By Sumeet Sanghani
Just type the word multi- or omni-channel into your search box and you’ll pull up myriad reasons why your company isn’t doing it right – mostly focused on marketing and communications.
Keeping customers engaged across all of the available channels certainly has a lot to do with how and what you say, but when it comes to their loyalty, there is much more to consider.
Here are four of those critical considerations, gleaned from our clients across several industries:
While consumers grow more digital every day, you still have to “mind the store” when it comes to interactions. Consistency across the “phygital space” – both physical and digital platforms – is critical. Customers start their journeys everywhere: at the bank teller, browsing the retail racks, at the checkout or the ticket counter, online and more. You can’t ignore the meaningful experiences that happen in the physical space. Whoever owns the multi-channel strategy in your organization has to consider the physical interactions as much as the digital ones, in order to truly impact the customer journey. A sound multi-channel approach is critical to maintaining trust and loyalty – and spurring growth for your business.
The free movement of customers
This eBook from Xerox presents a six-point plan to help you rethink the customer experience you offer. It will help you avoid the risks, and grasp the opportunities in an omni-channel world.
Don’t lose loyalty in the back office
Omnichannel engagement is typically considered a front-line endeavor – it’s providing one consistent experience from the teller or sales associate to the call center to the online channel. But unless you have processes, data portability and access, and communications strategies that align across different parts of your organization, the trust you build in that front line interaction can rapidly dissipate through the cracks of inconsistent, fragmented and inefficient back office processes. For example, a customer may have a pleasant experience opening a credit card in a kiosk or bank branch store, but if the approval process is slow or inconsistent with that of an online application, and the follow up information delayed or confusing, it can severely erode confidence and loyalty. This lack of a consistent and cohesive experience dilutes the value of the initial interaction as well as the trust in the brand.
Don’t let history repeat itself (unless it’s memorable and positive)
Loyalty in omnichannel is all about history. After the first interaction with your brand, your customers should never repeat their “first time” experience. For you, this is all about data. At every possible point and moment of interaction, you should collect information about the customer, log it, analyze it and make it readily available across all channels, for further insight and action. This has to happen across both inbound and outbound communication points, so you have the right context each time you engage the customer. And there’s a bottom line impact to collecting this data: The more insight you glean about your customers’ preferences and behavior, the more growth and retention opportunities you can pursue with loyal and profitable customers.
As more people bank, shop and research online, they share more perspectives online—about themselves, the products and services they use, and their experiences. You cannot overlook this opportunity for engagement. With so much invested in preserving the customer experience, you must have a strategy for engaging and responding to customers on social media. Some of our clients have invested in a strategy to monitor social channels. Others are going beyond static monitoring to manage client engagement in real or close to real time, and they are able to respond almost immediately to requests, issues and positive (or negative) sentiments, creating more memorable moments of interaction. This is a huge advantage–building trust over those who haven’t yet embraced such strategies.
These four considerations, when executed upon, can drive substantive gains in customer experience, loyalty and profitability, across any and all channels.