The customer journey is increasingly diverse. With customers discovering and interacting with your brand in different ways, omnichannel customer experience is no longer optional — it’s necessary!
Today’s consumers have a range of channels at their disposal. From search engines to social media, email to SMS text, websites, and offline channels, your customers have plenty of ways to reach you — and vice versa.
Investing in an omnichannel customer experience gives you the best chance of connecting with the right people at the right time. Let’s explore this idea further and how you can use a customer experience omnichannel strategy to your advantage.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Omnichannel?
- Omnichannel Customer Experience Meaning
- Customer Experience Omnichannel: Why Marketers Should Care
- Omnichannel Customer Experience Benefits
- Omnichannel Customer Experience Examples
- How to Improve Omnichannel Customer Experience
- Supporting a Customer Experience Omnichannel Strategy with Linkfluence
What Is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel is an integrated approach to marketing, selling, and fulfilling orders across multiple channels. The goal of omnichannel is to provide a seamless and consistent experience for customers, regardless of how they choose to interact with a company.
Omnichannel Customer Experience Meaning
Now that we know what omnichannel is, what is omnichannel customer experience (sometimes written as omni-channel experience or omni-channel marketing)?
We define omnichannel customer experience as the proactive ability to meet customers wherever they are, however they choose to engage with your brand. This includes everything from the initial contact point to post-purchase follow-up.
Omnichannel customer service takes into account the ways in which customers want to interact with your brand, not just the variety of channels available. Marketers need to understand the nuances of each channel, the type of customer using those channels, and what the customer expects from each channel.
Customer Experience Omnichannel: Why Marketers Should Care
In a world where technology is constantly evolving, businesses must do the same in order to remain competitive.
The customer experience is no longer limited to one channel. Customers now expect a seamless, omnichannel experience that meets their needs and expectations. In fact, research shows that 73% of consumers prefer shopping via multiple channels. By contrast, only 7% say they shop exclusively online and 20% shop exclusively in-store.
Marketers can reach more people by focusing on a customer experience omnichannel strategy. More customers means more chances to grow your brand and gain customers for life.
Omnichannel Customer Experience Benefits
Catering to the omnichannel customer comes with a range of benefits for customers and companies alike. The most attractive omnichannel customer service benefits include the following:
More Ways for Customers to Engage
Data shows that more than half of consumers look at a product online before buying it in person. What’s more, 47% of consumers are more likely to buy online if they can return the product in the store. Shoppers want to check a store’s website to see if it’s in stock before heading to their local store. Some shoppers want to see and touch a product before they buy it online, a practice called showrooming.
In short, customers want multiple ways to engage with their favorite brands. Omnichannel technology gives them these options, allowing them to take more control over how, when, and where they buy.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
The control offered by omnichannel has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. When customers can interact with your company through their preferred channel, they are more likely to be satisfied with the overall experience.
Brands can remove friction from the process of doing business. Make it easy for the customer, and you’ll give your brand image a boost.
Improved Loyalty and Retention
Satisfied customers keep coming back. They remember the brands that delivered on making it easy for them to get what they need.
Companies that provide an omnichannel experience are more likely to retain customers and build loyalty. What’s more, customers that use multiple channels are likely to engage with your brand for longer periods of time.
Increased Sales and Revenue
Omnichannel commerce has been shown to increase sales and revenue for businesses. Brands that use three or more channels to engage customers increase order rates by 494%. However, brands that don’t use multiple channels to reach customers may miss out on as much as 30% of sales.
Enriched Data for Decision-Making
Using multiple channels can give brands a more complete profile of their ideal customers. Each channel produces an abundance of customer data that can help improve sales and marketing. Learn more about your customers and their experiences and see how you can improve your approach.
Omnichannel Customer Experience Examples
Want to see the omnichannel customer experience in action? Here’s how some of the world’s most popular brands get omnichannel right.
Disney infuses the magic of omnichannel in their guests’ travel experiences by pairing their app with wearable technology. The combination brings the park experience to each guest in multiple formats, from buying tickets to booking and paying for meals to checking ride wait times and more. The wristband also doubles as a room key and photo storage. What’s more, the experience is personalized to each guest, helping them make the most of their trip.
Walgreen’s mobile app helps to bridge the gap between in-store and digital experiences. Customers can reorder prescriptions via the app to pick up in store. They can also upload photos directly from their phone to the app to be printed in stores.
When it comes to shopping convenience, customers can check inventory at a specific store. This makes it easier to choose which store location to visit.
Even though Amazon has only recently stepped into brick-and-mortar stores, it continues to set a high bar for the omnichannel experience. For starters, users can maintain one cart between the app and the website when signed into their accounts. Customer support also takes multiple formats, depending on the customer’s preference.
Timberland has implemented near-field communication technology (NFC) in its physical stores. This allows customers to pay via their phones with a simple tap. What’s more, customers can enrich their in-store shopping experience with data, thanks to the use of in-store tablets and NFC technology. Similar to getting more product information online, users can tap a tablet against special product signage to learn more about the product and see any current deals. This allows customers to serve themselves rather than seek out a store clerk and recreates some of the benefits of online shopping in the store.
Starbucks combines elements of the in-store experience with digital technology in its mobile rewards app. Customers can reload gift cards via the app or their computers. They can also add funds to the app, receive points for each purchase, and place their orders in advance to skip the line.
How to Improve Omnichannel Customer Experience
Creating and improving omni-channel customer service takes some practice, research, and an ongoing commitment to excellence. Here are some tips to help you improve omni-channel customer service in your online and brick-and-mortar stores.
Think Like a Customer
The key to improving customer interactions is to get inside your customers’ minds and see what they really want from you. It’s not always obvious.
One way to do this is to think about your own customer experiences. What has stood out to you that other brands do well? What could companies offer that would make your life easier? What could they do that would make you buy from them more often?
You can also get to know your target customer in a deeper way. Where do they shop? How do they behave? What do they value?
Finding new ways to segment your audience beyond basic demographics can help you learn more about the experiences that matter to them.
Data-driven insights and analytics can be your best friends when it comes to learning about your customers. Platforms like Linkfluence collect data on your customers’ experiences both on and off your own channels. This can give you a more accurate, holistic view of your target audience and learn what they like and dislike.
Data and analytics can also give you insights into where your customer experience might be falling apart. For example, if you notice a high click-through rate on Facebook but no conversions, it might indicate a poor website experience. From there, you can target your experience improvements to your website and see how your results change.
Brands may find it beneficial to use a mix of first-party and third-party data to get richer insights.
Map Your Customer Journey
Improving the customer service experience means understanding the various paths your customers take with your brand. The omnichannel journey isn't linear. Each person may follow a slightly different path, and you should be familiar with the possibilities.
- Where are customers most likely to buy (brick-and-mortar, online, order online to pick up in store)?
- How soon do they need to make a decision?
- What will trigger them to buy (a discount, coupon, free shipping, same-day pickup)?
- How do customers want to receive support (live chat, chatbot, social media, email, self-service, etc.)?
Map out every touchpoint, then dive deeper into each of those experiences. See how those communication channels may overlap with others so you can create seamless experiences between them.
Seek Out Customer Feedback
Customer centricity hinges on giving customers what they want. Your own customers can be a great source of information when it comes to creating omnichannel customer service. You can conduct feedback surveys to see how they feel about their current experiences and learn what they’d like to see in the future. You can also create polls on social media to collect simple feedback about specific topics.
In addition, you can use social listening to gain insights into the experiences your customers prefer. See how they feel about self-service options or whether they’d like to see more social media customer service channels or a live agent option. Discover how your competitors are lacking in customer experience so you can do it better.
Learn From Other Brands
You don’t have to copy your competitors to create a great omnichannel approach. But you can learn from other brands that are getting it right.
Do some digging to find success stories in omnichannel marketing. See how other companies are creating seamless experiences for their customers. Then see if those same experiences make sense for your own customers.
You might not do things exactly the way other companies are doing them. But seeing the possibilities may inspire your next big idea.
Be Selective about Your Channels
One of the most common mistakes about an omnichannel approach is the idea that you have to be everywhere to do omnichannel right. Reality check: You don’t.
It’s better to be selective with your channels so you can dedicate more resources to them. You can be more present on a handful of channels rather than spread thinly over the entire gamut of possibilities.
This underscores the importance of getting inside your customers’ heads and meeting them where they are. Using data-driven tools like AI-powered Linkfluence makes this process easier and more accurate.
Supporting a Customer Experience Omnichannel Strategy with Linkfluence
Answering “What is omnichannel customer experience?” is just part of the process. Brands also need to be prepared to respond to their customers’ evolving needs, and Linkfluence can help.
Linkfluence empowers first-party data with consumer insights. Brands can build deeper understandings of their target customers in real time, thanks to a blend of AI-powered technology and a human support team.
Real-time insights help you keep pace with changing consumer expectations. See where and how your customers prefer to engage. Learn whether they prefer to self-serve or speak with live customer service agents. Track key trends in buying behaviors and customer expectations across a multichannel environment so you can adjust your omnichannel customer service strategy.
Most importantly, do all of the above with confidence! Request a demo to learn more today.