You may have heard the term and wondered what the buzz is all about. Contrary to common belief, “omnichannel” means more than just using ‘every channel’.
Frost and Sullivan describes omnichannel as “seamless and effortless, high-quality customer experiences that occur within and between contact channels”.
Multichannel vs Omnichannel
In the not so distant past, businesses tried to be present on as many channels as possible, so that customers could reach them for sales and support. This includes:
Multichannel Retail: Department Stores released mail order catalogues as far back as the early 1800s – customers could buy in store, or through the mail.
Multichannel Finance: A bank has physical branches, ATMs, phone banking, online banking, mobile APP banking, and a call centre.
Multichannel Communications: Businesses that previously relied on email and phone for enquiries started talking to customers on Facebook, SMS and more.
Each industry has different channels they prioritize, depending on their needs. While being available to customers in their preferred mode of communication is helpful, there are also downsides to multichannel:
- Inconsistent experiences, which can lead to customers dropping out of the purchase journey
- Oversaturation of products and messages, which leads to the customer essentially becoming immune to advertising
- Decentralized data leads to inconsistency, as it tends to be managed by separate teams for each channel
- Quality of service suffered when managing too many different channels
- Customers have to repeat themselves each time they communicate with a business on a different channel
Omnichannel Customer Engagement: immersive, customer-first experiences
Omnichannel is an approach that puts the customer first, for an immersive brand experience on every channel. As such, there are three key elements to omnichannel:
1. A Customer-first Journey
- Omnichannel brings back the human touch with a customer-focused journey
- Every customer experiences a seamless journey beyond purchase, to become a loyal brand advocate with repeat purchases
- Every touchpoint on the customer’s journey with the brand is consistent, including branding, look and feel, and messaging (tone of voice and key terminology being used)
2. Unified/Integrated Technology
- Through the use of technology, all of the channels are integrated into one system to share data, allowing the customer to transition between channels seamlessly on their journey
- The business can interpret and leverage the data as it shares a similar pattern and interface, showing the relationship between different channels
- Personalization for each customer is key – even if communication is automated to push customers along the journey. This includes ads, and any content and messaging – as content that isn’t optimised for the receiver leads to a loss of interest in the brand
Omnichannel communications means putting the customer first to provide hyper personalized experiences – where you can have one conversation with your customer across channels instead of starting again every time.
Should your business adopt an omnichannel strategy?
Converting your business to omnichannel requires the right technology solution – otherwise, you may create a disconnected experience.
Consider this checklist before embarking on your omnichannel strategy:
- Leadership should create a shared vision for the business to align on messaging, content, and the right channels to support it
- Ensure you have strong technical talent in the business to support the transition
- Get buy-in from key stakeholders in support of the changes, and make sure they understand the desired outcomes
- Align sales and other performance incentives with an overall customer experience, rather than specific to any one channel
- Remain agile – listen to feedback to continue improving and fine tuning
Click here to start a demo with us today - and learn more about how CINNOX can make your business the next omnichannel success story!