Today’s digitally advanced consumers ultimately desire a seamless customer experience.
In order to achieve this, brands need to create an omnichannel experience that incorporates the right combination of knowledge acquired through analytics, helpdesk, CRM, customer service insights and other such tools. With a well-crafted and executed cross-channel strategy, companies are given more personalized marketing campaigns, improved website shopping journeys and better communication with their customers. The key to full success with this approach lies in ensuring consistency throughout every channel.
The difference between ‘omnichannel’ and ‘multi-channel’
Though it may seem that omnichannel is simply an extension of multi-channel, these strategies are in fact, two distinct retail models.
Multi-channel is a customer experience in which one or more different contact points are used by customers throughout their buying journey, to engage with a brand – for example, physical shopfronts, smartphones, emails etc. Using a multi-channel strategy, retailers adopt as many channels as possible but manage them separately.
Omnichannel is a step up from multi-channel. It’s a customer experience offered across all of a company’s channels, but in this case, each channel is deployed in connection with all others and every channel is complementary to all others throughout the different stages of the customer journey. In other words, instead of each channel being managed separately, as defined in the multi-channel approach, omnichannel synchronizes existing channels, using one central data system. The result is a smooth shopping experience for consumers because the boundaries are blurred among channels.
The difference between having a multi-channel or omnichannel strategy really comes down to a company’s approach to its different platforms. A multi-channel strategy is focused on maximizing the performance of each one (physical, phone, internet etc) performing as its own entity. However, a omnichannel strategy looks at customers engaging with their brand in multiple ways across diverse platforms and aims to ensure a consistent experience across all of them. They aim to give the customer the same experience no matter where they are accessing the brand from.
What makes a good omnichannel experience?
At the end of the day, a good omnichannel experience boils down to consistency. The customer journey today is spreading across channels and devices and the purpose of omnichannel is to deliver an integrated customer experience – so, broken down into elements, it allows users to consume (shop, communicate, research) brands and enjoy the same standard of experience regardless of the device, platform or communication channel employed.
An organization using either multi-channel or omnichannel communication will have many ways to communicate with customers, and some are inevitably more efficient. Brands that fail to provide a great user experience within all of their platforms, regardless of their perceived effect on brand consumption, are destined to lose customers. Take a business Facebook page for example. If your social media manager is not responsive, which means your Facebook communication is different to that of your other channels, you are not providing a seamless omnichannel experience for your users, and some customers will leave.
Maintaining consistency in an extensive omnichannel strategy
Every organization has its own existing workflow system and not all streams will necessarily be working together already. This creates confusion and complexity, so it is worth bringing in the additional budget to optimize or integrate the existing system.
There needs to be strong cross-team collaboration and unification. It is a must that your company is agile. Many companies still don’t understand the importance of agility, and it is their main roadblock in developing a successful omnichannel strategy. None of your departments should operate independently of each other – marketing, sales, customer experience and others, should all work as one, with clear expectations and communication between teams. The responsibility for the customer experience will then be dispersed among more departments and each team will know precisely what their role is in relation to the other departments involved in the omnichannel process.
Soprano Design assists in the creation of more consistent and easily-implementable omnichannel experiences
Soprano is a leader in transformation initiatives. We provide digital solutions that span all industries, leveraging our true enterprise-grade messaging applications to deliver improved customer and employee engagement and drive growth and productivity for organizations.
Soprano automates workflows and processes, and each point of automation introduces a potential opportunity to communicate information to another. Our omni-channel platform can be integrated as a core element of a digital transformation technology stack and can help relay critical information to the right individuals or systems at each point of automation. Furthermore, Soprano’s solutions are economical and avoid the need for expensive additional hardware.
Some of our solutions include: Self-service API administration, Customizable preferences, Configurable API attributes, Access control & security, Near real-time monitoring, Archival of all messaging activity, Auditing & custom reports.
Omnichannel consistency is absolutely essential in modern design and development. A omnichannel strategy is a holistic communication and sales strategy that must offer an integrated customer experience – it is so important to ensure that the quality of experience offered through every channel is the same.
What has been your greatest challenge when implementing a omnichannel marketing strategy and how did you overcome this?