How To Create Omnichannel Customer Experience - A Guide
August 10, 2022
The modern, digital economy demands that you develop an omnichannel approach to customer service. After all, your startup engages with customers on multiple fronts at once. As such, even a small business needs to connect with the outside world through myriad channels.
However, this comes with challenges. It's up to you to prevent this broad approach from becoming a jumble of confusing interactions. Instead, you need to guide your customers through an integrated journey, creating a true omnichannel customer experience.
In this article, we will explain how creating an omnichannel customer experience can make that process as seamless as possible. Along the way, you'll improve customer satisfaction, boost loyalty, and drive more sales to your business.
What is an omnichannel customer experience?
Companies have long sold through multiple platforms. Ever since the internet hit the mainstream, brick-and-mortar establishments have at least augmented their physical locations with an online presence.
However, having multiple channels in your sales plan doesn't mean you provide a true omnichannel customer experience. The difference comes from the integrated approach.
One aspect of the omnichannel approach centers around its availability on multiple platforms. You want to connect with your customers in any way you can. The goal is to let your clients choose how to approach you — you're available at every entry point they could consider.
As such, you can make connections on various fronts:
- Brick-and-mortar location
- Social media
- Mobile app
However, an omnichannel customer experience involves more than just providing multiple points of contact. Rather, it’s about interweaving these touchpoints into a seamless whole. At the same time, you want to build a closer connection with your customers. With that in mind, here are some other augmentations to consider:
- Personalized Interactions
- Multiple Points of Communication
- Maximize Customer Choice
An omnichannel customer experience involves more than just providing multiple points of contact. Rather, it’s about interweaving these touchpoints into a seamless whole.
What are the benefits of providing an omnichannel customer experience?
Many companies have become famous for their aggressive omnichannel approach. Globe-spanning brands like Disney, Walgreens, and Starbucks receive high praise for their efforts in these areas. But can you keep up with these massive organizations?
Presumably, your small business lacks the budget of massive conglomerates worth hundreds of billions of dollars at their disposal. And this lack of resources can undercut an omnichannel approach, as you attempt to make progress on multiple fronts at once.
This challenge is borne out in the statistics. One study found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of companies cited a lack of resources as the major stumbling block to an omnichannel approach.
However, you don't need a Disney-level offering to bring value to your customers. Even a smaller-scale investment can open up new growth horizons. This feeds a virtuous cycle that can help you develop more elaborate offerings over time.
Here are some of the benefits of omnichannel customer experience:
Better Customer Experience
An omnichannel approach doesn't just involve connecting with customers in multiple directions. You also want to stay connected during each stage of the process. As such, you're not just integrating your approach vertically — you are doing it horizontally as well.
In practical terms, that means your omnichannel efforts will extend from marketing to sales to customer service. This way, you'll deliver the best experience possible at every step along the line.
More Repeat Customers
A better customer experience will bring you an obvious material advantage. Building these strong connections will encourage consumers to come back again. At the same time, the additional engagement also offers more upsell and cross-sale opportunities.
Expanded Client Base
Beyond a better relationship with your current clientele, having an omnichannel approach allows you to appeal to a broader set of potential customers. Interested buyers can find you easier and the multiple points of contact (along with the integration between them) reduces friction during the sales process.
Higher Total Sales
The previous aspects we mentioned combine to achieve one key goal: additional revenue. One study showed that an omnichannel approach can expand the lifetime value of a shopper by 30%. Another data set suggested that strong omnichannel engagement can nearly triple revenue growth — from 3.4% for companies with a weak showing in this area to 9.5% for the true outperformers.
Strong omnichannel engagement can nearly triple revenue growth — from 3.4% for companies with a weak showing in this area to 9.5% for the true outperformers.
Additional Sources of Data
Having multiple entry points into your sales funnel also provides you with an additional windfall. You also have new sources of information. This expanded data will teach you more about your potential customers, letting you fine-tune your methods and optimize your efforts.
Tips for creating an omnichannel customer experience
If you've decided to move ahead with an omnichannel experience, you'll need a plan. Extensive research and careful organization will let you get the most out of your investment. Here are some tips to guide you through the process:
Take a Holistic Approach to Planning
Because an omnichannel customer experience requires the interaction of multiple processes at once, you need to take a top-down approach to planning. Sketch out what you want to accomplish and discover what it will take to achieve those goals. But even as you develop a broad strategy, the details will matter significantly. As your planning continues, you’ll need to dive into the intricacies and make sure each offering fits into the whole.
Learn about Your Audience
Ultimately, customer expectations should direct your efforts. As such, learn as much as you can about what your clients want and need. Gather data and conduct surveys. This information will channel your investments into the areas most likely to make a difference.
Map Customer Journeys
Think about how customers will use your omnichannel options. As part of this, ensure these processes dovetail together. This involves building significant flexibility into the system. It's important to create multiple paths through the customer experience.
After all, an omnichannel approach is about choices. Consider it a "choose your own adventure" for each client. They have the ability to pick the features that best fit their ideal sales process. As part of this, develop cross-device functionality and online-to-store (or store-to-online) possibilities.
Find the Right Tools
Creating a truly integrated omnichannel approach likely means upgrading your tech backbone. You need the tools necessary to give your customers the highest-quality interaction possible at each point along their journeys.
Once you've determined the structure you want for your customer experience, identify your options for delivering those aspects. From there, look for the right partners to maximize the value you provide.
Continually Gather Data and Improve Over Time
Launching an omnichannel customer experience represents just the first step in a long-range process. There are bound to be bugs and stumbling blocks in the 1.0 version of your offerings. Look to pinpoint problem areas and correct them as soon as possible.
From there, invest in incremental improvement over time. Collect data on how customers are responding to your efforts. Use this information to identify the places you can upgrade.
Getting the most out of an omnichannel approach
A frictionless customer journey can improve sales, draw in an expanded audience, and fuel customer retention. In addition, you'll have the information you need to drive further improvements by upgrading your incoming customer data.
Still, capturing these benefits involves more than flipping a switch. An optimized omnichannel customer experience requires detailed planning and a directed investment. Use the information in this article to get started, helping you develop an omnichannel customer experience for your startup or small business.