WHAT IS AN OMNI-CHANNEL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?
Omni-channel Customer Experience is a relatively new term and many people confuse multi-channel and omni-channel. Multi-channel means many or multiple but there isn’t necessarily a correlation between the experience, design and messaging. Whereas omni-channel means there’s a seamless experience, design and messaging throughout every channel. In essence, it’s offering a multi-channel customer experience but doing it well.
An omni-channel experience provides smooth and consistent customer journey across all channels and every customer touch-point. So it doesn’t matter if a customer engages with you on social media, on your website, visits you in-store or on-site. The messaging, tone of voice, design, branding, customer journey, ordering process and experience should be seamless.
MULTI OR OMNI CHANNEL EXPERIENCES
Most companies offer a multi-channel experience. A physical presence, website, TripAdvisor listing, review sites entry, blog and social media pages; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. All of these are used to engage with customers, but most companies don’t have aligned messaging or a unified experience from one channel to another.
An omni-channel experience is seamless from one channel to another. All messages, designs, the user experience and customer journey is consistent, personalised and flows to create an excellent customer experience.
You can have a well-designed responsive website, amazing events, beautiful stores and engaging social media campaigns. If they’re not integrated and don’t work together, it’s not an omni-channel experience.
COMPANIES WHICH DO IT WELL
It’s difficult to find companies who truly offer an omni-channel customer experience. You think you’ve found one, start running through all of ways you interact with them; great responsive website, user-friendly app, good experience in-store (all consistent), then you try to book a service appointment and it’s a dreadful experience.
Then John Lewis came to mind, quality department stores well-known in the UK. You can go into any of their stores, on their website or mobile app to research or order products, visit a social channel and you get an excellent, consistent experience. It doesn’t matter which channel, they try to make everything easy for you. Their app allows you access reward vouchers, scan product bar codes in-store to view product information and reviews making your shopping experience easier.
You need to create objectives for your omni-channel strategy and engage with each department who need to be involved to make your initiative a success. You’ll need to communicate the goals and get buy in from the relevant teams. When everyone understands your aspirations, they’ll need to develop their own strategy which will feed into the overall omni-channel experience.
Depending on your organisation you should include the following teams.
- Customer Experience
- Research & Development
- Customer Service
CLEAR SOURCE OF INFORMATION
To deliver your customers with a great experience, you need to ensure you provide your employees with a clear and consistent view of customer data. Your marketing tools, VoC system, CRM, POS and BI platform should all be integrated so you have a coherent view of your business, and employees don’t have to search for information or worry about which system is the most accurate.
Ideally you’ll have one central platform which collects and manages all customer communications. No matter which channel a customer enquiries from, they get a timely and consistent response. This also makes it easier for your teams to see the history of each customer.
The Voice of the Customer should also be part of your omni-channel strategy. Enable customers to easily provide feedback in every channel with online surveys, in-the-moment onsite survey kiosks and in-app mobile surveys.
Your surveys should also use your branding, tone of voice and imagery, providing the same integrated feel as other channels. By listening to your customers you’ll also learn how to improve their experience to keep them satisfied and develop a loyal customer base.
Creating an omni-channel customer experience strategy can’t be the responsibility of one person. You need the entire senior team to be engaged, understand your objectives and to sell it to each of their teams.
If you’re looking into omni-channel experience, hopefully you already have a Customer Experience team and can give them over-all responsibility. The CX team should be the source of all knowledge, with other teams going to them for advice and sign-off.
As this is a relatively new concept you don’t have to be perfect immediately, just making a start will put you ahead of most of your competitors.
Get in touch to see how Avius can help you create an omni-channel customer experience.
By Caroline Hawksworth