Omnichannel – a buzzword that every executive has heard over and over again the past few years. While this term has become increasingly popular since 2019, the omnichannel experience has been around for decades. So, what exactly is an omnichannel experience and why should your company look into having one if you don’t already? Before we dive in, let’s first take a look at what omnichannel means.
What is omnichannel?
Omnichannel, also spelled omni-channel, in its most simplistic meaning is the use of all things. In the business world, this denotes that during a sales process, a business uses several connected channels to communicate with its customers. This is not to be confused with a multi-channel experience which is where the user can use several channels, as well, but they are not connected to one another.
What is an omnichannel experience?
An omnichannel experience is when a company has taken into account all of the platforms and devices that its customers may use and integrates them together. When done properly, this provides an exceptional experience for customers during the marketing, sales, and service processes, no matter how they reach out. For example, if a customer reaches out via Facebook Messenger, the communication should be documented in the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system through an automated integration. That way, if the customer calls, the employee is aware of this and can take into account what and when the customer’s initial request was and handle the conversation accordingly. If these two systems aren’t connected, it makes for a broken experience and is not truly an omnichannel experience, just a multi-channel experience.
How to create an omnichannel experience
Several companies have tried to create an omnichannel experience and failed for multiple reasons including a lack of focus, not staying abreast of changes in technology, not enough resources, and so on. Before implementing an omnichannel experience, it’s important to create a cohesive and well-thought-out strategy prior to implementing anything. Here are a few tips for when you’re strategizing your omnichannel experience:
First, it’s important to understand what channels your customers are using and what channels they prefer to use. They could be calling to get answers to questions because that’s the only channel they can get answers on. When in actuality, they may prefer to go to your website’s FAQ section and get the answers faster and when they want, not when customer service is open.
Additionally, it’s not only important to know where customers are getting information and want to get their information, but also what the most common questions are along their customer journey. No matter if someone is being marketed to, going through the sales process, or being serviced, you should always be customer-centric and seek to solve their problems every step of the way.
You should use the same messaging across all channels. When creating content for your different channels, you should use similar messaging and visuals. You don’t want to use the same exact words but you want to be certain that your audience experiences a consistent brand voice no matter what channel they are using.
Starting with what you have will make the implementation more successful. You most likely already have a website and social media channels so start with integrating them.
3 companies with a true omnichannel experience
You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing an Amazon vehicle making some sort of delivery. Amazon is leading the way in many areas and they take the cake when it comes to providing a truly cohesive experience for their customers, especially if they are Prime members. No matter what device you’re on – your TV, phone, or computer, if you are signed into your account, you can see everything from your cart and your shopping lists to your Prime Video watchlists and favorite shows.
Additionally, Amazon offers convenient support that is easy to use and based on the users’ preferences.
Barnes & Noble
Have you ever been to a brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble store? If so, you may have taken advantage of their in-store cafe that allows readers to sit and give a book a test drive all while enjoying their favorite coffee or tea. This adds another level to the customer experience for those who are Barnes & Noble patrons.
Aside from their cafe bonus, you will get the same experience from Barnes & Noble no matter if you shop on your phone, use the Nook app, or if you’re shopping from your computer. They have mastered creating a personal connection through any means of customer contact.
Did you watch the Super Bowl? For those who did, millions of them flooded Spotify to download Dr. Dre’s music which resulted in a 185% increase in streaming for him and allowed Eminem to earn a historical spot on Spotify making him the only act to have 10 albums that have had over 1.5 Billion streams each.
While this was great for the artists, it was also great for Spotify users as they had a seamless experience while streaming these songs. Spotify syncs with several platforms and devices providing little variation in experiences.