The corona pandemic has altered the customer journey for many brands, and forced them to rearrange or reinvent their communication channels and procedures--some for the better and some for the worse. Today we reveal five interesting facts about omni-channel customer experience.
- Omni-Channel ≠ Multi-Channel
The difference between omni- and multi-channel is: who or what is the focus? With omni-channel, it is the customer around whom a customer journey is designed; with multi-channel, the focus is on the product. If you have to choose, omni-channel is always the better offering in order to provide customers a choice in how they want to interact with you and even more, you can integrate the customer experience across channels; however, you must thoroughly consider the precise channels that your customers prefer.
- Best Practice? Be Simple and Consistent!
A successful omni-channel strategy delivers a consistent message--on all channels. In addition, the customer journey should be as simple and convenient as possible for every customer. For example, let customers select a time window in which they would like to be contacted - this way you ensure that they have time for a conversation and are not reaching them at an inconvenient time. It is also important to manage customer expectation--that is, creating expectations in such a way that they can be fulfilled.
- Live Chat > Call Center
There's nothing worse for customers than spending several hours on hold in a queue only to be connected to a generic call center that is not part of the brand. This happens often and it’s a real fracture in the customer journey. Our tip: deploy chatbot functionality! With the help of artificial intelligence, a chatbot can answer simple questions--and you choose the terminology and responses that suit your brand. For more complex questions, customers can connect to a live employee or request an appointment for a return call.
- Third-Party Sales: Opportunity and Challenge
Third-party sales outlets such as Amazon offer many companies the chance to reach new markets, but they present a challenge in omni-channel customer journeys. In many cases messaging, prices and product descriptions vary greatly among external dealers or online sales platforms. This can make the customer experience disjointed and frustrating. However, it is not recommended that you avoid selling through third-party channels--you can read in the next point how consistency among channels can be achieved.
- Observe and Develop
For every customer journey within an omni-channel structure, it is important to know every single step and to check it regularly from the customer's point of view. A customer experience assessment and measurement program provides this view--and can map a wide variety of customer scenarios. If you want to go one step further, you can incorporate third-party channels into the program. In this way, you know exactly what the customer is experiencing on each step of the journey--and where. This leaves you in the best position to adapt, improve and develop additional procedures to satisfy the customer if necessary.