Contributed By Raj Mruthyunjayappa, Managing Director, Talisma Corporation
Businesses today do interact and provide services to customers across channels in the industry. But what matters is the depth and width of services rendered with consistency and swift revert. Digital natives are a big chunk of any customer base and expect quick responses with adequate contextual relevance for any interaction initiated across any channel. In this context, businesses need to engage audiences with the right mix of tools and strategies to ensure that every conversation contributes to the bottom-line.
The challenge for businesses in the channel context
Whether customers receive an email, look at the social account(s), or walk into a retail store and share their details, they will be able to know that they are communicating with the brand. To be seen as a trustworthy brand, businesses need to invest in designs around digital user experience, visual appeal and organisational hierarchy. Barriers such as the siloed approach to channels, inadequate employee training or wrong communication tools can hinder or slow down this approach. A unified approach to an engagement strategy offers engagement consistency and seamless customer service.
Leverage the Omnichannel framework to build profitable relationships
Omnichannel until recently was viewed as a priority of marketing and service departments across enterprises. It’s moved up since in the value chain and has gained acceptability across the enterprise for its ability to deliver on multiple aspects of business success. Data and insights obtained from such a framework can help various departments plan their strategies revolving around customer experience.
Omnichannel has come a long way from its early days where it battled for differentiation from its lesser sophisticated cousin; Multi-channel. While multichannel revolutionised the communication channels available to consumers to interact with a brand, Omnichannel was finding its footing within more strategic C-level conversations at enterprises focussed on building profitability through continuously improving customer experience.
Unlike multichannel, Omnichannel is more demanding of an organisation’s resources. Organisations should venture into an Omnichannel approach only when they are able to look beyond the short term serviceability and ready to invest in building profitable relationships with customers in the long run.
Why Omnichannel is primed for success now more than ever
Digital transformation initiatives at enterprises have seen huge investments being made in big data and analytics to gain valuable insights. One of the key insights from the mountain of customer data is the understanding of market dynamics, and how preferences, timing and offers shape consumer demand and influence the path to purchase.
These insights when integrated with the Omnichannel framework can deliver tremendous value in the following areas:
- Be in complete control of the customer journey (by designing journeys based on insights and predicting behaviour)
- Personalise (help build custom products and offerings based on insights)
- Supports growth initiatives in new markets (apply learnings to accelerate progress)
- Cost optimization (focussed efforts helps reduce acquisition costs and enables upsell/cross-sell)
- Increase lifetime value of the customer
Essentials of an Omnichannel framework
Availability–In a digital world, information is being consumed all the time irrespective of the time and location. This has resulted in customers interacting with their brands throughout the day and expecting an immediate resolution to their problems.
Enterprises have to look at a strategy that leverages different strengths of available channels to meet these expectations. For e.g. enabling a bot to handle first response when agent availability is low and then seamlessly move the conversation to email or phone when the availability is higher. This also helps in resource planning and channel optimisation.
Personalisation – Customers today expect the brand to understand their preferences and respond to them in a unique way, tailored to their needs. Omnichannel can deliver on this expectation when it’s able to talk to other systems designed to gain insights.
This harmony will enable the organisation to predict patterns and design better offerings that enhance the customer experience.
Quality – In an attempt to provide availability and personalisation, the key aspect of quality should never be overlooked. A fast response is not of much help if it’s unable to address the customer issue, forcing him to write multiple times thereafter.
Establishing quality guidelines that continually evolve with customer expectations is the hallmark of an Omnichannel strategy.