As a business owner, you’re always looking for new ways to improve your customer experience. People expect businesses to provide multiple access points throughout their buying journey, from initial contact to product selection, purchase, and customer support.
In today’s omnichannel world, creating a seamless experience for your customers, no matter how they interact with your brand, is more critical than ever.
Here are five tips to help you deliver an incredible omnichannel customer experience in 2022.
What Does an Omnichannel Customer Experience Look Like Today and Why Is It Important?
An omnichannel customer experience is a process of providing a consistent experience across all available channels of communication. These channels may include some or all of the following:
- Native SMS texting (smartphones) and messaging apps (WhatsApp)
- Telephone (smartphones and VoIP services like Skype and OpenPhone)
- Social media direct messaging (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
- Web (e.g., contact forms)
- Video links (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.)
- Live chat (including chatbots)
- Comment sections (website, social media, YouTube, etc.)
An omnichannel customer experience aims to provide a cohesive journey no matter how customers contact you. Such an experience allows you to build trust and loyalty with your customers and improve your customer retention rate. An omnichannel customer experience is also essential because it will enable you to increase sales and boost customer satisfaction levels.
When done correctly, a well-implemented omnichannel customer experience strategy will give you a major advantage over your competitors.
What Are the Key Features of a Successful Omnichannel Customer Experience?
Here are a few key features that are essential for a successful omnichannel customer experience:
Use of a central platform
First and foremost, you need to have a central platform into which all your channels can be integrated. This platform could include CRM, chat, or a customer service management system.
Without a central platform, it’s hard for you to provide a consistent customer experience across all channels. This will lead to duplication (different teams contacting the customer about the same issue) or missed opportunities (failure to communicate).
Omnichannel employee training
Another important feature of a successful omnichannel customer experience strategy is employee training. Your staff must learn to operate all channels since each requires a different communication protocol.
For example, direct messaging requires employees to address issues with clarity and succinctly, whereas voice and video communications require additional training on social etiquette and rapport building.
You can ensure that every customer interaction is positive by providing employees with the technical and social training they need to be successful on multiple channels.
Customer journey mapping
Finally, you can provide optimized omnichannel customer experiences by using your customer data to create personalized journeys and personas.
By collecting data on customer preferences and behaviors from multiple channels and taking advantage of AI-driven customer journey mapping tools, you can automatically create omnichannel experiences tailored for each customer at scale.
5 Best Tips for a Truly Omnichannel Customer Experience
The five best practices shown below will help you lay a solid foundation as you get started on your path to omnichannel customer communication success:
1. Know your customer
Before investing in omnichannel customer experience software, you need to know your customers inside and out.
For example, there’s no point in investing a lot of time and resources in programming a chatbot solution if your key client base shuns live chatting.
Likewise, don’t spend a lot of money training employees on phone etiquette when your customers are digital natives who prefer messaging apps to phone calls nine out of ten.
2. Train your staff on omnichannel communications
Train your employees on how to use channels correctly. Operating on multiple channels may initially feel overwhelming because it entails many different modalities.
But, with the proper training, you can mitigate potential communication problems by focussing on the strengths and weaknesses of each channel, so your staff always brings a positive experience to your customers.
3. Create personalized customer experiences
Use customer data to craft personalized experiences. By collecting customer data on the way your customers engage with your business, including:
- Their messaging content (SMS, chat, content forms, etc.)
- The trail of web pages they visit regularly
- The content of their email threads
- Their communication analytics
You can use AI-powered tools to develop omnichannel experiences designed specifically for each customer.
4. Take advantage of integration
Make sure all your channels are integrated. To provide a truly omnichannel customer experience, you should integrate all your channels into a central platform that coordinates all communications through a shared database.
Some businesses make the mistake of deploying channels one at a time using platforms that can’t easily talk to each other — they may use one system for live chatting, another for email marketing, and the third for SMS communications.
Operating disparate systems often leads to communication gridlock, frustrated employees, and ultimately, dissatisfied customers.
5. Evaluate and improve
Finally, constantly evaluate and improve your omnichannel customer experience as your business scales.
When your customer base grows, you’ll notice that some channels will become much more expensive to operate while others will become much more efficient.
Keep an eye on your analytics to see which channels lead to the highest conversions while keeping tabs on your cost per channel so you can assess your overall omnichannel ROI. Then, double down on the winners while slowly trimming the losers.
For example, phone support can be helpful when your customer base is small. But when your customers begin to grow exponentially, consider delegating simple tasks to a chatbot coupled with a solid knowledge base while keeping human agents for more complicated tasks.
How Can Businesses Futureproof for Omnichannel Changes that Will Occur Beyond 2022?
As businesses like yours continue to adopt omnichannel strategies, you can expect to see more competition in this arena. But if history is a guide, this competition will lead to even more innovation in customer communications technology. There might be new platforms and apps that make it easier/faster/cheaper for you to provide omnichannel customer experiences.
You may also see more businesses beginning to utilize their customer data to create exceptional personalized omnichannel experiences.
The future of omnichannel customer experience is promising as new technologies will open exciting pathways of communication and customer nurturing not currently possible.
All these will result in ever-higher customer satisfaction and loyalty that will benefit your top and bottom lines.