The benefits are numerous and include, but are not limited to, revenue growth, increased customer engagement, loyalty, and retention, cost efficiency for your business, and a decrease in customer churn. However, the competitive landscape is constantly changing, and at a fast pace. Nowadays, customers’ expectations are getting more and more refined, their buyer journeys are more and more unpredictable, habits such as device and touch points switching is becoming far more common, and customers’ thrive for personalized content and 1:1 relationship with brands is imposing. In order to keep up with this rapidly changing business environment and to ensure your company attracts new customers while retaining fully satisfied ones, a strategic imperative has to be considered: start implementing an omnichannel marketing approach, rather than relying on less profitable ones, such as multichannel.
Multichannel VS Omnichannel: how to design a cohesive customer experience
Typically, multichannel marketing is based on the assumption that the customers choose the main way to interact with your company, which has the opportunity to engage them, a channel at a time. Specifically, a multichannel approach consists in blending different channels, such as website, social media, emails, and physical stores. Moreover, each channel is managed in isolation, with its own specific strategy, goals, tools, and processes. The main goal is to attain channel efficiency while delivering to your customers a sum of different experiences, each of them arising from the interaction with a given channel at a given time. It is a less integrated approach, which puts at the centre of its strategy your company, aiming to deliver several different experiences based on the channel your customers interact with.
On the other hand, the omnichannel approach focuses on customer centricity, meaning the customer is at the centre of all strategies, goals, and processes. The main goal is to deliver an overall seamless, effortless, and frictionless experience to your customers, across channels and throughout their whole journey. Instead of being channel-based, this approach is shopper-based, and it takes into account all the variables such as device switching, customers’ needs, expectations, and their desires for personalized content.
In order to make the customer experience as easy as possible, no matter how, where, and when a customer wants to be engaged and to interact with your company, you should opt for omnichannel. Investing in an omnichannel approach grants you with fully integrated channels, a single and clear view of the customer, who has to be provided with a cohesive experience, given that customers’ journeys have to follow a unique and memorable flow.
The advantages of omnichannel over multichannel, especially when it comes to delivering top-tier customer experiences, are substantial. Opting for a multichannel approach implies risking not to have a unified and consistent experience designed for your customers, as multichannel underpins a single customer experience for every single channel. The results would be a sum of unrelated and different experiences, whilst omnichannel aims to build a unique overall experience, cohesive across all channels. Intuitively, and as stated by Aristotle: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Therefore, an overall unique, seamless and coherent experience will yield better results, for instance, in terms of customer satisfaction and customer lifetime value, compared to the sum of several unrelated experiences.
Key Omnichannel Solutions
The solutions and advantages provided by adopting an omnichannel approach spread from customer experience and customers’ journey optimization to KPIs results, and to significant improvements in your company competitive stand in the market. Particularly, omnichannel plays a considerable role in impacting on the following:
1. Revenues growth
It is demonstrated that omnichannel customers tend to spend more, and more frequently, both online and offline, compared to multichannel shoppers, and they are most likely to spend more in the future.
2. Higher customer engagement, loyalty, and retention
A seamless and effortless experience on your customer journey affects customers’ emotions, as they feel part of a familiar environment when interacting with your company, and as a consequence, it increases their satisfaction, engagement, loyalty and ultimately retention.
3. Higher reach
Most customers tend to start their purchasing journey on one channel and they finish it on another, frequently switching devices, or completing their final purchase in-store. Providing a consistent experience across channels, delivering cohesive messages, grants your company to reach them, regardless of the device or channel they initially opt for.
4. Better 1:1 personalization
Given that omnichannel approach implies a deep understanding of your customers, of their needs and expectations across their journeys, your company will be able to tailor 1:1 content to be provided on several channels, in a responsive and timely manner, increasing customer personalization.
5. Adaptability to change
Omnichannel is characterized by a constant need for data collection and integration, across channels, devices, and on a regular basis. It means that your company would be secured by a constant data flow, that would support informed decision-making processes, an opportunity to test-out ideas against your customer direct feedbacks, and constantly improving and adapting to change in real time.
Keys towards Omnichannel Integration
First of all, when opting for the omnichannel approach, your company should outline a whole marketing and strategic plan, revolving around the integration imperative. Therefore, your organization should firstly re-think its structure, teams, and culture. Once you have addressed this primary issues, in order to successfully implement the omnichannel approach within your strategy, your company is recommended to consider the following actionable tactics:
1. Walk in your customers’ shoes
Start with analyzing, evaluating, and identifying your current results in terms of customer experience, customer journeys, and buyer personas, in order to find strengths and windows for opportunities;
2. Segment your audience
In order to increase your strategy impact, your customers have to be segmented according to defined criteria based on your customer data, such as demographic and behavioural markers;
3. Develop content and messaging
Refine your content and messaging taking a personalized approach, aligning it with your customers’ journeys, needs, expectations, and habits across channels, to enhance customer experience and optimize conversions;
4. Measure everything
Keep track of the effectiveness of all your channels, through a delineated measurement strategy, in order to have a complete visibility of all the initiatives undertaken and their performances, including customers’ behaviours and feedbacks.
Listen and responds to your customers on their preferred channels and devices
Identify which are the preferred channels and devices and prioritize your efforts accordingly, mainly relying on social monitoring, marketing automation analytics, and customer feedback.
Moving forward: Omnichannel customer support and customer satisfaction surveys
In order to constantly improve and achieve results, to the best of your company’s potential, the main imperative is to make informed decisions, both before and after omnichannel’s implementation. Particularly, once you have adopted and settled an omnichannel approach to your strategy, your company needs to take action and continually test-out its marketing efforts, supported by solid facts and figures. In such a scenario, customer service is considered to be a cornerstone of your business omnichannel success, which impacts on customer retention and their life cycles. A high-quality customer care reinforces brand loyalty, as it impacts on customer experience. Therefore, in order to secure your business with long-lasting positive results, you need to include customer support in your omnichannel strategic outline. Customer service solutions provide your company with analytics that might enable you to improve your internal processes: keeping track of your customer tickets frequency, the most asked questions, their sentiments and overall satisfaction, secure your business with significant and profitable data. Particularly, missing out on the opportunity to gather data through customer satisfaction surveys would mean neglecting significant opportunities to grow.
It is suggested to integrate them and to rely on your customers’ direct suggestions, feedbacks, and opinions, using them alongside the more traditional primary and secondary data. Such a tactic would grant you constant refinement on your customer experiences, configured within an omnichannel environment, supporting your business in being adaptable to change, significantly more proactive in supporting your customers, while increasing timely responsiveness, and ultimately delivering a memorable and distinctive experience to your customers.
In the next issue, we are going to dig for more suggestions and recommendation for improvements in customer engagement when adopting omnichannel tactics, with a particular focus on B2B companies.