Empowering Your Customers: Creating a Personalized Omnichannel Experience
Meeting consumers where they are, with the right message at the right time, is the goal of successful businesses. Companies must deliver a seamless and consistent omnichannel experience across physical and digital channels to meet customer expectations at each touchpoint.
What is an Omnichannel Experience?
An omnichannel experience is a seamless and unified customer experience that integrates communication across all online and offline channels.
While a multichannel experience focuses on providing customers with multiple channels, omnichannel takes this concept further and creates a unified and connected experience across all channels.
Using data from previous interactions, companies can tailor their customer service and communication to individual customer needs and develop deeper customer relationships that make customers feel more understood, valued, and appreciated. Therefore, allowing for continuity and a consistent and personalized customer experience extending to marketing, sales, and operations across all channels, devices, and contact points.
For a retailer, a contact point connects online and offline channels. For instance, a customer can select items online to be added to the cart, then go to the nearest shop to check the clothes which have already been prepared. The selected items are then automatically billed and delivered to the doorsteps of the customer. Whether the customer purchases items in-store or online, both online and offline purchasing data should be leveraged to create a personalized online shopping experience where the layout of the e-com platform should be customized based on the available data about the customer. (Products, offers, payment preferences, language, etc.)
With the right strategy, enabling governance, and a technology stack, companies can design and offer a truly connected experience.
Governance and Strategy
A governing framework ensures collaboration across the organization, processes and procedures are followed, and, most importantly, customer needs are met.
This can only be achieved with accountability, i.e., ensuring all team members know their roles and responsibilities. Train teams to handle customer requests and understand their importance. Establish transparent processes and procedures for responding to customer inquiries and feedback.
A unified approach to handling these requests will help reduce customer confusion and frustration. It also helps ensure everyone involved does their part of meeting customer needs and expectations. Accountability should also include tracking and reporting. This means collecting data around customer interactions, analyzing it, and using the insights to improve the customer experience.
An oversight committee or team that includes business and technology stakeholders should be implemented. Consider combining human asset management, internal communication, development, operations, finance/accounts, and quality assurance teams to form a unified ecosystem of excellence.
The committee would be responsible for setting up policies, procedures, and processes that ensure the smooth operation of the experience. The team should also be responsible for creating a strategy to ensure that all channels are connected, up-to-date, and working together. The strategy will ensure that companies focus on each service journey rather than optimizing individual touchpoints such as voice, chat, or digital.
Service journeys segment customers based on their digital behavior. Customers are usually four digital groups: fully integrated digitally, digitally inclined, digital-only on prompt, and the ones who prefer personal offline contact. An omnichannel service strategy designs a service that caters to each customer segment profile.
Understanding these digital segments will determine the amount of investment and engagement in each channel.
Customer Journey Mapping
Many organizations focus on implementing the latest and most innovative technology, like 3D glasses, interactive screens, and chatbots, neglecting the importance of creating real value for their customers.
To create value for customers, companies should start by looking into their customer journeys and focusing- on making it easy for customers to reach their goals. It should prioritize convenience, reduce friction, and make it simpler for customers to accomplish their desired outcomes.
Make sure customers and employees are designing the journeys together, that is, have ideation sessions with the customers and live test those prototypes.
In addition, make sure to have quantitative research such as customer surveys to understand the customers and get additional preferences and trade-offs about the channels.
Envision how customer journeys will look and develop solutions to keep pace with the change.
Create a central hub for managing your digital campaigns. This is where you will find all the information, resources, ideas, and tools needed to streamline and scale your work and ensure you are using the best possible outcome. Having a centralized database means all your team members know who has access to it, which information, and the latest news.
Technology and Metrics
Buyer journeys are not linear. Prospects will contact your company multiple times before deciding on a purchase. This is why it is essential to integrate your channels with a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
CRMs allow businesses to gain an in-depth knowledge of their customer’s behaviors, likes and dislikes, preferences, and purchase history.
Adopting a comprehensive and integrated tech stack is a core enabler to an omnichannel experience. CRM allows you to maintain all sales-related information—customer data platforms to centralize all customer information across all channels. Marketing clouds customize communication and marketing strategies to meet customers’ needs. It gives the whole team a holistic view of every interaction they have with a customer to enable the proper context for smooth interaction. For example, if a customer starts an order on the website but then decides to complete it via a call, the customer should be able to pick up where they left off with the agent able to access the same information as the customer. There should not be a need to repeat the requirement or details of previous interactions, as all information about the customer should be accessible. Customers must move seamlessly from one channel to another without disrupting service or causing frustration due to inconsistencies and a lack of cohesively capturing relevant data.
CRM should also build automation around channels and store and collect customer data from multiple sources.
Implementing a system to track performance metrics and analytics on how the omnichannel experience performs is vital. This can include monitoring customer satisfaction scores, clickstream data, time spent using the experience, overall usage rates, and other relevant data points. Tracking these metrics enables businesses to understand better where improvements need to be made to maximize the value of their omnichannel experience. The CRM should be able to either measure and monitor that data natively or integrate with Voice of Customer and Digital Experience Intelligence platforms.
Empowering customers to have a positive experience should always be at the forefront of any omnichannel strategy. By knowing what customers want and need, businesses can create an environment where customers feel cared for and valued. This encourages loyalty and trust and helps to create an overall positive experience with the brand.
Through proper governance, customer journey mapping, and technology-based solutions, businesses can create connected omnichannel experiences.
About the Author
Karim Daou is an Engagement Manager at New Metrics. He has led various consulting and technology projects covering Customer, Student, Patient, Employee, and Citizen Experience in the region.