Imagine a single, unified view of your customers and their activities. Imagine optimising interactions for each customer to ensure every contact is personalised, contextualised and relevant. Imagine access to the widest variety of communications channels that not only speak to your customers but talk to each other.
As I explored in an earlier post, modern communications is built on an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of all available channels from physical mail to social media, email, SMS, virtual assistants, and more. The next step is to create an omnichannel infrastructure that fulfils the wish list outlined above.
So, how do you bring a multichannel communications strategy to life?
Regular communication lets customers know how much you value them and their business. You can demonstrate this in a number of ways — by offering valuable tips on how best to use your products and services more effectively, for example. You can share event announcements, timely updates on new products and services, and special discounts on existing ones.
This can only be done by deploying effective communication channels that work as one and having an analytical foundation. In short, you are seeking “intelligent orchestration.” Without it, you’ll end up asking customers to explain the reason for their call or interaction with you — and believe me, there is no quicker way to frustrate your customers or fuel a negative brand perception. Intelligent orchestration avoids such scenarios.
According to Gartner “omnichannel customer engagement is a necessity” and it’s difficult to disagree. Customers use many channels — emails, chatbots, messenger apps and customer service agents — and they expect a seamless experience as they switch from one channel to another. Understanding how customers use and experience the different channels is critical to delivering a personalised customer experience. It also allows the organisation to:
- Integrate and coordinate channels for a seamless experience
- Facilitate cross-sell and upsell opportunities
- Align messaging across channels, devices, and locations
Often, getting started on your omnichannel journey is the greatest challenge. Multiple back office systems, a legacy of paper-based processes, and a constant influx of data — coupled with the reality that different departments are likely to own different channels — means integration is invariably complex.
Comprehensive data management is key to getting it right and it can only be achieved when information about interactions is captured digitally. To this end, it is worth exploring augmented reality as a means of driving customers to desired areas of your business. The introduction of AR will allow more insights gathering, a better understanding of personalised requirements, and a greater ability to map the customer journey. You can consider AR as a means of connecting two or more channels on the way to a full-blown omnichannel journey.
According to McKinsey, the omnichannel experience requires “a sequential process composed of four essential components:”
- Setting the design principles
- Designing service journeys
- Identifying foundational enablers
- Defining the IT architecture
If all channels are in place, customer journeys mapped, and live agents with the right skills are in play, the key enabler is an IT architecture to deliver the omnichannel experience. This requires a front-end, platform, and back-end capabilities. The ideal customer engagement platform (CEP) will have all three characteristics.
Conduent’s Customer Engagement Platform continually builds the customer identity by combining fragmented data across each touch point and interaction into a dynamic customer profile. As a complement, we have a full range of channel options to plug potential gaps in your omnichannel strategy.
With true omnichannel capabilities, your organizations can:
- Know your customers more personally
- Anticipate your customers’ needs
- Improve engagement across the entire customer journey
All of this together will help build maintain customer loyalty, improve customer perceptions, and heighten satisfaction. Omnichannel communication is a must for any businesses that wants to stay relevant in increasingly competitive markets. Once this is in place, organisations can study platform-derived analytics to identify how to achieve best results on an ongoing basis.