Omnichannel means using and networking different communication and sales channels in an integrated way. Often, however, companies still think in silos, and that 'one' thing, in particular, that suffers the most is the customer experience.
The purpose of an omnichannel customer experience is that the customer can connect to previous interactions at any time and on any channel. But what does that even mean? To answer that, let's take a closer look at an example of an optimal omnichannel experience:
Julia has just moved into her new apartment and is looking for a new sofa. She has a green velvet model in mind, so she types the "green velvet sofa" into the search engine. She finds various offers - thanks to geotargeting - directly from the online retailers who deliver to her location or are nearby. Julia clicks through but doesn't want to decide yet. Thanks to retargeting, however, random sofa ads are now repeatedly popping up on her Facebook over the week. After a few days, she clicks on one of the banners and ends up on an online furniture store. However, she realizes that the sofa is only available in blue. So, she turns to the live chat section, and the customer service representative has good news: In a branch in Julia's city, a model in green is still available. The lady from the customer center reserves the piece of furniture for Julia, and she picks it up a few days later.
In Julia's case, the customer journey worked flawlessly across all channels, but this is by no means the rule because, in many companies, the cooperation between different channels can be expanded. In this case, a variety of things could have gone wrong with Julia's shopping experience:
- Retargeting on Facebook does not link to the website but to a Facebook page where you can't buy anything.
- The live chat employees usually don't have access to stock levels and can, therefore, not give any information on which product is still in stock.
- The sofa reservation is lost between customer service and the furniture store, and when Julia arrives at the furniture store, the last sofa is already gone.
Thus, while many brands believe they already offer an excellent omnichannel experience, few have fully implemented cross-channel synchronization. However, if different departments in the company are not interconnected, this results in a fragmented customer experience. But what can companies do about it?
Responsibilities are inherently cross-related
In many companies, the CEO is the only person who keeps a complete overview. See a single level below him, and you will often find those responsible for retail, online business, marketing, and customer centers. What is missing is a person who connects all these roles. Because if everyone concentrates only on their own channel, the competition within the company can quickly become greater than the idea of cooperation. The same applies to customer experience programs: Instead of measuring the experiences in individual channels, it is better to set up a cross-channel program. But before that's possible, there are a few basic rules to follow:
1. Goodbye, silos!
Ideally, a corporate vision oversees all the channels that every employee and department can identify. The same goes for budgets: instead of negotiating with different departments who pay for the CX program, it makes sense to set aside your own budget.
2. Know the way
Most brands know their customer journeys inside out – even across different channels. Before implementing a CX program, it makes sense to record different customer journeys. Does the journey start on Instagram and lead via the webshop to the stationary store? Or do you first browse through the store and then shop online? Only those who know the options can measure them.
3. Accept and implement feedback
When the CX program delivers initial results and starts uncovering grievances, it's about identifying root causes and finding a solution to fix the problem and improve the customer experience.
4. Reward for the big picture
To ensure good results across all channels, it makes sense to incentivize teams based on omnichannel performance rather than the performance of your own channel. So, everyone sees the big picture and works towards a common goal.