Omnichannel is a relatively new buzzword in the retail sector; but it packs a sting for those who ignore it. Customers of today value the ability to be in constant contact with a company through multiple avenues at the same time. It also stands for the customers to be able to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the conversation on another.
With seamless integration and proper management of channels, brands stay at the head of the curve. You too should surf with this new omnichannel wave and not drown in the challenge it presents.
According to Information Age, an average wait of five minutes and 54 seconds is all it takes for customers to leave the store and try their luck elsewhere. Of those, more than half are likely to never return because of their bad queuing experience, believing that the store will always lack a high quality customer service. If your business can catch these unsatisfied customers before leaving, you win. Omnichannel is the tool for you to achieve this. It’s the new basis for maximizing sales and profitability in the retail environment.
What Omnichannel Means
In the omnichannel world, each channel transforms into one access method funneling interactions between the customer and company. Behind the scenes, a large-scale application, embodying the features and functions comprising the desired customer experience, is responsible for delivering the right response at the right time through the right channel.
Financial Brand’s survey about the definition of omnichannel revealed that 86% of respondents agreed — with 62% agreeing strongly — that omnichannel is about ensuring customers have a consistent experience of the brand irrespective of the channel they use. This was followed by the statement that “omnichannel is about channel integration and seamless customer transition between channels.” Thus, omnichannel can be said to be characterized by:
- Mobility and connectivity
- Social connection
- Cloud and big data usage
- Analytics and automation of processes
- Artificial intelligence and robotics involvement
When put together, these trends represent to the established institutions both a threat and a unique opportunity to redesign their business model in order to deliver demonstrable and sustainable economic value.
Three Tenets of the Omnichannel Promise
There are three main features you should incorporate in your omnichannel strategy. These are:
‘Zero-drop rate’ channel integration: The customer should be able to move between different channels without issues. For example, a previous application process or an agent conversation should be carried on without having to re-enter data.
Optimized cross-channel experience built on individual channel strengths: Each communication channel is different and all channels can’t offer the same functionality or even access the same information. So, customer experience for an individual channel should be tailored to the strengths of that channel. For example, it’s better for a restaurant owner to receive customer feedback instantly through the dashboard which is fast, yet monthly reports should be sent via email which is detailed.
Mutually reinforcing channels: Creative use of digital technologies in physical channels is an essential component. Customers use concurrent channels at the same time, such as looking at an online banking screen while talking to a customer service rep on the phone. This highlights the importance of real time information and consistency of data across channels.
Challenges and Your Answers
There are two basic challenges with omnichannel communication. First, companies have a responsibility to respond: quickly and helpfully. A secondary need that is necessary to achieve true, sustainable omnichannel customer experience is to learn how these channels come together and how a more seamless communication landscape can be created. These two challenges are driven by the question of ease and convenience for both sides.
Here is what you can do; look at all the customer touch points together. A connected experience increases customer loyalty in the long run. It’s also important for you in achieving effortless customer care by identifying and removing inefficiencies in the system.
Bring different data sources together. Put all the data together and develop an omnichannel view to experience the journey of our customers. You can now capture and process the data in real time with the right tools. This will help you make better decisions for your business.
Whilst most major retailers now have a physical and digital presence, they struggle to be unified and innovative. They also fail to create brand integrated experiences. Through developing a strategy for omnichannel communication, the opportunities and challenges can be defined. As Pisano, we can help you improve your omnichannel experience and achieve better commercial benefits with our innovative customer relations management.