The traditional customer journey of first discovery, then purchase is now far more complex as consumers are increasingly demanding an omnichannel customer experience that spans both digital and physical touchpoints.
It’s no secret that the customer relationship is more important than ever. Today, consumers expect a seamless and personalized experience across all of their channels, from mobile apps to phone calls. To deliver on this expectation you need an omnichannel customer experience (CX) strategy that drives growth and increases market share.
To compete in this new age of customer expectations, marketers must evolve their strategies to meet the needs of today’s connected customers who now expect seamless experiences across all channels at every stage of the buying process. This means creating a cohesive strategy that seamlessly blends online and offline tactics to drive engagement with individual customers throughout their entire lifecycle – from awareness through advocacy – while also delivering value for your brand.
This blog post and podcast will walk through how to develop your CX strategy and create a strong foundation for future success. We’ll also discuss what makes for successful implementation and some best practices based on our own experiences working with clients across industries.
What is omnichannel customer experience?
This occurs when customers can experience your brand through interactions across numerous channels to provide an integrated and cohesive CX and journey.
Providing a consistent consumer experience requires a seamless journey across all platforms, both online and offline. According to research 9 out of 10 consumers expect an experience that is omnichannel with seamless service across all communication channels.
According to research by Square and Mercury Analytics, entrepreneurs often utilize the following methods to promote their products and services:
- A physical shop (56 percent )
- Use of social platforms (40 percent Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)
- Website (34 percent )
- Markets, pop-up stores, and events (26 percent )
- Amazon (16 percent )
- Other platforms like eBay and Alibaba (22 percent)
Multichannel vs Omnichannel Experience
Multichannel and omnichannel CX involves selling to customers through a variety of channels, including online and offline. The most significant difference between these channels is the experience that clients have when using them.
In addition to a website and social network accounts, a multichannel retailer may have a brick-and-mortar location. These many channels are compartmentalized or segregated from one another. They have little to no interaction with one another.
The majority of organizations employ a variety of channels in their sales process. Having many channels, on the other hand, does not immediately translate into an experience that is omnichannel.
For example, a shopper may come to your website and browse through the things that they are interested in purchasing. After that, the customer comes into your real store to complete the purchase in person. Unfortunately, the staff is unable to locate the product, so they contact customer service, only to discover that the product is not available in-store at this time. Despite your best efforts, the customer departs your store without purchasing anything.
On the other hand, an omnichannel approach integrates numerous channels to provide customers with more simplified customer service and purchasing experiences.
Let’s take for example a prospective consumer who wants to peruse your products, he or she might utilize an app. They may connect with social network posts in order to obtain additional information about certain products or to tag their friends in pictures of things they find interesting.
Once they arrive at the store, a representative will be able to assist them with an iPad and answer any questions they may have regarding the device. Instead of standing in line, people can pay with their mobile phones or ask for assistance from an in-store employee instead.
Customers’ experiences (especially omnichannel) are also great assets in the field of customer service. When a customer phones, your support personnel may get a real-time record of their previous contacts, regardless of which digital channel they used to communicate with them. There is no need to enquire about their previous experiences with the service.
The end result is that both staff and shoppers will have a much easier time navigating the buyer experience. In addition to improving client retention and brand loyalty, it increases the efficiency of customer support representatives.
Customers are more likely to become brand ambassadors when ordering is simple, customer support is easily accessible and efficient, and they have a personalized purchasing experience.
Omnichannel CX vs. Omnichannel Marketing
There is a distinction to be made between omnichannel marketing and omnichannel CX
The first involves communicating with customers across digital and traditional marketing channels that are linked. In other words, it combines all of a company’s communication channels with its customers. This strategy optimizes the consistency of the company’s marketing messaging by utilizing the customers’ viewpoints and interests. The latter combines the qualities of each communication channel to provide a more consistent and successful brand message.
An example would be a customer receiving a promotional SMS offer when shopping in a store or receiving an abandoned cart email when they abandon their purchases online or being retargeted via advertising on Facebook.
An omnichannel experience, on the other hand, includes a multi-channel approach to sales, marketing etc. It necessitates delivering a consistent CX regardless of the channel via which your clients contact your brand.
To create an omnichannel experience, businesses must unify their marketing goals, objectives, messaging, and design across several channels. A company’s marketing, service capabilities, and UX can all be improved by connecting these variables.
It’s also important to remember that –
All omnichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omnichannel.
You can have exceptional mobile marketing, social media campaigns, and website design. But in the absence of them working together in synch, marketing that integrates multiple channels is not possible.
Today’s businesses invest in multi-channel experiences. Facebook, Twitter, and their own website. They use these platforms to interact with their customers. Despite this, most customers still do not have a smooth experience and do not receive consistent messaging across all of these platforms.
Why does omnichannel CX work for businesses
An omnichannel strategy can have a beneficial influence on convenience and conversions. Consider the following statistics.
- According to ClickZ, customers who utilized three or more channels to interact with brands had a 250 percent greater purchasing frequency rate than single-channel users. Customers who used three or more channels also had a 13% higher AOV (average order value) than those who did not.
- According to the Harvard Business Review, customers who used multiple channels were more valuable. They spent 4% more in physical stores and 10% more than online customers who used a single channel.
These figures show that buyers who interacted across several channels were more likely to buy more and make more transactions over time.
In fact, omnichannel customer experience benefits become obvious if you follow the trend of increased investments in this area as the omnichannel customer experience statistics and examples below show.
- A PWC study revealed that firms investing in experiences that are truly omnichannel increased from 20% to over 80%
- Adobe recently discovered that organizations with the greatest omnichannel customer interaction strategy see 10% year-on-year growth, 10% average order value growth, and 25% closure rate growth.
Take IKEA for example. They invest heavily in providing consistent CX in every one of their shops around the globe. They’ve added additional stores, invested in their home delivery network, and released a new app.
Those investments have paid off big! IKEA is currently one of the world’s most beloved corporations, with global revenues exceeding $40 billion.
Tips for building omnichannel CX
Map the customer journey
Segment customers based on their buyer journey and all touchpoints leading up to purchase.
Businesses can improve consumer convenience and increase revenue by detecting and diagnosing stages where customers abandon their journey or become less engaged. It also provides input into a company product roadmap.
Using the appropriate tech
Seamless user experience requires the right technology.
For example, personalized product recommendations like on Amazon are key to encouraging repeat purchases. Both customers and support personnel should be able to contact each other via customer-preferred channels like live chat or mobile apps.
So software that does not need to be downloaded but facilitates the use of chat, video calls, audio calls, and chatbots only makes sense.
Identify the stakeholders
Creating an omnichannel experience takes time. You’ll need to collaborate and work closely with your sales, marketing, customer success, support, and product teams.
These teams will need to be educated on how best to help customers via many channels. So early planning helps to make the transition easier and to identify areas of concern.
To begin you’ll want to start small and then gradually expand experiences over other platforms. You might start by aligning your main channels, then expand to other platforms.
Identify and break down silos
Corporate structures are not immune from siloed operations, where departments operate in a self-contained manner and activities and finances are hidden from everyone except the highest management. This is counterproductive to omnichannel thinking. Breaking down silos is an issue in itself, requiring considerable cultural and process change. But there are certain fast starts, including assembling cross-departmental teams to collaborate on omnichannel initiatives.
You could opt to use branded applications to engage current consumers, assembling a team of developers, UX experts, designers, data specialists, and CX experts. Now that they’ve completed a project successfully, they may help with internal marketing and awareness-raising to encourage cultural change.
Act on feedback and design for users not channels
Acting on your client’s feedback can greatly improve the buyer’s journey. Encourage your clients to rate their experiences. For example, you could use email or mobile apps to send surveys. You may also create a popup where clients can rate their experience and provide feedback.
It’s critical that all marketing and communication channels maintain a smooth consumer experience. To enable a normal channel-hopping user journey, channel teams should openly discuss how their projects fit into a larger ecosystem.
UX experts can help here. Their user testing should include all channels. They can report on a feature’s usability and usefulness, but also on how simple it is to switch between channels, and whether there is any friction or disconnect.
How to build an integrated marketing campaign
To build an experience that is truly omnichannel you need a solid architecture. To that end, you’ll need to collaborate with numerous divisions inside your firm. Consider stakeholders in these areas when creating your own program.
- Customer Success
Once everyone knows and is onboard with the aims and objectives of your omnichannel campaign, you can begin planning your transition to this model. Including these departments early on will make it easier as you try to transition to an omnichannel style of doing things; it’s less of a pain later on when you get people enthused in the beginning.
Finally, your strategy should include a plan to create a cohesive, coordinated experience across many platforms, including any or all of the channels shown in the figure.
Because this is a new emergent concept, there is still an opportunity to start small and grow later. You can take inspiration from many companies that have already built amazing omnichannel user experiences.
How to improve omnichannel customer experiences – 8 essential steps to take
1. Conduct in-depth research in buyer personas
Businesses that do not have a robust customer experience (CX) strategy based on deep customer insights claim that they do not understand their customers. Those who design omnichannel CX programs based on surveys, demographic, and behavioral data, on the other hand, fare far better.
Consider the following statistics:
- According to Mark W Schaeffer 3 to 4 buyer personas usually account for 90%+ of a company’s sales
- Companies who exceed lead and revenue goals are 4 times as likely to use personas for demand generation than those who missed lead and revenue goals.
In other words, customer personas help your organization by portraying distinct groups of your target market. Data-driven research is essential for determining who your target customer is and what motivates them to buy your products and services.
The most important aspect of a persona’s influence is improved customer experiences including more effective marketing and sales.
Here’s how omnichannel integration can help provide a better customer experience:
- Better alignment of value propositions with customer needs
- Increased profit margins by giving your clients what they want.
- A better understanding of buyers, their needs and challenges, and how to solve them
- Shorter sales cycles by deploying your staff around a customer-centric strategy.
2. Get organizational buy-in
Going omnichannel requires leadership buy-in (i.e. support).
To make any change in strategy, leaders from all teams must participate. Included are marketers, salesmen, customer support representatives, and product teams.
We need everyone on the same page since chances are that each of these teams connects with clients in different ways. For example, your support team can favor chat, while marketing and sales may favor emails, social networking platforms, and phone calls.
You must be proactive in eliminating communication gaps across all channels since there are numerous moving elements to the client experience.
The easiest approach to achieve an omnichannel CX is to coordinate seamless transitions across channels and teams.
3. Identify the preferred customer touchpoints
Identifying client touchpoints helps you better understand how customers feel at various stages of the purchase process.
It teaches you what consumers anticipate and how to surpass them to generate “WOW Moments”. You will be better able to offer enhanced client experiences and develop effective marketing strategies after you have discovered important points of connection.
A better omnichannel consumer experience starts with touchpoints.
- Understand your consumers’ favorite touchpoints and be available across all channels for real-time service.
- Provide exceptional service to customers by personalizing your interactions at the specified touchpoints.
4. Plot the journeys your customers take
Omnichannel customer journey mapping is a must for an effective strategy and to discover how to improve the omnichannel CX. Step one is to segment clients based on their purchase phase. This will assist representatives to identify the digital touchpoints and activities to take to gain new customers.
<image – https://www.singlegrain.com/customer-retention/omnichannel-customer-experience/>
Segmenting consumers may also assist detect journey gaps, such as where users leave your site or abandon their baskets. By gaining this data and knowledge, your team can improve their outreach efforts, making the consumer purchase process more natural and appealing.
5. Use the right tools for omnichannel customer engagement
You can’t develop and implement an omnichannel customer strategy without the technologies to support it.
Using technologies like chatbots on your website and the mobile app keeps consumers engaged and conversations flowing. This allows people to contact your company by their preferred method, such as calling instead of emailing.
Personalization is possible with technologies like AI-powered automation software. Like Amazon has been doing for years, a recommendation engine may push shoppers to add more goods to their carts. Netflix performs the same thing with their suggestions based on your viewing history.
Internally, a corporate phone system unifies voice, text, video, and online chat. This gives you a complete picture of rep-to-customer contact. These solutions interact with CRM and help desk software, giving you more detailed client data.
Omni-channel experience design requires the use of help desk tools. So your staff can provide accurate and efficient assistance. Choosing a help desk product is critical because consumers expect better service and support during a pandemic.
6. Analyze customers feedback
Customer feedback may help organizations enhance their customer journeys. Superior service requires being where your consumers are and offering them a simple method to express feedback.
Omnichannel customer service helps companies to connect with customers across all channels and gather feedback. Website, social media, emails, in-app, reviews, etc.
Why omnichannel CX may benefit from an analysis of client feedback
- Use consumer feedback to better understand your customers.
- Plan to gather, evaluate, and act on regular feedback.
- Reduce friction and address consumer concerns
7. Use the right balance of automation & human support
Customers want companies to understand them through clever technology and real and sympathetic human encounters.
Choosing the appropriate strategy requires knowing the benefits and downsides of both live chat and chatbots. The balanced support approach prioritizes tasks. Use chatbots for basic discussions and human help for more complicated ones.
It is important to maintain a balance between the two in order to create a brand differentiator. The balance manifests in understanding whether to pacify an irate client with an apology vs an offer, for example.
8. Measure the gaps of fragmented experience
In order to improve the omnichannel consumer experience, identifying gaps is critical. Better CX is a work in progress, and as customer behaviors change, so should the brand experience.
Previously, delivering customer care via social media was unthinkable. With the help of the whole customer community, it is now one of the key platforms for providing quick support to consumers.
Measuring the gaps helps you understand what your consumers want and how to improve their omnichannel experience.
A data gap across channels forces customers to resort to several sources or channels for the same purpose, wasting time, creating difficulty, and ultimately ruining their experience.
9. Strengthen your customer feedback loops
The feedback you get is designed to operate as a give and take between customers and corporations. Another method to improve the omnichannel CX is to use a feedback loop:
The comments and reviews regarding your platform and service can help you adopt changes faster if you are still employing a multichannel customer experience.
Your staff understands a lot about your product or service, but your consumers know more about everyday use. Listening to their desires and requirements may help you develop your customer service strategy and make their next visit more enjoyable.
Consider utilizing a project management solution to speed up customers feedback cycles. A PM tool can help you organize input from stakeholders. Every time a feedback survey is performed, these stakeholders are assigned tasks and timeframes.
10. Develop effective self-service options for customers
Self-service portals help businesses improve the entire brand experience. Customers want fast solutions to their issues. In fact, reaction speed is the most critical customer experience factor.
Self-service portals give clients quick access to information while saving time and money. 67 percent of clients choose self-service over talking to a salesperson.
Create a content repository with tutorials, manuals, and videos to assist consumers to solve their own problems. Key advantages of self-service portals:
- Use customized information – The self-service portal can keep track of the items and services acquired. You can detect and resolve consumer concerns.
- Positive customer interactions assist build brand reputation.
- Educate consumers – You may help your customers learn new skills and information to solve future problems.
Omnichannel customer experience examples and case studies
Let’s look at a few well-known businesses that have transformed the way we think about omnichannel consumer experiences in the digital age. Companies that we can look to help inform our strategy.
The company has long been regarded as a pioneer in the field of omnichannel CX management. Prior to the widespread use of smartphone applications, you could use their portable rewards card and receive coupons in the mail for free drinks on your birthday, in addition to receiving coupons by direct mail.
The brand has retained a competitive advantage over its competitors since the mobile revolution began. Their omnichannel capabilities are so impressive that they have a whole webpage dedicated to displaying them.
You may register for a free account on their website, and then upload a credit card or a gift card from their shop to complete your purchase. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be able to take advantage of special birthday specials and freebies, as well as other exclusive member-only offers and promotions.
They let you place an order using their mobile app for pick-up in-store or through the drive-thru at your preferred location. You may also order delivery for all of the drinks and food products that Starbucks sells (via a third-party service). You may pay with a portable card, a barcode on your phone’s app, through other linked devices (such as Fitbit), or through their desktop website, which is a wonderful feature. It is possible to have an infinite number of alternatives, giving consumers an experience that is fully omnichannel.
The company does a lot of things right in delivering an experience that is truly omnichannel, starting with their mobile responsive website. A lot of attention has been paid to getting the tiniest details perfect. You don’t see that too frequently.
The My Disney Experience feature can help you organize anything from dining reservations to Fast Passes once you’ve booked. Attractions can be found and predicted wait times may be shown using your smartphone app at the park.
But now, with the Magic Band initiative, the entertainment firm goes one step farther. Your room key, photo storage device for photos with Disney characters, and meal ordering gadget all in one. With Fast Pass integration, your holiday will go quickly.
This brand has elevated the omnichannel customer digital experience to a new level of excellence. They make it as simple as pressing a few buttons to place an order for meals from wherever the client is.
It is simple to order your meal ahead of time, whether it be through their online ordering system or their smartphone application. Order online and select the time your meal will be available to pick up at a grab-and-go station located within the restaurant once it has been prepared for you.
They streamline the ordering process by letting customers create an account that can be accessed from any location and used to place orders at any of their locations. It is possible to store modifications for favorite orders, preferred locations, and dietary preferences on the app, and they will remember your selections even if you choose to purchase through the website instead.
Not only can you order for yourself, but you can also order numerous meals for a group of friends or family members to share. Also available are advance ordering and quick pick-up, as well as delivery in the event that you are unable to pick it up yourself. Their strategy is focused on being omnichannel in order to make the ordering process as easy as possible, and they do so by putting a range of tools at the disposal of their customers.
You can get started with building our own strategy having explored how you can use an omnichannel CX to boost your business growth. We discussed strategies for combining digital and offline channels into one seamless brand that provides customers with a positive UX from start to finish.
The key takeaway is that it’s not enough anymore for businesses to just have a website or app – if they want their customers coming back time after time, then all touchpoints need to be consistent in their message and look-and-feel.
Which channel do you think will see the biggest changes over the next five years?
Listen to the episode
Mark Colgan is an entrepreneur and revenue leader responsible for increasing revenue across a small portfolio of companies where he leverages his 13 years of experience in B2B sales, marketing, and recruitment.
Mark currently splits his time as Co-founder of Speak On Podcasts, mentoring B2B Startups via GrowthMentor and ScaleWise, The Product Onboarders, and coaching 100’s of SDR’s through his Outbound Prospecting course via The Sales Impact Academy.
In this episode, Mark shares his insights around the best ways to create an omnichannel customer experience and how to boost growth with it.
Some topics we discussed include:
- Unique challenges in selling a SaaS solution
- Do you need to first need to identify your metrics or do you need to establish a sales process first
- Is there a space for podcasts in the initial part of the sales process
- What should a business keep in mind when looking at potentially starting up a podcast
- Mark’s thoughts on what the objective behind creating a podcast should be
- How to maximize the discoverability of podcasts
- The best ways to build a strong relationship with a podcast guest
- Why Mark takes issue with how most businesses go about qualifying leads
- A counterintuitive take on establishing ROI for a podcast
- How to discover your customers journey in order to be able to come alongside them
- How to leverage content from non-competing industries
- How Mark understands and derives insights from customer journeys
- Mark’s approach to creating an omnichannel customer experience
- Mark’s approach to referral marketing
- The best way to measure a great customer experience
- and much much more…
Related links and resources
- Check out Speak on Podcasts
- Learn from Wayne Mullins – Evangelism Marketing: What is it And How to Use it to Drive Growth
- Learn from Maddy Martin – How to Create an Engaging Brand Experience That Actually Drives Growth
- Listen to my interview with Sreelesh Pillai – 8+ Ways to Meet Customer Expectations And Exceed Them to Drive Predictable Growth
- Listen to my interviews with Mark Edwards and Neil Cummings – Sustained Competitive Advantage: 9 Simple Elements to Deliver Long Term Business Growth
- Discover more with Sam Shepler – 9 Proven Ways to Create a Successful Customer-Driven Marketing Strategy
- Discover even more with Andrew Tarvin – How to Use Humor in Business Communication to Drive Business Results
- Get even more inspiration with Jonathon Hensley – How to Craft a Powerful Customer Engagement Strategy for Online Brands
Connect with Mark
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