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Building a winning customer experience with an omnichannel approach

Missy Heck | Oct 10, 2017 Missy Heck 10/10/17

Innovation is exciting. Constant advancements in technology and research mean there are so many different ways to make an impact on your customers—you can do it online, in-store, on mobile devices, through social media, and more. But turning those touchpoints into a seamless customer experience is easier said than done. To stay ahead of the curve, it’s critical to understand how each of these touchpoints functions, how they work together, and how to listen effectively to what your customers are saying along the way.

Here’s why a highly-integrated approach to customer experience measurement is so important—and how each touchpoint fits into your overall business strategy.


Seamless experiences matter

Creating a seamless experience helps reduce customer frustration, strengthens your brand strategy, and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty—which means a better bottom line. Not only that, but brands across industries continue to increase the ways customers can interact with them—and customers now expect it. The proof is in the numbers: 

  • 73% of consumers use multiple channels during their shopping journey
  • Brands with a focused omnichannel customer engagement strategy retain an average of 89% of their customers, as opposed to 33% for those with a weaker omnichannel approach
  • Maximizing satisfaction across customer journeys has the potential to increase customer satisfaction by 20% and to lift revenue by up to 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%.

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So how do you get started? Understanding each channel can help you learn more about how they apply to your business strategy and how each one strengthens and impacts the others.


In-store isn’t going away—but it’s evolving

The in-store experience is still the predominant customer touchpoint, but so much about the experience is changing. With the rise of online shopping, the in-store experience for many industries has had to shift focus—especially in retail. Your brick-and-mortar locations may serve as the first touchpoint many customers interact with, but more and more are going online first to get a better idea of your brand, products, and services.

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Thinking about your online presence as a separate entity from your brick-and-mortar stores is a major misstep to avoid. To create brand experiences that inspire cross-channel customer loyalty, find ways to:

  • Combine datasets to connect your customers’ actions and information across channels
  • Ensure your brand promise, products, and services hold true across touchpoints
  • Reach out to customers where they want to interact, particularly on mobile

Customers will always value the human experience involved in visiting a physical store. But to position your brand for success, you have to understand how the online experience influences their purchase decisions—and how to deliver an exceptional experience when you win their next visit.


Unsolicited feedback can generate unexpected insights

Allowing your customers to give feedback unprompted can give you insights that weren’t even on your research radar. Most brands accomplish this with a contact center customers can access online or over the phone, so they can reach out directly when they have something to say. And by incorporating surveys into these channels, you can go a step further to ask customers about specific parts of the customer journey your brand is curious about.

Social channels and third party review sites are another invaluable avenue for collecting and acting on unsolicited feedback. Some of these channels may feel like a bit of a wild card in your overall brand experience, since it’s difficult to control what content appears. Rather than thinking about them as out of your hands, it’s in your best interest to take the right steps to actively manage them. For instance, be sure to:

  • Have systems in place for monitoring the public-facing reviews customers post
  • Establish clear responsibilities when it comes to following up with customers
  • Use alerting and text analytics technology to stay ahead of potential issues

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Unsolicited feedback can give you insights into every aspect of the customer journey—from channel-specific shortcomings to the effects one touchpoint might have on another.


Bottom line

There are countless ways to use each of these channels to your advantage—but the most powerful thing you can do is use them to build off and improve one another. To learn how SMG helps clients combine datasets, sync up action plans, and build better omnichannel experiences, check out our infographic.

 

Missy Heck
Sr. Manager, Product Marketing