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How to create a consistent omnichannel customer experience



30-second summary:

  • Customers today have high standards when it comes to their online shopping experiences, so you can’t afford to be lax with your operation.
  • Before you do anything else, you should create some in-depth brand guidelines to steer your company’s creative and conversational output.
  • Responding quickly is paramount because it shows that you’re committed to excellent service and are paying attention to what people are saying.
  • By closely tracking when people reach out to you and storing relevant information, you can provide a personalized — and impressive — support service.

Since the rise of ecommerce to a position of prominence, an omnichannel customer experience has steadily become a stronger point of focus for ambitious brands, and it’s easy to understand why. Prices alone aren’t enough to sway shoppers or service users when the profit margins are so narrow, and occasional eye-catching deals won’t earn the loyalty that returns the most value.

At the same time, the complexity involved in the process of designing good customer experiences has skyrocketed. Not only have expectations gone up immensely due to the standard-setting performance of the biggest brands in the world, but there’s also far more competition out there than ever before — and it’s so much harder to stand out.

Notably, it isn’t enough to provide great customer experiences through just one channel. However you reach our customers, you must always offer the same level of polish. This is where the omnichannel approach comes in, pushing you to focus on what you do (being highly actionable with your inbound marketing) instead of where you do it.

Here are some tips to create a consistent omnichannel customer experience:

1. Design and adhere to clear brand guidelines

A great omnichannel customer experience first and foremost would need you to have a set of brand guidelines in place to ensure that every area of your customer service is on the same page. This becomes more of an issue the more people you have working in your business. Knowing that the preferred company tone is one of genial informality, for instance, will prevent an errant support assistant from being overly critical.

And if you think that isn’t particularly important, consider how quickly negative comments can spread through social media. If someone has a great experience dealing with your support team through Facebook but sees some scathing remarks about you on Twitter, it will (at the very least) tilt them towards questioning you. Depending on the identity and influence of the complainant, it may even completely invert their opinion of you.

It’s a good idea to put a system in place to monitor feedback from all relevant avenues because otherwise, you’d need to manually trawl channels to see if anyone mentions you. There are plenty of tools on the market capable of doing this, so I suggest checking out HubSpot’s roundup to see which one might work best for you.

2. Invest in being extremely responsive

Customers can afford to be demanding at this point. Even if there weren’t so many businesses making similar products and services available that any given one (with rare exceptions) could be replaced with a substitute at any time, we’re inarguably living in a time of consumer power. Anyone who’s willing to publicly call out a company can cause it no end of trouble.

If you want to consistently keep customers happy across all possible platforms, you don’t just need to normalize your responsiveness: you need to normalize impressive responsiveness. When an issue comes to your attention, you must take action to address it extremely quickly. This will show that you’re actually invested in making things better.

This will partially come down to implementing smart automation, particularly through using chatbots, though be mindful of the need to adhere to the aforementioned brand guidelines. Don’t just slot in a generic design: provided you’ve chosen a decent platform, you should be able to customize your website’s live chat with your brand colors, your preferred design elements, and — most importantly — content that suits your tone. Extend this philosophy to your social chatbots (anything you deploy via Facebook Messenger, for instance).

In addition to that, you need support assistants that can promptly handle any complex issues that arise. Don’t worry too much about immediately meeting demand, though, because you can’t realistically have enough people to address issues in real-time during crunch periods. Instead, ensure that every issue gets acknowledged (most likely by a chatbot) and that you have a guaranteed response window that’s clearly indicated so everyone knows where they stand.

3. Use platform-independent issue and loyalty tracking

Imagine that one customer reaches out to you via Twitter because they need some help with choosing a product. You provide that assistance, then they go on their way. Later, you receive an email from that customer seeking further information, but the assistant responsible for helping ends up sending them the same information they were previously given.

This is an awkward scenario because it can easily make the customer feel insignificant and unmemorable. Is it your fault? Well, not exactly, but it depends on the exact circumstances. Did the person responsible for the email reply ask the customer if they’d made a prior query? Did the social media assistant note down their details? You shouldn’t expect your customers to track these things. Where it’s convenient, they’ll ignore previous queries if they possibly can.

What you need, then, is a combination of two elements: a platform-independent cloud-based CRM tool (CRM meaning customer relationship management: here’s a good example) and a standard procedure for ensuring that every notable customer interaction is appropriately logged.

Source: Apptivo

Whenever a support assistant speaks to an existing or prospective customer, they should note things like their social media handles and their email address. When subsequent interactions arise, then, you can impress that customer by already knowing what they’re looking for and what they might need support with.

Closing note

We’ve only looked at a few tips here, but they’re particularly important ones when you’re trying to consistently outperform your competition when it comes to omnichannel customer experience. Assuming your website itself is well optimized (running quickly, being responsive even on mobile connections, and scaling with demand), a renewed focus on brand identity and comprehensive live support could be just what you need.



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