Do you remember when the only way to reach out to a company’s customer service is through a hotline? How about being on hold for a long time in the queue before you could speak with a customer service representative? These are times no one wishes to return to ever again!
Thankfully, technological advancements and innovations in communication havehad allowed businesses to transform how they build and nurture relationships with their customers.
Today, customers can choose many ways to get in touch with businesses and get their concerns attended to promptly. All these are possible through an omnichannel CX (customer experience) solution.
What is omnichannel CX (customer experience), and why is it such a big deal lately?
An omnichannel CX solution helps businesses integrate their brand with the lifestyle of their customers. Through this approach, customers can engage with companies seamlessly on any available platform they want when they need to. On the other hand, brands can offer their products/services and support through their customers’ preferred platforms, channels, and devices.
An omnichannel solution gives customers the same brand experience regardless of their chosen channel or device. So, whether they are in your place of business or chatting with tech support, the quality of service they experience remains consistent.
Omnichannel CX provides customers consistent service and support via multiple channels, the top five being voice, social media, email, chat, and SMS.
Done right, omnichannel allows customers seamless, personalized experiences, when and how they want them, across every channel and device. It also helps brands:
- increase sales and marketing reach and impact,
- reinforce brand equity, and
- build better relationships with their customers.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel
Before going any further on omnichannel CX solutions, it’s important to understand the difference between an omnichannel solution and a multichannel approach.
Many businesses often interchange these two, and some would even claim they are already following an omnichannel approach. In reality, what they have is a multichannel system. It’s understandable why they can be confusing, especially if these concepts are new to you.
If you’re using an omnichannel approach, then you also have a multichannel system. But following a multichannel approach doesn’t necessarily mean you are using an omnichannel solution.
The main difference lies in how deeply integrated your CX channels are.
In a multichannel approach, you have various communication channels that your customers can use. This is often the case for most businesses today. They have a website, social media pages, a hotline, and email support. However, these channels are not connected.
Let’s say a customer initially engages with your brand through your e-commerce site but does not check out. Then they reach out to you on Facebook to inquire about a product.
In a multichannel approach, there would be no way for those handling your Facebook account to know that they have an abandoned cart onin your website.
This information may be readily available to your support team with an omnichannel approach. This allows them to probe why the customer had abandoned the cart or help them complete the sale.
Why is Omnichannel Customer Experience Important?
- The use of omnichannel increased from 8% in 2016 to 31% in 2019.
- Customers use three to five channels—and can switch between desktop and mobile channels nearly six times—in a single customer journey.
- Organizations that use AI with omnichannel show a massive 104% improvement in customer ratings, compared to just 37% for AI without omnichannel.
- Among organizations with top metrics in using AI for customer engagement—revenue increase, cost decrease, and rating increases—50% use omnichannel.
Despite its clear impact, relatively few companies use omnichannel. Among those that do, many have responded to the excitement of emerging technology by simply adding more and more channels, with varying degrees of success.
Why? Lack of focus, slow progress, and the costs of implementing a ‘perfect’ omnichannel solution are enormous challenges. Every new channel creates more touchpoints, complicating the customer journey and decreasing the likelihood of the first-contact resolution, especially when some channels are hasty, ad hoc additions.
A critical key is a consolidated approach, on both organizational and individual, pre-engagement levels. For CX to be genuinely omnichannel, instead of merely multichannel:
- All customer interactions must be integrated, with relevant background and historical information available to agents across every interaction and channel.
- Agents must be equipped to move between channels and touchpoints quickly.
71% of customers want a consistent experience across channels – but only 29% get it. While this may seem challenging, it also means that opportunities are still wide open. Omnichannel excellence might be painstaking to achieve—partners with the relevant expertise can undoubtedly smooth out the learning curve—but the results are well worth it.
Top 3 Examples of Omnichannel Customer Experience
Developing an omnichannel approach may seem dauntin, but many companies have succeeded with it and seen vast improvements in their sales and customer retention.
Here are some inspirations to help you set up your omnichannel CX solution.
- Starbucks – Truly one of the most admired omnichannel experiences, Starbucks has stepped up the otherwise standard rewards card with a rewards app. You’d be able to track any changes in your rewards card in real-time across all channels, specifically on the app, through phone, via their website, and in-store. Additionally, you could reload your card using any channel you prefer. An app allows you to offer a seamless mobile experience to your customer.
- Benefit Cosmetics – This make-up brand proved to its customers that they are ready to bring its brand experience to them by launching “brow bars” and beauty drive-thrus. Not only did it make it more convenient for their customers. These campaigns were also fun and IG-worthy!
- Spotify – Spotify’s omnichannel strategy is successful because there is little difference between the actual customer experience and their omnichannel experience. When you have Spotify open on all of their channels ( web app, mobile app, desktop app), all apps sync, so if you’re listening on your mobile phone, your web app and your desktop app will show which song is playing.
Most Common Omnichannel CX Challenges
Omnichannel CX offers many benefits for your business. However, you may find yourself in a pinch without proper planning and execution. Here are some common challenges and solutions when integrating omnichannel CX into your brand strategy.
- Deliver the right message at the right time. It’s important to have a place for all of your customer data to see the customer as a whole and not just pieces of information. When you have the complete picture, you can determine the best way to engage with the customer and the right messages to give to them based on your goals and their needs.
- Provide a personalized experience for each customer. Generic messages and bland interaction wouldn’t get you the desired result. Customers want to be treated as individuals, not just numbers on your sales board. To do this, you must have sufficient information and understanding of your customer’s online and offline behavior and activities.
- Continue engagement outside your place of business. Customer engagement doesn’t end once they step out of your store or office. You can continue engaging with them through various channels, such as your app, email, social media, and website. Find out where they spend most of their time and the type of content they consume.
6 Steps in Creating an Excellent Omnichannel Customer Journey
To develop an omnichannel customer journey, your voice, messaging, positioning statements, and visuals should always be on brand for all channels. Otherwise, there might be a disconnect in how your customers perceive your brand and receive your messages.
With an excellent omnichannel customer journey, your business could increase customer retention, boost customer satisfaction, and have a higher customer lifetime value.
Here’s how you could get started with developing your omnichannel customer journey.
- Create buyer personas. Buyer personas bring your target customers to life. It helps you thoroughly understand their goals, behaviors, motivations, and challenges/
- Map your customer journey. Mapping your customer journey puts you in your customer’s shoes. It helps you understand their buying and decision-making processes. Mapping your customer’s journey also lets you know the messaging you should provide at each stage of their journey so they continue moving forward with your brand.
- Determine your customers’ preferred channels. Knowing your customer’s preferred channels will make it easier to decide which channel or platform you should prioritize.
- Have the right technology and team to handle customer engagement. With the right technology, you could easily create a unified platform for customer data, use automation, and have this information available for your team.
- Consider offering self-service options. Automations such as chatbots empower your customers and are time-efficient.
- Ask for feedback and analyze regularly. Asking for feedback and analyzing data periodically helps you spot gaps in your omnichannel customer journey. It allows you to stay consistent in your messaging and maintain the quality of experience you provide.
Omnichannel CX Solutions by Inspiro
Digitally-empowered customers expect today’s brands to adapt to technology as they have. Create meaningful engagements in whatever channel and platform your customers prefer with Inspiro’s omnichannel CX solutions.
Whether it’s voice, IM, email, or social media, you could easily pick up the conversation where you left off and show your customers everything your brand has to offer.