Customer experience is all about omnichannel today.
And omnichannel is all about having well-connected, integrated, and consistent service channels, such that when customers call your company, they don’t view your support channels separately.
In the customer’s view everything is managed as a whole rather than a bunch of different departments.
Why is Omnichannel important for Customer Lifecycle
The traditional customer lifecycle that followed a sales funnel pattern is now replaced by a shopping journey that is stretched over different touch-points.
To communicate across all channels, ecommerce businesses need to connect those touch-points with an omnichannel technology to fulfill customers’ increasing demand of instant information on any subject matter.
The image below illustrates the communication between various channels involved in completing the digital customer lifecycle today.
A study by the Aberdeen Group formed around omnichannel customer care reported that today consumers aren’t restricted to only one channel or device to operate businesses. The study further elaborates that the customer lifecycle might currently start in one channel and proceed through numerous other ones.
Consumers are fluent on the range of ecommerce services available from retailers. That is why omnichannel customer care strategies have 91% better y/y customer retention rates than others.
Omnichannel customer experience management approach does not only result in higher retention rates. There is also improvement in the percentage of essential customer and business value metrics like the average profit margin per customer and the customer lifecycle value.
How to Use Omnichannel Approach
Consumers have varied ways of shopping, and retailers are on their toes to keep up with them and their needs. Hence, retailers are gaining a competitive advantage by adopting an approach that integrates various toolsets, such as mobility and business intelligence across different communication channels.
This creates a clear, single view of the consumer enabling retailers to interact between all business channels. Taking advantage of better customer information, delivering consistent quality of service, and personalizing the customer experience, leading multi-channel retailers can evolve their customer-centric business plan-of-action and extend their horizon to enable all their channels.
Traditionally, marketers were more focused on the front-end of the customer relationship, like brand awareness and lead generation. But now, as retail becomes digitized, marketers cannot simply hand over management of this relationship to the sales department.
Today, in an increasingly omnichannel business environment, customer lifecycle management has become incredibly complex but, also customer-centric. It assists in connecting disparate people, data, and processes that are normally stored within your company.
About 91% of customers want to continue their shopping experience where they had left off whenever they switch between channels.
For instance, on way home, a customer looking to buy new shoes goes online to browse through the catalog. He like some styles and saves them in his cart. The customer, then leaves the website and heads to the brand’s brick-and-mortar store, but sees no way to use his the webcart in the offline shoe store. And so, either he will pick one pair from those available at the store, or leave the shopping then and there. Thus, loss of an almost converted customer.
Marketers must understand that being in an omnichannel experience does not just sum up to having multiple channels. It is more about ensuring the fact that all those channels work well together. Just as in the example above, the customer was unable to access her website details with the store, due to lack of connectivity between different channels.
According to a joint survey by Gleanster Research and Act-On, companies that are able to deliver profitable interactions at various stops of the customer lifecycle claim their victory in the digital world.
The image below represents the process of an omnichannel journey management.
Superior customer lifecycle management can dramatically transform your organization. By meeting and exceeding expectations in every phase of customer management, you can turn prospects into satisfied customers and customers into enthusiastic advocates for your brand.
To be successful, this direct-to-customer capability must be proportionalized by the total cost of ownership throughout the retail environment.
Today, many futuristic retailers are engaged in the attempt to provide omnichannel marketing and operations support services. These services will help in decreasing costs, improving customer service, as well as focusing on core competencies, such as sourcing, merchandising and marketing.
So, go on ahead and ask yourself, “Do I have the variety of support channels, used and wanted by customers?”
Great read Rahul. And yes, you said it right – going omnichannel is the need of the hour for retailers. In fact, today’s hyper-connected consumers increasingly expect their favourite brands to cater to their ever changing needs, preferences and in-store behaviour, across all channels of interaction. One of the technologies that are increasingly leveraged by retailers for this purpose is iBeacon technology. Yet, many businesses still continue to have some misconceptions around beacons. Primarily because, most of them aren’t very clear about how beacon hardware and software work together.