Customers now have an unprecedented number of ways in which they can interact with a business. They expect nothing less than a perfect experience on each of their interactions with the business. Omnichannel customer experience management ensures that the customer receives the same stellar and seamless experience from the business in every interaction.
Key ingredients of a good customer experience management plan.
According to Frost & Sullivan, Omnichannel is defined as “seamless and effortless, high-quality customer experiences that occur within and between contact channels“.
This is a powerful statement. Let’s dwell a bit on each of these words.
‘Seamless’ – implies that customers can pick up where they left off on one communication channel and continue the experience on another.
‘Effortless’ is when customers do not have to re-start a conversation every time they connect with the business. Customers love it when the agent already knows what they want and is also aware of the discussion that has transpired.
‘High-quality customer experience’ – Customer experiences influence brand perception. When you exceed customer expectations, you create loyal customers. It motivates them to purchase, re-purchase or recommend your business.
‘Contact channels’ are all the possible ways that a customer can interact with the brand or business. This can include multiple devices, digital platforms and direct contact in-store or via phone, website chat or even email.
So what does this all mean? It means this: your customer experience plan needs to be seamless and effortless. It also needs to be available via multiple channels and provide a consistent experience on each one of them.
Why is Omnichannel Experience Management important?
Customers will always have questions. The business is expected to answer these quickly and to their satisfaction and on the channel of their choosing. The faster you answer these questions, the better the experience the customer has.
Here are 5 key reasons why a business cannot ignore to manage its customers’ Omnichannel experience.
- Unified experience – Having an omnichannel focus on managing your customer experience, helps provide a unified experience to the customer. The customer does not think in terms of channels. When a customer reaches out to a business, he/she just uses the most convenient channel at hand. When the device is switched or a call gets disconnected, they expect to start from where they left out irrespective of the channel they were using earlier.
- Less customer frustration = more revenue – Customers should be able to get their questions answered without jumping through hoops. It just makes their experience that much more enjoyable. A happy customer is loyal and a great source of future sales, or upsells and even referrals and increase your revenue.
- Personalized interactions – When you know who is reaching out and for what, your agents are able to provide more personalized attention to your customer. This personalization comes from having a centralized place for tracking all interactions at the customer level.
- Precious feedback – When customers interact with your agents, they are sharing critical information about themselves. In their process of evaluation, they also may tell you what they like and do not like in your products. All this data is gold.
- Improved business performance – Knowledge is power. You can collect a lot of customer behavior information with measurement metrics at each customer touchpoint. This will help you understand your customer needs better. This also helps you to improve your business performance on an ongoing basis.
What is the difference between multi-channel and Omnichannel?
Though the terms ‘multi-channel’ and ‘omnichannel’ are sometimes used interchangeably in case of customer experience, they are not the same. Let’s explain the difference with an example.
Company A allows prospects and customers to reach out to them via email, website chat, phone call, and their social media. They have agents manning each of the channels to manage these interactions. However, there is no exchange of information between the channels. This is a classic example of multi-channel customer experience management.
If the customer starts a website chat on desktop and then moves to a smartphone and initiates a chat via Facebook messenger – these will be considered 2 separate interactions. There is no way the Facebook messenger chat agent will know about the conversation on the website chat. This can be extremely frustrating for the customer, who may need to narrate the entire story again and again.
Company B, on the other hand, provides all the access touchpoints like company A but maintains a centralized database of all the interactions. All the channels have access to this data. So if the customer, like in the above example, chats and then comes back again on Facebook messenger, they know it’s the same guy. The communication resumes seamlessly. This is what an omnichannel customer experience management looks like.
How to Create an Omnichannel Experience Management Strategy
Today’s consumers have a variety of options when it comes to engaging with your brand. They can physically check the product at your store or can evaluate it online. In the process of determining whether or not the product suits their needs, they can interact with the business in several ways. At each touchpoint, they have an opportunity to ask questions and move further along in their buyer’s journey.
Every business needs to create a solid omnichannel customer experience management strategy to manage their customer interactions. Here are a few easy steps to create a strategy to help you monitor and manage customer experiences better.
- Identify customer touchpoints
The buyer’s journey itself is becoming complex by the day. It is therefore important for a business to identify all the touchpoints that their customers can possibly interact with them.
- Provide a delightful experience
42% of consumers say that they would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience. What is even more interesting is that 52% agree that they would pay more for speedy and efficient customer experience. Provide the type of service that your customers expect.
- Invest in a customer experience management platform
Make sure all your interactions are tracked and stored in a central place. Customer experience platforms like BirdEye allow you to manage all customer feedback in one central dashboard. Communicate with your website visitors, send and receive text messages on their messages, answer questions on the go and even manage the social interactions from Facebook messenger – all from one place.
Challenges of Omnichannel Experience Management
Although the decision to implement an omnichannel customer experience strategy is a no-brainer, it does have some challenges. Here is a list of a few of them.
Challenge #1: Overcoming data Silos.
Traditionally, businesses have channels that are aligned with specific business units. Data is usually collected at the business unit level and then isolated. Management of that data is done individually in the silos, and not across the board. To understand the entire customer journey, every department needs to have access to the data.
Challenge #2: Getting the personalization right
It is important to recognize the person that the business is interacting with. Once you know the identity of the person by matching it with the database, you can understand what their history has been. This will help you provide personalized services to your customers. Problems may occur when information gets lost as the customer move from channel to channel. A professional customer experience platform can help with this.
Challenge #3: Getting humans and technology to work together
You have a great strategy in place, however, your people at each touchpoint may not be trained to use the power they have been handed. In this case, the data might not be useful for everyone in your business.
Be the Best with BirdEye
Create an omnichannel customer experience with BirdEye. BirdEye gives you the tools to collect data on customers through customer surveys and online review monitoring. BirdEye’s award-winning web chat allows you to connect and engage with website visitors and customers.