Throughout history, the businesses that sold the most products were the ones that shouted the loudest. Salespeople would wander the streets, literally shouting their wares. It’s a business model that works. Think of mobile ice cream trucks merrily playing their jingles, and the customers that come running. If only all marketing were that simple.
Companies searching for ways to differentiate themselves are turning to customer experience as a source of competitive advantage. It’s an appealing strategy, especially in markets where products and services lack significant differentiation.
In this article we will look at how the concept of omnichannel marketing is making waves in the field of customer experience. Marketing channels have become much more than part of a supply chain or a way of making sales. They are vehicles for customer satisfaction. Read on to find out how omnichannel marketing can boost your customers’ experience – and your ROI.
From Repetition to Meaningful Integration
Omnichannel marketing is about creating an integrated customer experience. It means integrating and connecting all your brand touchpoints.
The switch from single or multichannel to omnichannel marketing is a significant change. It’s very important to get your team on board. Securing buy-in from every team member is a challenge, especially if they are in separate parts of the country. You’ll need to consider remote team engagement strategies to help your change management program.
Change is rarely easy. Making the change from multichannel to omnichannel is no exception. In this article, we’ll teach you how to meet your KPIs, every time.
What is Omnichannel Customer Experience and Why is it Important?
Customer satisfaction depends on one thing: experience. There are many factors that influence customer experience, and you need to master them all.
It doesn’t matter if your company sells physical products or services. It’s not important if you have a physical location or not. Your customers will measure and rate your company according to their experience of engaging with it. Simple things like a long lead time can have a ripple effect throughout the customer journey.
The idea of studying and focusing on customer experience came about as a function of relationship management. It makes good business sense. Look after your existing customers before you go about attracting more. Relationship management focuses on understanding individual customers and giving them a tailored, personalized experience. Omnichannel marketing is a relationship manager’s dream come true.
Developing an amazing omnichannel customer experience will turn your customers into advocates. They’ll go out and tell people how great you are – and they’ll be more inclined to forgive your mistakes.
Multichannel Marketing 2.0
The problems with multichannel marketing are various. Many firms just repeat the same messages over all their channels with little or no integration. That can be frustrating for customers and businesses alike. If multichannel marketing is like a hub and spoke model, omnichannel is like the rhizome of a mushroom. It’s all interconnected, with every channel in communication with the others.
That means that if a customer talks to you on social media, and follows up through email, they get a single, seamless experience, rather than a few disjointed ones.
Imagine you’ve just bought a new VoIP Phone, but are having issues setting it up. You contact the supplier through social media, provide all your details, and they tell you to get in touch with tech support. You send an email to tech support, containing all the details, and get a reply asking you to book a call. You book a call, and speak to someone on the support team – once again, giving them all the details. Can you imagine how frustrated you’d be?
With omnichannel solutions, everyone you speak to would know about the step before – meaning you don’t need to repeat yourself. That’s way less frustrating – and gives you a much better customer experience.
What Should You Do?
If you’re dedicated to improving your omnichannel customer experience, you’ll need to make a plan, and be systematic. Omnichannel marketing brings with it a host of opportunities for improving your customer experience and boosting your ROI – but you have to do it right.
1. Understand your customers
The first stage, as with relationship management, is to understand your customers. If you’ve been collecting data, you’ll be able to work out which of your customers are the most profitable. Those are the ones to reach out to first.
It’s also worth starting to build customer personas based on this data – who is your ideal marketing? Is it young, single women with an interest in fashion? Or are you aiming at older women working in business, looking for business VoIP solutions? These two groups will have dramatically different expectations. Understanding who your market is will help you figure out where to meet them.
You’ll need to make research an ongoing priority. Then you’ll be able to understand your sales funnels and accurately visualize the customer journey. Once you understand this, you can start making improvements.
2. Look at your processes and touchpoints
The next stage is to map the customer journey. With that done, you can refine your processes and improve your touchpoints. Everytime someone comes into contact with your company, everytime they hear about your brand, that’s a touchpoint. Touchpoints can be owned by the organization or they can belong to third parties.
Touchpoints are like milestones along the customer journey. When someone searches for information about a product, service or company, you want them to find your touchpoints first. Your touchpoints must provide the information they need. If you achieve this, there’ll be no need or desire to go elsewhere. Your competitors simply won’t have a chance.
Remember that touchpoints can occur after a purchase has been made too. They might reach out for technical assistance, leave an online review, or engage with your social media. If you want to improve your customer experience, you need to factor this in.
A key part of step is communication between your team. No one individual has all the information. Remember: omnichannel communication works inside the firm as well as outside. The way you engage with your team is just as important as the way you communicate with your customers. Failure to take this into account is a common mistake in digital transformation.
3. Know what you want to achieve
What level of service do your customers want? Part of your research should be to find this out. You need to understand your customers’ expectations. This will also mean benchmarking your processes against those of your competitors.
Perhaps your competitors are using chatbots. In that case you should know how chatbots work and how to integrate them.Similarly, there is interactive voice response technology or multi-level IVR. It’s not always possible for a human being to be there at the end of a phone, but that doesn’t mean you need to leave customers waiting.
A customer might like to browse in your physical store, but purchase online for convenience. This might be the case for large or bulky items. Or they might like to research products online and then purchase in store. This would give more reassurance when making a high value purchase.
If your goal is to boost conversions, then understanding this can help you choose what tactics to implement: for instance, allowing customers to place home orders in store for the former case, or adding a click and collect option for the latter. You don’t want to apply generic strategies – instead, focus on working out your goals, and then start working specifically towards them.
4. Set standards and put a plan in place
Once you’ve worked out what you want to achieve, the next step is to work out how to get there.
Customer experience occurs on many levels. It ranges from the physical experience of visiting your store, or using your products, through to the experience of using your online spaces. As customers traverse your touchpoints, the experience needs to be seamless. That means having consistent standards in place to ensure all your staff are on the same page.
It’s not just about your employees, however. It’s important to be consistent on a technical level too – make sure any website builders you use have the option to optimize for mobile, and check your website works on multiple devices and browsers.
From here, you’ll want to create a plan. That means figuring out your weak points, and deciding how to improve them. For instance, if you have a really slow response time on Twitter, you might shift dedicated team members to focus on this platform. Or, if you’ve noticed people are seeing ads on Facebook, but aren’t being re-targeted on Instagram, it’s time to look at how your advertising campaigns work.
5. Treat customers as individuals
Perhaps the most important thing of all is to remember that every customer is an individual. Segmentation and targeting are great. But with omnichannel marketing companies can reduce the segment size to one person. It means you have to adopt flexible business practices. You need to bend and sway according to the desires of your customers. You should know what they want before they know themselves. That’s the key to creating an incredible omnichannel customer experience.
Developing an omnichannel marketing strategy will improve every area of your business. It’s about being convenient for your customers. By working on your omnichannel marketing, alongside other things such as improving inventory management, you can elevate your customer experiences to the next level.
If you follow the advice in this article, you’ll get there. Expect an element of trial and error, but don’t give up. Each little improvement you make will improve your ROI. Before you know it your business will be offering great experiences as well as great products.