If you’ve never heard of the term “omnichannel,” it’s time you sat down and realized it. It is one of the trends that has been caught on the radar of large companies such as Salesforce and Zendesk, becoming part of the decks of consultants such as McKinsey and being practiced by social channels such as Twitter.
The reason behind omnichannel engagement comes from the sheer number and types of devices and channels available for customers to reach and engage with brands and businesses. When these channels are available, customers expect companies to meet their commitment to those channels by engaging with them extensively on them, no matter what the causes.
Read on to learn more about what omnichannel engagement is all about, why it matters to you, and how you can capitalize on it to improve customer satisfaction and employee happiness.
1. You are probably doing it wrong
Omnichannel engagement is about providing consistent experiences to customers and stakeholders across the full range of possible media in which they could reach your business.
Interaction with someone in a company is probably one of the most personal and value-creating points of contact for a customer; frustrations or inconsistencies between different channels will potentially turn these touch points into points of dissatisfaction rather than greater customer equity. As such, it is extremely important that you understand each channel your customer contacts you on and how to make it an enjoyable experience every time.
If you think about your own business, what are some of the efforts that have been made to help everyone on your team consistently respond to customers? Have you held training sessions, set priority lists, created a task force, and empowered your team with the right answers?
2. The way businesses are run is changing
It used to be that having a showcase was all you had to attend to. Finally the phone came. And SMS. Then send an email. And now you have all of the above plus everything from Facebook and Twitter, to Google search, WeChat and WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, and new channels that seem to appear every other day, where customers are trying to reach you. Now if you run a business in 1995, you could get away with trying to force your customers to call or email you with their inquiries. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), you are in 2015 and you need to be prepared for this multitude of channels.
Having these channels doesn’t just affect operations and customer service. It also affects your marketing and branding, sales, finances, and HR assignments, among other things. Think about the potential of turning each of these touchpoints into a brand experience for the customer; on how you could increase the sales of your other products based on channels; how do you now need to hire “social media managers” on your team … The impacts are great and you should consider them as a whole when evaluating how your business is going to prosper in this age.
3. It’s about value, but not just about profit.
When we talk about engagement, it’s not necessarily just about sales. Sales for your business can only come when you provide enough value to customers. In Marketing 101, you may have heard of the 4Ps – your product, place, and promotion elements need to be in place and provide value before you can even think about price and how to regain value as a business from customers. .
For many companies, omnichannel engagement may well be built into product (for example, you have an app on your phone, tablet, and site), distribution (you try to sell across multiple channels like social media and other retail outlet stores). e-commerce) and promotions. (spread your ad in online and offline media). Now, it’s even more critical that you have all of these channels on hand because your customers are likely to peruse you across multiple channels before finally deciding to choose you.
So if you think about it, unless you’re offering enough value that people want to pay you for it, you can’t just push for profit anymore, because people will find out. And while you’re there, you better provide great customer service and support, because since you can sell them on those channels, you better be willing to help them there, too.
4. Emerging trends in chat, wearable devices, and the IoT are affecting you
The buzzwords of our time are probably all at the point you just read above (apart from artificial intelligence, a topic for another day). However, they are trends for a reason, and you should be aware of them as they move towards more mature consumer-ready technologies.
Chat is already ubiquitous among consumers, following the trend for mobile devices. You are most likely reading this on a mobile device while chatting with your friends in one of the nine chat apps on your phone. Since chat apps are the most used and most engaging apps in customers’ lives, prepare to engage them where they already live. In countries like China, where channels like WeChat and QQ are prevalent among voice consumers, businesses need to stay on those channels to handle sales and service inquiries around the clock. If you look at e-commerce players like Qoo10 and Taobao, you will also find that chat has become indispensable in the transaction process.
Wearables, popularized by watches like the Apple Watch and Pebble, as well as fitness trackers like FitBit, are also becoming a part of everyday consumer life. Notifications and interactions have become even more personal and private, which means you can be closer to the customer or move away from their digital life. IoT (short for Internet of Things) follows as connected devices (many that are tied to interfaces on wearable devices and mobile devices) that can also send you configuration logs and help messages, which you then need to have an even bigger plan to discover. how exactly to address them and attribute them to a single customer.
5. Your Going Mobile Workforce Should Know
From your team’s point of view, it’s also important to understand that all these new channels and trends can get confusing. With so many more channels to monitor, it will be more chaotic and exhausting to manage. Without the proper training and empowerment, you could let your team simmer in mounting unhappiness as they struggle to deal with new channel responsibilities without centralized repositories of responses or visibility into how others on the team are responding.
The workforce is becoming even more mobile these days, with distributed teams and telecommuting becoming more common over time. Not only could this save travel time, it could increase productivity by reducing interruptions in the day and allowing team members to work when they are at their best. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend also means that teams are now responsible for their own use of phones and other devices, and could herald a true 24/7 connected workforce, which that makes omnichannel and always-on communications even more essential for businesses. .
6. Your customers expect you
The most important thing about being omnichannel is that your customers now expect it from you. As a summary of all the points listed above, we can conclude that because you have all these channels configured and, perhaps, you are already selling through them, you will need to have a certain presence in the service and support to customers in these channels.
Customers don’t see channels as channels themselves, so the experience must be seamless across all of them. When you have a problem, for example, do you think that “Company X’s Twitter” is different from “Company X’s email”? Somewhat unlikely: You would see them as “Company X” and judge them based on their responsiveness, understanding, and consistency when they respond to you.
If you already expect this from the companies you buy from or do business with, you need to understand that your customers expect the same from your business.
7. It is not as difficult as you think
All of these demands and trends may seem overwhelming, but recognize that they are a part of your life, too. You can talk to different people on different platforms and post different updates on different social channels. Treat customers like people – they are human, just like our friends. While lines may blur across channels, this is probably because you should see them as a whole and not just as separate channels.
Omnichannel engagement is simply a way of thinking about your engagement in an ecosystem of channels that support your business strategy and the needs of your customers. By taking the first step in recognizing, detailing, and understanding the big picture of all these channels together, you can strategize what needs to be done to move your business forward today.