It’s time to take notice of “omnichannel” if you haven’t heard it before. It is a trend that has been noticed by large companies like Zendesk and Salesforce, and it is now being used by social media channels such as Twitter.
Omnichannel engagement is a result of the increasing number and variety of channels and devices that customers have at their disposal to interact with businesses and brands. Customers expect companies to respect their commitment to these channels and engage with them extensively, regardless of the cause.
Continue reading to find out more about omnichannel engagement, its importance to you and how you can use it to increase customer satisfaction and employee happiness.
1. It’s likely that you are doing it wrong
Omnichannel engagement means providing consistent experiences for customers and stakeholders on all possible media they can reach you business through.
The most important and valuable touchpoints for customers are those that occur with a company. However, if there is inconsistency or frustration among different channels, these interactions can lead to customer dissatisfaction rather than higher customer equity. It is important to be able to communicate with your customers on every channel they use.
What are the actions that you have taken to ensure your business responds consistently to customers when you look at it? Did you conduct training sessions, create priority lists, establish a task force and empower your team with the right answers?
2. It is changing the way businesses run
In the past, a storefront was all that was needed to take care of your business. The telephone was eventually invented. Then came SMS. Then email. Now you have all the above, plus WeChat, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram and Snapchat, as well as everything you need to reach customers on these channels. If you are a 1995 business owner, you can force customers to contact you by email or phone. Regardless of how you look at things, you are in 2015 and must be prepared for these many channels.
These channels have a significant impact on customer service and operations. This can have a significant impact on your branding, marketing, and sales. It also has an impact on human resource allocations and finance. Consider how each touchpoint could be transformed into a brand experience for customers; think about how you can upsell other products based upon channels; and how you should now hire “social media managers”. These are huge impacts and you must consider them all when assessing how your company will thrive in this new era.
3. It’s all about value and not profits
Engagement does not always refer to sales. Your company’s sales can only be made if you offer enough value to your customers. You may have read Marketing 101. The 4Ps are Product, Place, Promotion and Price. Without these elements, it is impossible to think about price and get customers to return your company’s value.
Many companies integrate omnichannel engagement into their products. This could include the distribution (e.g., an app on your phone, tablet, and website), promotions (blasting your ads on offline and online media), and distribution (e.g., social and other eCommerce deal shops). It’s more important to have all the channels available because customers are likely to test you on different channels before deciding to purchase you.
If you really think about it, it’s impossible to make a profit unless you offer enough value that people are willing to pay you. People will discover. You should also be able to provide great customer support and service while you are there. Because you can sell them through those channels, it is important that you are willing to help them.
4. It is being impacted by emerging trends in chat, wearables and IoT
These are the buzzwords of today. Artificial intelligence is another topic. These are not trends, but they do have a purpose and you should be aware of them as more mature technologies become consumer-ready.
The mobile trend has made chat ubiquitous among consumers. You are most likely reading this text on your mobile device while you chat with your friends using one of the nine chat applications on your phone. Chat apps are the most popular and highest-engagement apps in customers’ lives. Be prepared to engage them wherever they live. Companies must be available to answer service and sales questions round the clock in countries like China where channels such WeChat or QQ are common. Chat is an integral part of the transaction process, as can be seen by eCommerce players such as Taobao and Qoo10.
Wearables are becoming a part of everyday life, thanks to watches such as Apple Watch and Pebble as well as fitness trackers such as FitBit. You can be more in touch with your customer or distance yourself from their digital lives by interacting and receiving notifications and other communications that are more private and personal. The Internet of Things (or IoT) is a term that refers to connected devices. These connected devices may send you configuration logs or help messages. You will need to have a plan in place to address these messages and assign them to one customer.
5. It is essential that your mobile workforce understands it
It is important that your team understands that new trends and channels can be confusing. It will become more difficult to manage with so many channels to monitor. You could leave your team feeling disillusioned and helpless as they try to manage new channels without the right training or empowerment.
With telecommuting and distributed teams becoming more common, mobile workforces are becoming increasingly mobile. This could save time traveling and increase productivity, as it reduces interruptions throughout the day. It also allows team members to work when they are most productive. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), is a trend that allows teams to take control of their phones. This could lead to a truly connected workforce, which will make it even more important for businesses to have omnichannel, always on communications.
6. Your customers expect it
Being omnichannel is essential because your customers expect it. We can summarize all of the above and conclude that omnichannel means you must be present in all channels and have sold through them.
Channels are not channels to customers. Therefore, the experience must be seamless across all channels. For example, when you have an issue do you see “X Company”‘s Twitter as being different than “X Company”‘s email? It is unlikely that they would be referred to as “X Company”. You will evaluate their responses based on how responsive and comprehensive they are.
This is what you should expect from companies you do business with or buy from.
7. It is not as difficult as you might think.
Although all of these trends and demands may seem daunting, they are part of your daily life. Different people may communicate on different platforms and share different updates on social media. Customers should be treated as friends. Although lines can blur between channels, this is likely because you should see them all as one and not as distinct channels.
Omnichannel engagement simply means that you think about how your engagement across multiple channels supports your business strategy and customer requirements. You can then plan what you need to do to make your business thrive in today’s digital age by taking the first step and recognizing, detailing, and understanding the whole picture of all these channels together.