In the business world, there is always the newest trendy buzzword headlining every influential blog post – “synergy,” “guru,” “big data,” “viral,” “visionary,” “growth hack,” “innovation,” and a personal favorite, “disruption.”
As technology advances, new words emerge giving new meaning to these innovative pathways. The one that has recently caught my attention is, “omnichannel.”
Customer needs and wants are always changing and adapting. As these needs change, companies are creating new experiences (keyword: experiences) on their platforms to better fit these needs. However, instead of thinking of a different mobile, desktop, tablet, and Apple Watch experience for every scenario possible, businesses should change the way they think about customer engagement to one, universal mindset – Omnichannel Customer Engagement.
What is Omnichannel Customer Engagement?
You’ve probably seen omnichannel spelled as omnichannel, omnichannel, or omnichannel (that’s how Word spells it), but no matter how you spell it, omnichannel simply means that customers are experiencing a cohesive shopping experience from your website to their phone, to your customer service phone line, and to your storefront. Every message on every platform is consistent and seamless.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Customer Engagement
Every omnichannel and multichannel strategy will include multiple channels that your customers interact with. However, what makes an omnichannel experience distinct is that the depth of the integration is deeper than a singular multichannel approach.
Omnichannel customer engagement strategies account for each platform that your customer uses and makes sure the brand, messaging, and experience is uniform from platform to platform. This strategy provides an integrated experience that feels flawless from platform to platform.
A multichannel approach is a method that uses multiple channels (email, app, web, social media, video, etc.) to engage customers. Companies that use this strategy engage their customers through two or more channels but are not fundamentally focused on fulfilling a seamless and uniform message from platform to platform.
Successful Omnichannel Customer Engagements
I urge you to download the Starbucks app to experience a fluid and sound omnichannel strategy.
When you open the app, you automatically get a rewards card that can be used at any Starbucks store. Then, to reload your card, you can easily do so on your computer, mobile phone, or in the store. If your card is changed on one platform it’s changed on every platform.
Service Experience Takeaway
Creating an omnichannel experience for service enterprises can solve many organizational challenges and inefficiencies. For example, if a technician statuses a job, the enterprise and the customer should be informed of this status change through a succinct integrated app that supplies this new information in real-time to all parties involved. Syncing data, insight, and knowledge to know what is going on with any job at any moment in real-time is a competitive advantage for any service enterprise or contractor.
With Sephora’s “My Beauty Bag,” customers can easily manage their “loved” products (essentially their saved items) from any device. Customers can view these items from their phone, tablet, and computer, no matter if they make a change on any of these platforms.
Service Experience Takeaway
An omnichannel strategy can effortlessly connect the warranty company, dispatcher, contractor, and the customer. If a technician takes a photo on the job or adds notes about a specific job (ie. The basement is poorly lit. Bring a flashlight.), it’s automatically synced to all parties involved with the app. Communication is now streamlined, integrated, and more data is captured for better job management.
If you have a hankering for a burrito at any time of the day, you can satisfy that in an instant. Chipotle allows customers to satisfy their cravings wherever they are. You can easily place an order online for pick-up and use the app to order in store and on-the-go. This communication is seamless, and the brand messaging is consistent from platform to platform.
Service Experience Takeaway
Scheduling is always a pain with the back and forth phone calls. With an omnichannel strategy, service enterprises can send requests via SMS asking for the homeowner to select three times that best work for them for the contractor to come fix their sink, shower, garage, pool etc. This way the dispatcher can then match one of the homeowner’s available times with the best-qualified contractor that is available to work. In fact, omnichannel strategies have been so successful that they’ve dramatically reduced phone calls by 52%. Learn how.
Omnichannel in the Service Industry
The important aspect of an omnichannel strategy is that unlike a multichannel strategy, omnichannel extends beyond a brand’s universe and appeals to the experiences that customers have.
Being omniscient means perceiving and understanding everything. The best way for your customers to perceive and understand all is to allow them to own their data and control their experience, then give them the ability to use it to guide creation and context of every future experience with your service enterprise.
Service Experience for the Service Enterprise
Service enterprises are quickly leveraging omnichannel experiences through service experience platforms to better serve the modern-day customer and create experiences that better fit a customer’s expectations. Service experience allows service enterprises to vastly improve the efficiency of their customer communication with technologies that allow them to send:
- Smart notifications
- “On my way” status notifications
- SMS and email communications