The State of the Connected Customer, 4th Edition has aptly captured the perceivable shift in customer behavior amidst a digital landscape. While 76% of the customers consult multiple channels to arrive at purchase decisions, 83% express the desire for immediate engagement with the brands of their choice. Today, as the relentless emergence of digital platforms is upending traditional commercial dynamics, the modern connected customer has grown immensely aspirational, expecting to consume products and services on demand. In response, the marketers need to be in a constant state of flux, putting the feasibility of delivering seamless customer experience across channels at the core of innovation.
However, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 50% of the brands may fail to unify their customer engagement channels, providing a fragmented customer experience that lacks cohesion, reliability, and context. To win business from customers undeniably influenced by the quality of brand interactions, it is now pivotal to invest in an omnichannel experience strategy that can make frictionless and personalized engagement possible for multiple touchpoints across their journey. It empowers enterprises to inspire customer delight by proactively offering more purchase and fulfillment options and successfully navigate channel disruptions to defend the integrity of their diverse revenue streams.
Extracting the optimum value of customer experience
So, considering its mission-criticality, how should a company that intends to go to market with an omnichannel experience delivery plan for its customers trigger the required transformation? Essentially, such a shift calls for a reimagination of how an organization approaches customer experience from a technological and cultural standpoint. It involves investment in top-line digital engineering skills and design thinking expertise that can meaningfully decode the brand-consumer dialogue across channels and attach the patterns of preferences to profitable business outcomes with confidence. True omnichannel experience is the sum of a host of incremental changes that include:
Re-engineering the CRM fundamentals making the landscape agile enough for deep API-backed integration with multiple channels. An intuitive and connected CRM is the heart of an impactful omnichannel CRM strategy that can deliver a 360-degrees view into customer behavior by assimilating sources such as social media activities, emails, incident tickets, and service desk cases into a single source of truth. This integrated approach is key to weaving personalized experiences that are holistic and resonate with actual customer needs.
Bringing insights from live customer interactions across channels to optimize the experience and providing a seamless omnichannel experience. Today’s customer journeys aren’t straightforward and linear but an inter-connected series of handoffs between traditional and modern digital channels that can vary significantly. Providing a seamless handoff across all channels and ensuring that we have a customer 360 view is of paramount importance to ensure customer delight. This approach leverages cognitive technologies like Machine Learning, Natural language processing (NLP) and AI which helps create a personalized customer experience and plays a decisive role in improving customer satisfaction & brand recall and trimming the persisting marketing overheads.
Implementing customer analytics on top of the omnichannel CRM database, tailoring bespoke reports and customized dashboards that can permit various end-users within the value chain to be more customer-centric. Customer Experience Analytics, Retention Analytics, and Marketing Analytics offer end-to-end visibility into the brand-customer interactions across multiple channels, allowing marketing decision-makers to discover latent trends for realigning strategies.
Augmenting agent productivity with the proper training and tools that allow team members to embrace the culture of omnichannel commitment to the customer. It involves breaking down silos and sharing leads and customer information across the marketing ecosystem. Also, in an omnichannel environment where enterprise systems are integrated with third-party applications to enhance productivity, operating on multidimensional customer data needs adequate guidance to prevent the breach of customer data protection and privacy norms, mitigating security and reputational risks.
A decisive move towards delivering seamless omnichannel experiences can unlock a new horizon of business opportunities, transform customer loyalty and convert them into promoters. Apart from this it helps improve operational efficiency, reveal new business streams, and elevate during and after-sales service quality. While ensuring round-the-clock availability, an omnichannel strategy can address the conventional inadequacies of face-to-face interactions like the short attention span of agents by distributing the workloads across various channels improving overall customer satisfaction.
Also, merging all digital marketing channels into a composite CRM with a customer 360 offers a complete view of the user persona, allowing marketing campaigns to be fine-tuned to relevance. Further, the availability of cross-channel customer datasets allows limitless analytics, equipping marketers to understand customer behavior patterns better and preempt foreseeable changes.
The omnichannel experience, while complex to orchestrate, is a critical differentiator in a closely contested market. Here, partnering with a digital engineering leader that can seamlessly converge the best of digital and in-person customer interactions to drive experience delivery is no short of strategic advantage. It can empower organizations to be nimble and pull ahead of the curve by delivering on overt customer requirements and subliminal expectations reflected through behavioral cues.
Sources: Salesforce, Gartner