Imagine being able to predict exactly what your customers want and need in every situation – whether they want to make a purchase, get information or solve a problem – and to deliver the perfect interaction in precise times and places.
CX leaders have been doing this for years, using omnichannel strategies to deliver everything from high-impact marketing campaigns to advanced customer service. All driven consistently and across every channel using cloud technology and centralized intelligence.
Businesses that remain cautious about creating seamless interaction experiences risk losing customers, as well as struggling to attract new ones. The good news is, there’s still time to catch up with the early adopters. And it’s now easier than ever to roll out an omnichannel communications strategy if you partner with a single cloud communications platform with market-leading APIs and tools.
Let’s take a look at some of the (perceived) barriers to successfully engaging with customers on all the channels they use – and how to jump right over them.
First some reassurance
Take solace in the fact that the vast majority of businesses with omnichannel strategies in place still have lots of work to do to:
- automate all the interactions across their customer journeys
- implement all the channels their customers want to use
- come close to capturing and leveraging the types of interaction insights that inform the customer journeys designed by true CX leaders.
Also be reassured that catching up with omnichannel practitioners is relatively simple because the right cloud communications platforms (particularly those with good account and support teams behind them) allow you to implement engagement solutions – and add channels to your omnichannel mix via APIs – extremely quickly.
Cost vs opportunity
Budget constraints are one of the most commonly cited barriers to omnichannel implementation. For organizations still weighing up resources, ask yourselves this: can you afford not to try unifying engagements? Customers whose needs are met on every channel tend to spend more, more often – quickly justifying investment in the right solution. Using the right engagement platform to automate customer interactions also gives you an incredible opportunity to handle customer growth. You’re suddenly able to deal with any number of interactions. And even more importantly, you’re able to give customers a great experience with each and every interaction.
Take this example from Carsome Group. The used car ecommerce platform launched a new online car-buying service, on top of its selling function. Inbound customer queries provided an exciting stream of new leads, but failing to respond on people’s preferred channels meant it couldn’t tap the opportunity. Carsome Group implemented an end-to-end strategy with Answers (our chatbot building platform) to engage web queries, and our cloud contact center, Conversations, connecting prospects with more complex queries to agents. Being available to offer real-time support and engagement (combining chatbots and WhatsApp Business) increased lead conversion by 10%.
Setting up channels
Interacting with customers on their preferred channel, and using the best channel to meet their needs in specific situations, are central to offering good CX.
Beyond the traditional voice and email channels there’s SMS and all the chat apps such as Messenger, WhatsApp and Line. Different apps are popular in different regions and age groups. There are also the tech giants’ own messaging channels, such as Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messages. And there’s also live chat to think about.
It’s important to note that omnichannel is about more than using multiple channels to communicate with customers. At its core, it’s about having a holistic communications and customer experience strategy that reaches across your organization, the various channels you use, and your customer journey. Even if you just use email, SMS and voice, you can start implementing a joined-up omnichannel strategy.
Connecting the data dots
With the numerous channels people interact on today and the rise of new social platforms, you may well be questioning the feasibility of engaging efficiently with customers in all these places at all times.
You may picture unmanageable data complexity – reams of siloed data held by separate systems and disparate vendors – and wonder how on Earth to start connecting it.
What you may not know is that moving to the right cloud communication platform will allow you to integrate all this fragmented data in a centralized intelligence hub. By bringing together everything you know about customers, you can give context to communications across all channels. A customer data solution, sitting at the heart of your communication platform, can be used to centralize information from a variety of online and offline sources.
This might include data from CRM systems, contact centers, websites, payment systems or loyalty programs. Far from complicating your communications, the right data-driven omnichannel rollout can simplify everything.
The right services and support
Staying within the rules when you’re using a whole variety of channels is simple enough – but only if you have the right expertise alongside you.
Marketing, for example, is subject to many rules and policies that relate to spamming, customer permissions, content, and general customer experience. You’ll need to understand whether you need explicit customer opt-in, or whether communications need to be initiated by the customer vs the brand. These rules vary by channel and can change at any time.
None of these are barriers. Rather, they are reasons to ensure you work with a cloud communications provider with the experience and expertise to deliver the support you need.
Omnichannel and your contact center
When you have an omnichannel system in place, your human agents can almost be seen as another channel – perhaps your most valuable one. So it’s important to build processes that free up as much of their time as possible. If you choose a cloud communications provider with the right contact center solution, your customer agents can be located anywhere in the world but have the customer’s entire interaction history at their fingertips.
They can handle multiple conversations at a time – overseeing automated chatbot conversations on a variety of channels such as SMS or messaging apps, and interacting directly with customers (via both messages and voice calls) when necessary.
The first steps to become an omnichannel first-mover
It’s important to understand your customer journey so you can identify friction points or churn triggers as well as opportunities to improve the experience. Then you can evaluate the best channels for your needs. You can start with a single use case and take it from there.
It’s now easier than ever to join the omnichannel movement. Choose a cloud-based, one-platform solution from a provider with the right expertise and global reach, and you’ll start delivering omnichannel experiences that secure your own future growth.
You may also like:
- 8 trends that will shape business communication
- How unified communications helped UNICEF cut donor churn by 33%
- Simplifying omnichannel communications
Want to talk about implementing omnichannel to drive customer success at your business?