by Sarah-Nicole LeFlore, contributor to Customer Think
It is essential to offer your customers effortless experiences to keep them coming back. An omnichannel approach facilitates this, with seamless movement across touchpoints along the customer journey. We are living in an era where the most loyal of customers are omnichannel themselves, happily interacting with companies via social media, mobile apps, in-person and online regularly. And the more channels they use, the more valuable they are. It is no wonder than an omnichannel approach has become essential to delivering winning CX outcomes for customers in 2021.
What is an omnichannel customer experience?
A single customer journey with a business can comprise interactions across many channels, both online and offline. Rather than a multi-channel approach in which touchpoints can be siloed, a truly omnichannel customer experience is consistent and unified no matter the touchpoint or channel. As a customer moves from email to mobile-app to website to social media, the experience should continue seamlessly. If you send customers coupons in the mail, for example, they should be able to access them easily in a mobile app. CX should feel holistic and entirely streamlined across sales, support, and marketing, and no channel should be considered individually.
What channels should be considered?
Every channel, of course! But it can be easy to neglect in-person experiences when focusing on digital transformation or forget that social media is a core part of how a customer may interact with your brand. The experience across channels should avoid any repetition or silos. Channels to consider include:
- Physical store and in-person contact
- Contact center
- Mobile app
- Social media
What are the benefits of omnichannel CX?
Adopting an omnichannel approach is simply good business. It reduces silos in a company and makes customers happier, and happy customers spend more and are more loyal. A Harvard Business Review survey that 73% of North Americans prefer to shop across multiple online and offline channels – with 20% sticking to store-only, and only 7% staying exclusively online. It enables organizations to have a truly holistic view of the customer experience and their CLV across touchpoints as you can gain consistent feedback and insights across channels.
Plus, BI Intelligence found that customers purchased more frequently when able to engage across multiple channels, spending 10% more online and 4% more in-store, proving that the ROI of omnichannel offerings are really worth it.
Tips for adopting an omnichannel approach to CX
Regularly survey customers
Capturing and monitoring customer feedback to gather, learn and apply your customers’ suggestions to enhance your offering needs to be an integral part of your omnichannel strategy. Ask for feedback at every touchpoint to better understand the customer journey at every stage and on every channel. You will be amazed at what you can find out about your tools if you survey your customers at each touchpoint. When analysing feedback, you may find that different channels return very different results, so you can identify what needs to be improved to deliver better outcomes.
Get personalisation right
Personalization is an essential tool to improve customer loyalty and retention and decrease levels of effort. You should offer personalized interactions at every touchpoint to meet increasingly high customer expectations.
Use personalization to make it easy for customers to access all the information on their history and account details rather than searching through emails and receipts for details they may need. You should have so much data on each customer and their interactions that it should be a no brainer streamline and automate processes so customers can do business with you more efficiently with various degrees of personalized service.
Offer easy self-service options
It can be a lot quicker and more convenient for customers to help themselves instead of speaking to a customer representative. Offering self-service and self-help tools across channels will make it easier for many customers to do business with you. Rather than waiting for a response from an employee, give your customer access to a robust FAQ portal and help guides that educate customers on any query they may have. Another example is that they should be able to check if something is in stock online or in a mobile app, rather than calling or going in person to find out.
Continuously seek to identify gaps
Identifying gaps in the customer experience is not a one time exercise. As your tools and customer behaviors develop and evolve, old problems will disappear, but new ones will almost certainly arise. Make identifying service or data gaps a regular exercise to improve CX and make it more holistic.
Surveying customers, as described above, surveying customers will help facilitate your identification of gaps, but additional research should bolster your approach. Meaningful feedback can also arise in data implied from behaviors, such as pages visited, search history, and spending record.
You should also be gathering feedback from your contact center, live chat and social channels. This will help you better understand how customers interact with your business and improve how you deliver experiences continuously.
Article originally appeared on Customer Think.
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