By Ivan Moore, Forcivity
Digital transformations are happening at an accelerated pace and companies are trying to keep up with the right customer engagement strategies. The way today’s companies need to view engagement channels with their customers is through an omnichannel experience. Customers have preferred channels of how they want to interact with a business and companies must open channels to where their customers are to create more connected experiences.
The range of communication channels that customers have at their disposal is an opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves. Whether customers prefer to interact with brands by post, text message, email, social channels, or a combination of all, each has the opportunity to improve customer engagement. Regardless of the mode by which customers choose to interact with a brand, they demand a consistent experience.
80% of customers report that the experience a company provides is as important as their product, pricing, and services. Omnichannel places the customer at the center, allowing them to decide how to access information from any of the channels since they’re interconnected. Brands use this approach to focus on the needs of the customer, providing them with a personalized message through a seamless, unified experience. Not only are they provided a tailored message, but that message adapts to each touchpoint a customer has with the brand. In other words, the messages the customer sees, regardless of the channel, will update once the customer has purchased, for example. By keeping channels integrated and unified, people see that brands value their experience as well as their own, internal service operations.
Omnichannel experiences provide customers with more purchase and fulfillment options as well, allowing them to quickly switch engagement methods in case of channel disruption. This enables marketing leaders to better protect business-critical revenue streams.
A PwC report found that the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80%, where it’s estimated roughly 40% of all customer interactions will be automated through Artificial Intelligence and machine learning by 2023.
With this omnichannel approach to engaging with customers also comes some challenges, however, in consolidating all those interactions into a single view on a customer-by-customer basis. Companies may be storing data collected from the web in one tool, feedback from social media in another, and customer data in a third. Gartner reports through 2022, 50% of large organizations will have failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in a disjointed and siloed customer experience. Without synergy between systems, companies run the risk of delivering inconsistent and fragmented messaging to a customer.
Companies Are Taking Notice
It’s worth noting the companies that successfully engage their B2B customers realize 63% lower customer attrition. They also achieve a 55% higher share of wallet and 50% higher productivity. This requires investing in and integrating the right people and process and aligning all departments to provide consistent customer experiences that are informed by real-time data from all channels, and across every touchpoint where they interact with the brand.
3 Ways To Optimize Engagement
The benefits to optimizing omnichannel engagement include efficient communication, community building, customer and brand loyalty, and an increased Net Promoter Score. Let’s look at three ways to optimize that engagement:
- Efficient Routing: Routing customers via entry channels to the appropriate personnel, and doing so the first time, can make or break for customers. This might be accomplished via an interactive voice response (IVR) system, live chat feature, or other business intelligence (BI) tools, which help match the customer with the resource that can best manage their needs. This process also leads to higher first-contact resolution rates and customer satisfaction.
- Targeted Messages: Each interaction should reflect a real-time understanding of the customer’s account and take advantage of the opportunity to add value. It makes no sense to promote a product to a customer when they already have it. Creating customer experiences that are informed by real-time data and updated from all channels, and expanding them across every touchpoint, builds stronger relationships with customers no matter where they’re engaging.
- Focus on Customer Journey: Customers today want one-stop shopping and service. For that to happen, companies need to view the customer journey from the customer’s perspective, not their own internal organizational structure, processes, and supporting IT infrastructure. When the customer is at the center of the strategy, the message changes and adapts to how the customer moves their journey with the company. This means that as the customer moves through their channels, they'll automatically update so the next one offers a message that’s relevant to the customer.
Organizations must optimize a unified IT infrastructure to ensure they make a great impression during every customer touchpoint. Using multiple, siloed channels is not enough. Offering consistent and personalized customer interactions through omnichannel platforms reduces any type of friction in the service process. It’s clear, now more than ever, companies must strive to meet customer expectations, engage, and be easy to do business with— no matter where their customers are.
About The Author
Ivan is Chief Client Officer of Forcivity, a company exclusively focused on assisting companies through service transformations to improve their customer experience and accelerate growth. Ivan and his team deliver successful business outcomes for their clients across the entire customer journey by assessments of their sales and service delivery, optimization of business processes, operating metrics, and deployment of enabling technologies.
Forcivity specializes in helping organizations integrate an omnichannel experience into their CRM and service management package. Learn how we can help!