Four tips to omni-channel success


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Creating seamless omni-channel experiences is a topic that is front of mind for many of our clients, so I thought it would be useful to share a few observations from recent projects. 

It’s easy to get carried away: Big data, cloud computing, mobile apps and social media can build a tailored, more engaging and informed experience for the customer. Done well they can support the development of stronger relationships and build brand advocates. However, just because the functionality is there doesn’t mean that customers will want to complete a multi-step transaction or enquiry across multiple channels. Recent projects consistently highlight the delta between what organisations think customers want versus what they actually want and need.

For example, we recently challenged the assumption that customers discovered new products solely online before visiting a store. Ethnographic research during the project showed that there were key types of customers that liked to research (read play) with new products in-store. The implication was that the store design had to change to allow for discovery led experiences as well as purely transaction experiences.

Once size doesn’t fit all: When leveraging the opportunity of omni-channel, consider that a “very efficient one size fits all factory” is not satisfying the customer. To deliver omni-channel experiences, consider behavioural based customer personas instead of individual channels.  This approach ensures that you ‘get it right first time’ and avoid the development of unnecessary and complex functionality. 

Old principles aren’t obsolete: Customers still expect you to adhere to basic etiquette (good examples of this can be found in ‘Customer is King: How to Exceed Their Expectations’ by Robert Craven). Regardless of interaction channel, customers expect to be recognised, shown respect, and for you to keep your word. Most customers also expect to be supported through important decisions or complex interactions by a human so that they get a sense of whether they trust the organisation. Repeating information or ‘starting again’ when transitioning between channels isn’t an option as the experience will often be less satisfying than what is already available so any process or technology constraints will be brought into sharp focus.

Get employees involved: Experiences are only as good as the people who deliver them. By asking for input from key operational staff, the result is likely to be richer (they are the people interacting with the customers after all) and the staff will want the new experience to be a success. We also recommend that operational staff and executives get involved with the customer research as this ensures that they are aligned with their customers’ needs and wants. This approach will lead to more engaged employees and therefore better customer experiences when new experiences are launched. 

So with careful planning omni-channel can deliver a win-win: richer experience delivered in an agile, cost effective way.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

David Johnson
David is an experienced management and technology consultant specialising in major customer-centred programs of change with a speciality in contact centre transformation and design. He leads our Contact Centre services practice. David has led numerous initiatives that have delivered significant improvements to his client's business results.


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