“Omnichannel” is a buzzword that’s emerged in recent years to replace “multi-channel” as a way of describing how customers interact with a business.
While multi-channel indicated that there are a number of distinct touchpoints, both physical and digital, that matter to a customer’s experience, omnichannel goes a step further to reflect that customers are using all of these channels and moving fluidly between them as they see fit.
What this means for the enterprise: the customer experience must be optimized to facilitate that mobility by providing the seamless consistency customers have come to expect. Anything short of that is a recipe for dissatisfaction.
Omnichannel as a philosophy also reflects the changing world around us. We’re seeing the rise of the Internet of Things – a world where all our devices, from the cell phone to the car stereo to the refrigerator to the dog’s food dish, are wirelessly interconnected and constantly speaking to each other to best meet our needs, without asking us to jump through any hoops ourselves.
That concept is what’s driving technological innovation today, which is, in turn, driving significant changes in customer experience management.
As technology enables new options like thumbprint identification or person-to-person electronic funds transfer, customers won’t wait around for businesses to catch up – if it can be done, it should have already happened. By the time it does happen, they’re on to the next flashy new thing.
Is this fair? It might not feel that way, but it underscores the importance of staying current, because all it takes is one disruptive innovation to suddenly put you behind the times.
Practice What You Preach
Employing the omnichannel approach from the enterprise point of view gives your leadership a 360-degree view of the customer experience across all touchpoints and channels.
The goal is not to find out which touchpoint matters most, because what matters most is that all touchpoints fit neatly into the same picture. The omnichannel view illuminates the gaps and mismatched pieces to that puzzle.
The ability to understand and have data for each channel empowers the enterprise to integrate and align those channels. Solid data for each channel goes a long way towards identifying the influential behaviors that drive a great customer experience.
For example, there might be plenty of success stories and high scores for on-the-floor personal interactions between customers and employees, and customers then walk out the door satisfied with the experience.
But once out those doors, they don’t bother engaging with the business’s digital platforms because the experience there is clunky and unhelpful, or they opt not to connect with the brand on social media because from what they can see, there’s no obvious incentive or benefit to subscribing.
When even one channel is lagging, the entire experience is affected, which has a direct impact on attrition and revenue.
Of course, designing an optimal omnichannel customer experience is only possible when you have the best information at your disposal. You’re only as good as your research.
Omnichannel is a big idea to wrap your head around – and with the wealth of new customer data now available, seasoned experts like the team at CSP are an invaluable resource for bringing everything into alignment. We’re passionate about improving the customer experience. Contact us today to learn more.