5 Tips For Creating A Better Omni-Channel Experience
Today’s consumer can be difficult to pin down which is why having an Omni-channel strategy in place is important; to provide customers with a cohesive experience regardless of the preferred platform they use to engage you with. Many businesses utilize multiple contact points, from a retail outlet to a website to social media platforms they use to connect with customers, but are all of those platforms working in synergy to provide a great experience for your customers?
Here are our 5 tips for creating a better Omni-channel experience that will help ensure you are delivering a seamless customer experience.
Top 5 Omni-Channel Tips
- Be Where Customers Are – Far too many people try and be everywhere. You can’t be everywhere and you really only need to be where your customers are. Take the time to truly understand your customers, tracking their habits, demographics, tendencies and the like to build profiles of who they are. Use those profiles to craft your strategy with a goal of being in front of them at the right places and times in the buying cycle to offer them a great experience. By letting data drive your strategy you won’t waste time and money in places you don’t need to be and instead can focus more on the places you can and need to connect with your customers.
- Design Consistency – One area that always needs to be consistent across multiple channels is your look and feel which includes logos, colors, design and messaging. A customer should immediately be able to recognize your brand so that they can trust they will have the same (hopefully great) experience no matter what channel they are on. For example, if you have a brick and motor store, the logo, style and color scheme you use in the store should be the same on your website. If you have a mobile website as well as a standard site they should be branded the same. This atmosphere that you have painstakingly crafted needs to then also extend to your social media platforms. On a social platform your voice and the content you utilize needs to reflect your brand and the same experience you want a customer to have in your store or on your website. Consistency means you are being authentic to both your brand and your customers.
- Omni-channel CRM – Just like your design, your customer relationship management (CRM) system needs to span all channels equally and have the same level of service provided by you to the customer regardless of how they want to contact you. Using email, instant messaging, live chat or even the phone should all result in the same level and speed of customer service. If a customer does hop across channels they should still get the same experience and whoever is in charge of providing that experience should have access to any previous contacts with that customer. It can be incredibly frustrating to a consumer to have to repeat information over and over simply because today they called rather than using an online chat option to solve a repetitive problem. Customer service people need a uniform view of a customer and their history which involves utilizing a good CRM system.
- Integrated Buying – A pitfall some businesses face that deal with both online and in-store retail, as well as those who take orders for items across multiple channels, is in providing an integrated buying experience to the customer. Real-time inventory, real-time order history and the ability to order multiple items no matter where they are located are all things your business must have to be successful. If you walk into a store and ask for 4 pairs of jeans and they only have 2 in stock then they should be able to order the other 2 on the spot for the customer as well for a single, simple transaction. Conversely if a customer orders 5 items online and then calls in to order 2 more items to be added to that shipment, you should have the capacity to provide that service to your customers rather than making them pay separate shipping and handling. The focus needs to be on providing the customer with the best experience and not be limited by old, antiquated systems.
- Train Your Employees – Most consumers take the time to research products before they buy. Ideally most customers should not know more about your products than your sales and customer service people. Additionally, if you have great expectations for the customer experiences you want provided you need to take the time to train the people at those points how you want things done. Far too many times management roles out a strategy and drops it on employees without truly taking the time to train and practice. This goes for using software, various scenarios that can and will pop up that the strategy might not cover, and more. Your boots on the ground are an important part of the customer experience and you need to ensure they are properly prepared to execute things confidently with enthusiasm, otherwise you are setting people up to fail. Often this costs extra time and money which is why many businesses don’t do it, figuring employees can figure it out as they go, but that sends the wrong message to your customers.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that a full-fledge Omni-channel strategy is the direction every company should be moving. Of course, depending on how you are currently structured that could be a tall order to completely overhaul your current systems.
With that being said, the ability to provide an amazing experience for the user will be limited until systems are in place that allow you to easily manage the touch points you have with customers. Our 5 tips for creating a better Omni-channel experience are a good starting point for things to look at and add to your current strategy so that you are continually moving towards providing the best experience possible for your customers.