can an organization reap the benefits of an omnichannel strategy? Let us look at some steps to implement an Omni channel strategy.
#1. Create Buyer Persona
Organizations need to create customer identities. These identities will help in understanding of the customer. For example, what pleases or displeases them. It’s like getting into the shoes of the customer. Thorough knowledge of their customer journey will provide insight into their buying behaviour, communication channel preferences, buying frequency, etc.
#2. Have a Customer Centric View
Customers’ awareness has increased by manifolds in the recent times. They have become a lot more demanding as well. Organizations have to acknowledge this reality and adopt a different approach – start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around. Having customers at the focal point will put across the message of a customer centric culture throughout the organization.
#3. Reduce Response Time
Just having various channels of communication is useless if the customer has to wait or repeatedly ask for service. Customers are impatient and do not like to repeat themselves. The real success is when, irrespective of the channel of communication, the query is resolved at the earliest.
#4. Spreading a Consistent Message
Sending a consistent message across all the channels is critical for the success of omnichannel oriented strategy. Whether the customer reaches out through email, social media or call, they should get a consistent response. For instance, while tracking an order, customer should not get conflicting information about the expected date of delivery from various channels. There should not be any gap or miscommunication amongst the agents and technology, which in turn creates a bad CX. This requires proper training for the agents and integration of sophisticated technology into the system.
#5 Training the Agents
Agents are the voice of an organization. They are usually the first point of contact for the customers. It is important for the organization and employees to be on the same page as far as organizational goals and vision are concerned. One way of doing that is by training the agents. Training will enable the agents to handle tricky situations, difficult customers and acquaint them with various channels of customer support. One should not just run behind the closures. It is more important to give quality CX.
#6 Measure the Performance
A comprehensive measurement strategy should be created with metrics, behavioural tracking and other analytical tools to get insight into customer experience and feedback. An effective omnichannel strategy is the one which does not get overwhelmed by cross channel data. The true testament to its success is in effective data crunching for further analysis. After all, superior CX drives higher revenue and growth for a business. Thus, the KPIs should also be designed in a way to give importance to high quality CX.
#7. Integrate the Data
“Seamless experience” is the measurement of effectiveness of the omnichannel focused strategy. In this last step, we need to interweave all the data and insight that we got through all the channels. When there is inter-communication between the channels, they take cues from one another. These cues help in filling any gaps and enriching the customer experience further.
Empowered with omnichannel integration, organizations today can identify the buyer persona more precisely and provide customized CX. Omnichannel cx in call center is also an example of the success of this strategy even in inside sales. An aligned omnichannel strategy will result in customer retention, brand loyalty, and revenues derived from higher customer lifetime values.
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