Did you know that brands with omnichannel customer engagement retain almost 9 out of 10 of their customers? In contrast, brands without a sound omnichannel strategy are only able to retain 3 out of 10 customers. Modern customer service standards have increased substantially, and consumers are now looking to have seamless cross-channel interactions with their favorite brands.
Businesses worldwide have also understood the importance of omnichannel customer engagement as a core philosophy and have readily embraced it as a part of their business strategies. This blog explores what omnichannel customer engagement entails, how it differs from multichannel approaches and how an omnichannel strategy can benefit your organization.
What is omnichannel customer engagement?
Omnichannel customer engagement refers to the process of providing a consistent and integrated digital customer experience across multiple channels and touchpoints. It connects communication channels such as phone calls, email, live chat, social media and more to create a cohesive customer journey. An omnichannel experience also allows users to choose their preferred communication channel without sacrificing continuity.
While a multichannel strategy engages customers across multiple channels, it differs starkly from an omnichannel strategy-powered business. In the former, brands interact with customers on each channel in a siloed way, without sharing information from/with other channels. On the other hand, omnichannel customer engagement focuses on integrating all channels seamlessly to provide a unified experience.
Through consistent experiences powered by an omnichannel approach, businesses can deliver superior customer service levels that enhance customer satisfaction and boost brand loyalty.
Why is an effective omnichannel strategy important for businesses?
In the past, customer interactions were often limited to a few channels, such as in-person visits, phone calls or email. These channels operated in isolation, resulting in fragmented experiences. Customers had to repeat information, face long wait times and navigate multiple tools. This led to frustration and reduced customer satisfaction.
But in today's digital landscape, customers expect cohesive, convenient interactions across all their active channels, without switching tools. They want the flexibility to engage with businesses through multiple touchpoints, without losing the continuity of conversations.
An effective omnichannel strategy is crucial for businesses to stand out with their user experience and generate positive customer sentiment. By providing a highly personalized cross-channel journey, you can enhance the customer experience while improving your operational efficiency, reducing costs and streamlining processes. All of this happens when your teams are armed with a unified customer view through integrated data and automation.
Now that we know how effective omnichannel engagement is vital for your business, let's delve into how it benefits your customers and you.
Benefits of omnichannel customer engagement
Omnichannel customer engagement offers several key benefits that can significantly impact businesses and their relationships with customers:
Effortless customer communication: Omnichannel engagement ensures customers can easily switch between channels without having to repeat information or start from scratch. Both agents and customers can resume conversations from where they left it during the previous interaction, resulting in a smooth resolution experience that increases customer satisfaction levels.
Personalization at scale: By integrating data from various touchpoints, businesses can gain a comprehensive view of their customers. A 360° view of the customer profile allows for personalized interactions and tailored recommendations based on the customer’s preferences. This kind of personalized care helps with deepening customer connections and drives cross-sells and upsells.
Improved customer retention and loyalty: A consistent and personalized experience throughout the customer journey enhances brand loyalty and encourages repeat business. By meeting customers' needs and preferences across channels, you can create long-term relationships with them and reduce customer churn.
Higher engagement and conversion rates: With the targeted approach on customers' favorite channels, you can enhance the likelihood of conversion as customers are more likely to respond positively to personalized offers and recommendations.
Granular insights and analytics: Omnichannel engagement generates valuable data that can be analyzed to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences and trends. These insights will help your customer service teams understand what they’ve been doing right and the functions that can be optimized to achieve better levels of efficiency.
Implementing an omnichannel strategy might involve hitting some speedbumps that usually leave customer service teams perplexed. In the next section, we’ll have a quick look of some of the common limitations involved with an omnichannel approach.
Challenges of omnichannel customer engagement
Bringing together all your channels and ensuring a connected, continuous experience for your users is not a walk in the park for any brand. Implementing and maintaining a successful omnichannel strategy does comes with its fair share of challenges, some of which we will be exploring below.
1. Channel complexity: Support teams usually find it difficult to maintain presence on multiple communication channels. Without an ample number of dedicated resources, technology integration and trained staff for each channel, maintaining consistent experiences across all your active channels while adapting to the unique functionalities and audience of each can be demanding.
2. Siloed organizational structure: Organizations with departmental silos may struggle to implement a seamless omnichannel strategy. Collaboration and coordination across different teams such as marketing, sales, customer service and IT are crucial for crafting a unified customer experience. Breaking down silos and fostering cross-functional collaboration doesn’t happen overnight.
3. Risk of overdoing personalization: While maintaining a consistent brand image and messaging, businesses must also tailor experiences to individual customer preferences. Striking the right balance between typical responses and personalized interactions can prove to be complicated, and it can take a significant amount of time to achieve that balance.
Learn more: How personalized should marketing be?
4. Limitations with technological infrastructure: implementing the necessary technology infrastructure to support omnichannel engagement can be complex and resource-intensive. Integrating various systems, such as CRM platforms, data analytics tools and communication channels requires careful planning and investment.
5. Evolving customer expectations: customer expectations are continually evolving, driven by emerging technologies and industry trends. Keeping up with these expectations and staying ahead of the competition can be fairly difficult, and businesses must regularly assess and adapt their omnichannel strategies.
With careful planning, you can overcome these daunting challenges and successfully leverage an omnichannel customer engagement strategy. The next section talks in depth about this.
Key strategies for creating an omnichannel customer engagement experience
Now that you’ve decided to analyze your support operations and determine how you can integrate omnichannel engagement into your process, are you still unsure about where you can start? We hear you.
Here are five important pointers you need to keep in mind to create an omnichannel customer engagement strategy that helps deliver the best results:
Remember to always focus on the customer
Place the customer at the center of your omnichannel strategy. Identify their preferred touchpoints and invest more on improving those channels. Understand your ideal customer profile, and tailor your interactions and experiences to meet their needs and deliver personalized, relevant content.
Ensure unified branding and messaging across channels
Have you ever thought how a simple tick mark makes you think of an international footwear brand, or how hearing/reading the catchphrase “I’m lovin’ it” instantly reminds you of a world-renowned fast-food chain? That's the power of good branding and messaging.
Integrate all your channels seamlessly for maximum efficiency
Map your customer journeys so you know how and when customers transition from one channel to the other. Then, integrate the channels so tightly that there are no gaps in the CX. You can implement tools and technologies that enable real-time data synchronization to provide a unified view of the customer.
Empower your staff through training and upskilling
Equip your employees with the necessary skills and tools to deliver exceptional omnichannel customer experiences. Provide comprehensive training on channel-specific interactions, customer empathy and effective communication. Empower staff to make decisions and resolve customer issues independently to ensure quick resolutions.
Ensure a fluid, consistent mobile user experience
With 85% of users wanting a mobile experience that’s on par with a desktop, prioritizing and including mobile users as a part of your UX strategy is more critical than ever. Ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices and consider reviewing all your communication channels for mobile readiness, so that users always have a consistent experience on all your channels irrespective of the device they use.
Are you wondering if any of the famous brands have successfully implemented and reaped the benefits of an omnichannel strategy? Of course, they have. Let's take a look at them.
Examples of brands using omnichannel strategy successfully
Several big brands worldwide have successfully integrated all their channels to power an omnichannel service strategy, delivering a cohesive user experience across the board and unlocking previously unknown capabilities for their business. Here are a few notable examples:
Nike is a prime example of a brand that has embraced omnichannel engagement. They seamlessly connect their physical stores, online platforms and the mobile app to provide a unified customer experience.
Nike's app, for instance, ensures the customer is at its heart right from the get-go. The app collects detailed user preferences right during the onboarding and instantly connects them to the rest of the Nike ecosystem — including the Nike+ Run Club and Nike+ Training Club apps.
An improved user engagement across their apps means that the customers are getting more value out of their products, which in turn promotes brand loyalty and sales. In fact, Nike’s president for direct-to-consumer operations Heidi O’Neill had mentioned that their NikePlus customers were worth three times the value of an average anonymous buyer.
The main app also integrates with its retail stores, allowing customers to reserve products for in-store pickup and receive personalized recommendations based on their preferences and purchase history. By leveraging data insights and offering a consistent experience, this brand has improved customer loyalty and significantly increased its online sales.
Starbucks has excelled in implementing an omnichannel strategy that blends its mobile app, in-store experiences and loyalty program. Customers can order and pay for their drinks ahead of time through the mobile app, ensuring a seamless pickup experience at the nearest Starbucks location.
The app also offers personalized recommendations, tracks rewards and allows customers to reload their digital gift cards. Starbucks has effectively integrated its physical stores with its digital channels, enabling customers to engage with the brand on their terms and driving customer loyalty through a frictionless experience.
Walmart, a global retail giant, has really placed an omnichannel approach at the heart of its operations in place to cater to customer expectations both online and offline. With their extensive real-world presence via thousands of physical stores and an equally impressive online presence, Walmart has successfully integrated their channels together to exceed customer service expectations.
Walmart offers to deliver products ordered online through any of their delivery modes — including home delivery, in-store pickup or curbside pickup. Users can get on their website or mobile app for a highly personalized experience — to look through their product catalog, compare prices of items and even view recommendations based on their purchase history. The retail giant has also introduced features like "Walmart Pay," enabling customers to easily make secure mobile payments in-store.
Inspired enough to get your hands dirty? Read on to know some of best practices you can adopt while implementing an omnichannel customer engagement strategy.
Best practices to adopt omnichannel customer engagement
To effectively adopt omnichannel customer engagement, businesses should consider the following best practices:
Tip 1: Scale channels as your demand increases.
You need ensure your channels can handle an increasing number of interactions as your user base grows. Consider investing in scalable infrastructure and resources to maintain a seamless experience as demand increases.
Tip 2: Self-help tools can be your best friend.
Deploy self-help solutions like FAQs, knowledge bases and chatbots across all your channels. These tools can reduce reliance on agent intervention and enable quicker resolutions, helping you leverage the practicality of self-service across all your customer service channels.
Tip 3: Keep your customer updated in real time.
Irrespective of the channel in use, you need to keep customers informed in real time about the status of their issues/queries. Proactive communication builds trust avoids any unnecessary confusion and enhances the resolution experience.
Studies state that customers are even ready to accept longer resolution times as long as they are kept informed of the progress.
Tip 4: Adopt a unified CXM platform.
Invest in a comprehensive customer experience management (CXM) platform to centralize customer data and ensure consistent interactions across channels. Without a siloed structure and multiple point solutions, you can manage your customer experiences much easier than before and ensure you always keep your customers happy and satisfied.
Implementing a successful omnichannel strategy requires key components such as seamless channel integration, centralized customer data and cross-channel consistency. However, businesses must also navigate challenges, including channel complexity, data integration, organizational silos and ever-evolving customer expectations.
By embracing the power of omnichannel customer engagement, businesses can foster stronger customer relationships and drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. An omnichannel-ready customer experience solution such as Sprinklr can help you deliver seamless customer service experiences across all your active support channels and earn the trust of your customers in no time. Interested to take it on a free spin?