For retail companies, there is nothing more important than customer experience. According to a study by Gartner, 89 percent of companies will compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. A large part of that experience comes from a company’s ability to provide a clean, consistent experience to their customers: through multiple channels.
Increasingly personalized retail experiences have shifted customer expectations. More is expected of retailers today than was expected even ten years ago. This shift in thinking represents a larger shift in thinking, from “customer service” to “customer experience.”
This experience includes omnichannel consistency. Customers expect that their interactions with a company, both online and offline, will be recorded…and provide a certain level of consistency. However, many businesses still struggle to provide a consistent, streamlined experience to their customers.
We’ve mentioned the “O” word previously on our blog. Omnichannel customer engagement strategies work. In fact, according to one study, companies with established blueprints retain 89 percent of their customers.
To improve your omnichannel efforts, consider implementing these tips within your company:
A Reliable Operational Foundation
Your ability to offer a consistent omnichannel experience will only reach the heights that your operational foundation will support. Without the right people, processes, and tools, you’ll never be able to provide a truly seamless experience.
A reliable operational foundation starts with clear leadership that sets the tone for the rest of the company. Larger companies hire entire teams to manage their omnichannel efforts, but that option isn’t always possible in smaller companies.
Investing in new platforms that are specifically designed to streamline omnichannel processes is necessary for long-term channel integration.
Connected Omnichannel CRM
A great example of a platform that will be required to start offering a truly omnichannel experience to your customers. Your CRM should include all identifiable communications that you have had with a customer, be it through social media, email, or an in-store conversation.
As large retailers begin to improve their own omnichannel offerings, more customers will begin to expect that their interactions will be recorded and accessible.
Improved Employee Training
Today nearly everyone conducts research online before purchasing a product. Even in-store, customers are pulling out their phones and checking reviews before buying.
This means that customers are more informed than ever before. They are more likely to know the ins and outs of the products that they are considering, along with a few competitors. It is important that your employees are knowledgeable and able to have in-depth conversations about the products that you offer. There are few things more off-putting to a customer than feeling like they are more knowledgeable than staff after just a few minutes of cursory research.
In these situations, it is jarring for a customer to go from the company website, where all information is perfectly laid out and accessible, to speaking with an employee that knows very little about the product.
The need to provide a better customer experience underpins the focus on omnichannel strategies. If your customers aren’t having a good experience in working with your floor staff, it could mitigate the goodwill you’ve earned through providing a more consistent experience.
Customers Appreciate Transparency
Your customer experience feedback will depend on your ability to set expectations and communicate with your customers. To provide a multi-channel experience, you’ll need to be transparent to set those expectations.
What are your customer service hours? How would you prefer customers to contact your business? If a customer wants a multi-channel experience, on which platforms are you set up to deliver that from?
Be honest and straight-forward and you’ll find that your customers will gravitate toward the platforms and communication channels that suit their own requirements.
Effective Omnichannel Requires Solid Foundation
Putting too much focus into omnichannel strategies doesn’t make much sense if you don’t have the processes that lead to a solid customer experience foundation in place.
Looking for further reading on the omnichannel challenge (and how to tackle it)? Read more here.