Consistency is the key to everything. Customer experience is, and should be, at the forefront of any business activity. As businesses focus more on investing in multiple customer communication channels, it’s more important than ever to optimize these fragmented conversations for a single brand voice.
Omnichannel communication is a term we’ve all heard when it comes to creating seamless customer experiences across different mediums.
The best way to start your omnichannel strategy is to leverage customer communication management software to enable consistent communication and strong customer relationships in real time.
What is omnichannel communication?
Omnichannel or omnichannel communication unifies the customer experience (CX) across different channels, such as websites, mobile apps, social media and phone calls. It can be thought of as a single point system used to collectively optimize interactions regardless of the channel used.
Think about all the different ways you interact with your customers, whether it’s through blogging, live chats, social media, or even catalogs. Delivering a seamless customer experience across different platforms can be difficult to achieve. However, omnichannel communication allows for easy access and migration without disrupting the customer journey.
Omnichannel communication vs multichannel communication
You’ve probably heard the terms omnichannel and multichannel used interchangeably. But the truth is that there are distinct differences between the two strategies.
Omnichannel communication looks at the brand from the customer’s point of view. All customer interaction is aligned with the company’s message and goals, regardless of the communication channel. Omnichannel systems also collect information about customer data from each platform, which helps to understand the buying behavior of customers.
Making sure your customers have a consistent experience at every touchpoint takes effort and shows that you are invested in connecting with them. In turn, this reinforces loyalty, satisfaction and reduces customer churn rate.
On the other hand, multi-channel communication simply refers to using multiple channels to have conversations with customer service. This approach is used by most modern businesses to interact with customers and has unique brand positioning across different channels.
While multi-channel communication is a great way to connect with customers on their preferred platforms, the channels can often get disconnected, leading to confusion and a poor customer experience.
So what is all this really medium? Here’s a simple way to remember it: Omnichannel and multichannel communication consists of multiple channels, but multichannel communication is not necessarily part of an omnichannel system.
Now that tongue twister is out of the way, take a look at this chart to understand why you shouldn’t use the two terms interchangeably.
|Omnichannel communication||Multichannel communication|
|Client experience||Consistent experience across all channels||Customer experience is channel-centric|
|Data and information||Unify touchpoints and customer data||Touchpoints are often disconnected and fragmented|
|Decision making||Faster decision making based on customer behavior||Ambiguity in decision making|
|Customer relationships||Relationships are built strategically||A tactical approach is used to build relationships|
|Response time||Best response time||Slow response time due to unoptimized channels|
5 advantages of an omnichannel communication strategy
By design, humans are reluctant to change. We love the concept of familiarity and knowing what to expect as we move between conversations.
This is exactly what omnichannel communication does. It focuses on creating a practical and easy-to-know experience, offering one face in the presence of multiple lines of communication.
1. Consistent customer experience
Omnichannel communication is just another word for consistent and transparent customer service communication.
Whether you have an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store, your communications strategy should be unified. Customers should easily move from online to offline channels and enjoy high quality service at all touchpoints.
of customers expect consistency in their interactions with the various departments.
Identify the appropriate channels
With the vast array of communication channels available, it’s difficult to know exactly which ones your customers want to be contacted about. How do you resolve this? To analyse! When you understand the needs of your specific audience and how they use online and offline channels, you can better integrate those channels under one system.
For example, customers are more likely to leave reviews on review sites and customer forums, while product inquiries typically come from phone calls or emails. Likewise, customers expect automakers to deliver a consistent experience across all channels, from TV commercials to physical showrooms.
Map the customer journey
Understanding your customers’ relationship with your business is crucial. Use information from omnichannel platforms to keep the customer moving forward and create a process based on clear and transparent communication.
2. Fast and proactive messaging
Multitasking has become a way of life. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you were in a Zoom meeting and didn’t respond to a chat or check your emails?
The pace of life is accelerating and customers want simple, effective and timely answers to their questions. Everything is on demand, and companies that recognize and adapt to these intentional preferences are playing the game long.
But to keep up with changing customer needs, businesses must invest in customer support tools tailored to specialty channels.
Visual engagement tools, live chat with Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), 24/7 support chatbots, and self-service options let you move along the customer communication travel and resolve issues with minimal support tickets and maximum engagement.
Omnichannel customer communication promotes both proactive response time and micro-personalization on desired channels. Companies that take advantage of omnichannel strategies use data as a determining factor in their decision making, such as customer history, product purchases, reviews, and preferred modes of communication.
3. Centralized data access
Omnichannel communication unifies customer conversations to help businesses analyze interaction history and refine online and offline customer experiences. These metrics are updated in real time to improve the customer experience.
Customer communication technology and management have evolved with easy-to-implement tools such as customer relationship software (CRM), collaborative processes and advanced cloud infrastructure for data storage.
One of the biggest benefits of omnichannel communication is the integration of disparate communications into a single system with centralized customer information. These include enriched information about the customer and his individual interactions across the channels.
Extensive information base
An omnichannel system also provides instant access to the customer’s full history and context by automatically populating demographic and firmographic details. This buyer information can then be used to optimize current and future customer conversations.
It is difficult to keep track of the different channels and how each of them handles alerts.
Omnichannel platforms run on behavioral data, which reduces the communication gap between customer service representatives and consumers. Since this information is based on user behavior, it can be tracked and automated to trigger via emails, text messages, or push notifications.
4. Improved customer support process
Organizations often forget a simple fact: Customer service reps are their first real customers. Companies that have simpler methods of communication are more likely to effectively engage their employees, which leads to effective communication between your representatives and your customers.
Employee attrition rates are just as important as customer retention rates when it comes to creating a positive employee experience. Give your CSRs personal dashboards and provide them with key metrics to help them stay aligned with customer success goals.
An omnichannel communications strategy improves the work of customer support agents by unifying multiple touchpoints into easy-to-understand data. This reduces complexity and communication, allowing CSRs to have rapid solutions at the first point of contact.
5. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty
Communication should be clear, concise and practical. Omnichannel communication accomplishes all three by giving customers the ability to interact at their preferred touchpoint – without having to think twice about the CX when they switch to another medium.
Customers want comfort and a high quality experience. An integrated communication model offers many options and a unified line of communication to increase customer satisfaction and retention.
Faster response time
You’d be surprised how many customers are willing to switch to a competing business after just one frustrated interaction. No one wants to stay online for hours looking for a solution. When the average response time decreases, resources can be managed efficiently and support teams are not inundated with tickets.
To speed up your response time, invest in tools that provide answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and 24/7 customer support for a smoother experience.
Having a strong presence on the channels your customers use the most is essential. You can simplify this process by learning more about your target audience and their communication preferences. Real-time engagement is the icing on the cake of omnichannel communication.
Don’t stop using multiple channels
Customer communication is not just about investing in a hundred different channels. It all comes down to creating a centralized, holistic system that ultimately unifies customer needs with business goals.
Like any process, omnichannel communication is constantly evolving and must be adapted to suit your business strategy. Understanding the omnichannel customer will have a significant impact on both retention and revenue.
Paying attention to the way you communicate with your customers is the first step in optimizing the customer relationship. Learn more about managing customer communication for streamlined conversations.