Omnichannel Customer Experience: What Is It and Why Is It Important for Your Online Business?
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Omnichannel customer experience is now an essential part of running an online business.
No longer an aspiration or “nice to have”, creating an omnichannel customer experience ensures you reach existing and potential customers at every possible opportunity.
In today’s digital age there are multiple ways for a customer to find and interact with your business and each one of those ways is its own customer touchpoint.
From Google searches to social media, online adverts to video mentions, the ways for people to experience your brand are plentiful and it’s therefore essential that you adopt an omnichannel approach to creating the best possible customer experience.
In this article, you’ll discover exactly what omnichannel customer experience is, why it will benefit your business, and our top tips on how to implement it.
What Is an Omnichannel Customer Experience?
Omnichannel or omni-channel customer experience is when a business builds a relationship with customers on multiple different channels.
This relationship can be at any stage from discovery right through to buying or post-purchase.
Every interaction with a customer in an omnichannel customer experience is seamless and professional, no matter what platform or channel the communication is operating on.
An omnichannel approach to customer experience allows users to begin their journey with your brand on one channel and transition to another one seamlessly.
For example, a customer may be targeted by one of your Facebook ads which leads them to your Facebook page where they contact you about a product. Then they head to your website to continue their journey and purchase the item.
If they have a question about your delivery times after placing an order they may then return back to your Facebook page to contact your support staff.
Throughout this journey, the user will be presented with a cohesive, seamless, professional, and branded experience.
Omnichannel marketing is a similar tactic, whereby brands use multiple platforms to market their business cohesively. Omnichannel customer experience, however, relates to the customer’s journey and relationship with your brand.
It may well start with marketing but also includes things such as customer service, purchasing methods, and abandoned cart recovery.
If you’re serious about building a brand online and attracting customers to your online store then creating an omnichannel customer experience is essential.
Multichannel vs Omnichannel
You might think you’re already operating an omnichannel customer experience as most businesses operate across multiple platforms already.
You may have an online store, a Facebook and Instagram account, and even a brick-and-mortar store for your business. However, do all of these operate to the same strategy and goals? If the answer is no then this is a multichannel approach, not omnichannel.
An omnichannel experience focuses on building a relationship with a customer across multiple platforms where you will have an integrated strategy that encompasses all of the channels you operate.
Each channel is knitted together closely and a customer shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between e.g. liaising with you in person at your brick-and-mortar store or contacting you via your Facebook page.
Unlike a multichannel approach where you view each platform differently, the same brand identity, purpose, and goals run through each channel when you implement an omnichannel customer experience.
Why Use Omnichannel?
Implementing an omnichannel approach has multiple benefits for both your business and your customers including:
Reach a wider audience – Of course, it makes perfect sense that the more channels you operate on, the wider an audience you have the potential to reach. Some customers like to use certain platforms so making sure you’re utilizing as many as possible will help to widen your customer base.
More choice for customers – In today’s digital age customers expect their experience with your brand to be frictionless. They expect to find you on the platforms that they want to use and should they decide to switch to another, you need to keep up and meet them there.
Better customer retention – If a customer is interacting with your brand on multiple channels it suggests a strong relationship, increasing the chance of them making multiple return purchases. If users can see you across multiple channels it will help to keep you in the forefront of their minds when making purchase decisions.
Data collection – Omnichannel customer experiences allow you to collect a rich pool of valuable data that will offer insights into where customers are interacting most with your brand, where they’re encountering problems, and where they’re leaving your brand.
Tips for Implementing an Omnichannel Customer Experience
Now we’ve answered the question, what is omnichannel customer experience? It’s time to think about how you can implement it within your own online brand.
Develop an Omnichannel Strategy
An omnichannel customer experience all comes back to strategy. You need to determine the key goals that will drive your performance across every single platform you use. Remember, to deliver an omnichannel customer experience all of your channels need to be working towards the same goals.
Understand Your Audience
In order for your omnichannel customer experience to be successful, you need to understand your audience, the platforms they use, and what they want from your brand.
Make use of data capture techniques such as audience research, surveys, and social media polls to gain insights into user behavior, desires, and turn-offs.
Research Your Customer Journey
In order to develop an omnichannel strategy, you need to map out the customer lifecycle or journey, identifying which platforms and touchpoints users are hitting. This will also allow you to identify any gaps in your current offering and ensure you encompass every single platform that potential and existing customers are using.
Train Your Customer Service Team
As much as you might want to, unfortunately, you can’t do everything yourself if you want to deliver a great omnichannel customer experience.
You’ll need members of staff who can take ownership of certain platforms or tasks such as running social media accounts, responding to customer live chat requests, or managing online and offline marketing campaigns.
The key to managing multiple team members is good training. Make sure each member of staff knows how important the omnichannel approach is and ensure that everyone is being trained to the same guidelines.
A good idea is to have a set of answers to frequently asked questions and problems that your staff can refer to in order to ensure they are all delivering a cohesive and quality service.
Improve Response Times
We’re all so used to having the world (or at least the world wide web) at our fingertips – even on mobile devices – that slow response times can be one of the most detrimental elements for your business.
Users expect you to respond to them quickly – in fact, most social media users now expect a response from a brand within 60 minutes, so you need to make sure that you’re aiming to keep response times as low as possible.
Remember, to create an omnichannel customer experience response times should be the same across all platforms. Users should be able to contact you via any channel and get a response quickly.
Deliver Seamlessly Across Platforms
The key to delivering an omnichannel customer experience that excels is being seamless. Customers should be able to tell no difference between applications and touchpoints.
From your website and live chat services to your social media channels and even bricks-and-mortar stores, uniforms, and receipts, everything should align seamlessly.
Omnichannel Customer Experience: Summary
So there we have it, everything you need to know about building an exceptional omnichannel customer experience.
If you’re serious about building a successful brand online, boosting your revenue, and building a loyal customer base, creating an omnichannel customer experience is essential.
We know it can seem a little overwhelming to start with but if you remember our top tips you’ll have created an omnichannel experience in no time. Some of the most important things to remember are:
- An omnichannel customer experience ensures every interaction and touchpoint with your customers is seamless no matter what the platform.
- Each platform you use should be working together towards the same goals rather than as an individual touchpoint.
- An omnichannel customer experience leads to better customer retention, more choice for customers, a wider customer base, and valuable data collection.
- Understanding your audience’s journey, improving response times, and training your staff well will all help you to deliver a great omnichannel customer experience.
Now that you’re ready to continue building your brand online, why not check out our article on creating a responsive website next? Or see how to create an immersive shopping experience for your customers.
Don’t forget to let us know in the comments how you get on with creating an omnichannel customer experience!
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