Omnichannel Management is a hot topic today. Most customers are using different channels to interact with businesses. We can no longer expect our customers to visit or call us. Today, businesses are deploying a variety of channels across the customer journey. As such, customers have the option to choose the channel they wish to use to interact. Businesses and customers are using email, social medial, mobile applications, live web chat, chatbots, messenger apps, web portals, web forms, web calls, callbacks and more. As businesses, we need to remember that it is best if we interact with our customers using their preferred channel or channels. We need not move customers from one channel to another. Why ask me to email if I have called you? In addition, we need to identify interactions across channels that originate from the same customer.
Every business must be aware of the channels that work best for the different types of customers they serve. If you are serving consumers directly, what channels are best for you? Does your business need an e-commerce site? Is an Instagram shop the best option? If you are serving other businesses, which are the best channels to use? Is a web portal preferred to a customer hotline number? Should multiple channel be in use? Making the best decisions requires an understanding of our customers at the granular level. Some of the questions that businesses must ask themselves include – How do our customers like to interact? How often do they interact? What pain could they be facing during interactions? What needs to be done to reduce the pain? Are the current channels in use stand-alone or integrated? How can we make it easy for our customers whether they choose to use a single channel or multiple channels?
The customer journey has evolved over the years. The number of channels available across the customer journey is growing rapidly. Unfortunately, many businesses are serving their customers in silos. Some customers get in touch via phone also follow up via social media. Are we able to tell that it is the same customer? To gain a 360 view of customers, streamlining all customer interactions is critical. It is for this reason that smart businesses are integrating as many channels as possible into a single interface. This has led to the concept of Omnichannel management. Businesses need to be able to know if the customer who contacted them on phone yesterday is the same one who has placed an order via the website. This requires the integration of the different channels into one place.
Businesses going through transformation and automation of their customer journeys need to have omnichannel management as their number one priority. Such businesses must not lose sight of their customers’ needs as they go through such a transformation. Of utmost importance is the need to understand and fulfil customers’ expectations with speed, accuracy and least effort. Omnichannel management is making the end-to-end customer experience smoother and reducing possible friction from the use of different channels. Businesses considering an improvement of their customer experience must look out for the right technology partner!
Dr Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer. Connect via Twitter @KiruthuLucy