Customer experience is the practice of understanding, designing, and measuring a customer’s interactions with a brand or company. From the analytics that shape raw data into actionable insights, to the digital technologies that deliver engaging, interactive experiences, a best-in-class omnichannel customer experience is about empowering consumers to make purchases, get help or simply window shop across multiple physical and digital touchpoints.
Defining the Omnichannel Experience
Omnichannel interactions can be digital or physical, in-store or at-home, with a person or with a bot, owned by the brand or an impression or discussion on a third party site. Above all, consistency is key across the omni-channel spectrum to ensure integrated, seamless, personalized experiences.
Omnichannel experiences are becoming increasingly integral to everyday life:
- A soon-to-be-dad looking to purchase a new car customer spends a few days researching brands, safety features, prices and dealers on his mobile phone and desktop before visiting a showroom to complete his purchase.
- A customer uses an augmented reality app to visualize how a new piece of furniture will look in her apartment, orders the furniture from the company’s website, receives text updates as the furniture is en route and signs for its arrival virtually using Docusign.
- An overseas vacationer accepts an offer of travel insurance that she receives via a location-based text alert from her insurance company. After a minor accident involving her rental car, she checks her coverage on her company’s mobile app, uploads a picture of the scratch, and immediately receives a phone call from a claims processor who walks her through her next steps.
4 Elements of a Best-in-Class Customer Experience
A successful omnichannel customer experience is more than conversions and sales. Companies must be able to impress customers both before and after money exchanges hands with interconnected in-person, phone, web, mobile and social interactions.
- Consistent Interactions – Customers must be able to have high-quality experiences with a brand no matter which channel they’re using. Web, app, text, phone and in-person interactions should all offer the same level of top-notch service across the board.
- Seamless Engagement – As customers travel between channels, their preferences, previous actions and communications, and personal information needs to follow them. They should be able to start a transaction on one channel, continue it seamlessly on another and complete it in a third. Done correctly, customers will perceive multiple interactions as a single experience.
- Customer-First Culture – A company’s organizational structure must support the customer-centric model. This means approaching recruitment, training, role formation and design practices with an company-wide philosophy of identifying and mitigating potential issues before they have a chance to impede customer satisfaction.
- Designing an Exceptional Customer experience – Companies can serve customers with richer customer experiences that extend their reach, enhance existing customer relationships, drive sustained engagement and boost revenue by following a simple blueprint.
Establishing and maintaining outstanding customer relationships in today’s digitally-driven environment means learning more about customers than ever before. Harnessing the power of the Internet of Things enables brands to determine what spurs customers to make decisions through data related to previous purchases, shopping habits, financial data and social media.
It’s not enough to just understand individual customers. Companies also have to look at their industry’s digital landscape.
- What are consumers pushing for?
- What are omnichannel leaders doing and how can their methods be improved?
- How are competitors better-serving customers in the omnichannel domain?
Setting Data-based Objectives
This requires exploring both customer and company objectives. Consumers want comprehensive services and streamlined processes that have been tailored to their needs. Organizations are looking for increased customer engagement, new clientele, and increased revenue. At this stage,it’s imperative that organizations identify every channel’s strengths and weaknesses and make adjustments accordingly.
Defining measurable metrics around these goals will help businesses create optimized digital and in-person interactions based on actionable data and design customer experiences that serve everyone’s interests
Crafting Stand-out Omnichannel Experiences
The last step is building and launching comprehensive solutions using the above insights and objectives to provide superior performance across every channel.
Here, it’s about channel-specific design. That means designing mobile app experiences to retain the functionality of web-based interaction but adapting them to a smaller screen and touch-based interface. The same idea should carry over to physical experiences as well, seamlessly continuing experiences from other channels.
Partnership and integration with other brands and services is also important part of designing best-in-class omnichannel customer experiences. Companies should seek opportunities to spread their omnichannel reach and better serve customers with apps that can be incorporated into popular payment systems or built-in connections to popular social media platforms.
Companies should test metrics and methods early and often during the design process, and this evaluation needs to continue even after a plan goes live.
Measuring Omnichannel Success
The roll out is a crucial point. Putting a plan into action often reveals holes that were previously overlooked and theoretical design ideas that may not work as well in the real world. Centric Digital Lab can support companies through this critical stage and continue to monitor success against measurable objectives.