Unified data and a unified experience is supported by an Omni-Channel approach. Omni-channel creates a unified approach seamlessly across channels all of your channels like direct marketing, advertising, sales, digital like the web / mobile and customer service (call center). All channels need to be fused into a single approach.
At its core, Omni-channel is about the customer and being obsessed with the experience they have with you. Any thing that is disjointed will throw them off. The focus here is on seamless and consistency.
Many times, off line is forgotten about in this approach. It may be first thing you want to tackle. How can your off line marketing support your online approach and vice versa? Are you spurring engagement with your company? Are you creating evangelist for your products and services?
Your customers are now interacting with you in many ways. They may see your ad at night on TV. They may search for you on the web in the morning on a desk top before leaving for work. They may go to your site during the day on a smartphone or tablet while on the go during the day. While on Facebook, they may look for your page. They may search Twitter to see what others are saying about you. Do they experience the same thing in all those interactions?
A great example of this approach is Progressive Insurance. Check out their web site and see if you don’t recognize the approach. http://www.progressive.com/
Because their journey is dynamic, accessible and continuous, today’s customers increasingly expect a seamless, integrated, consistent and personalized experience with their service providers which current multi-channel models—with their multiple silos of customer contact—are unable to provide. Instead, a fully integrated response to these new customer requirements will need to be both customer-driven and omni-channel in nature.
Here are some important things to know about the complexity of the connected customer.
- They are more knowledgeable than you may think. It is just too easy to search and research a company.
- Customers are becoming very demanding. Customers are under a crunch and value convenience highly.
- Customers are very empowered. They can easily find an alternative to what you are offering and don’t hesitate to if they aren’t engaged with you.
- Customers are increasingly social and collaborative in their approach.
- Customers are extremely diverse and may not fit your traditional market segments.
- Customers are very interactive in their approach. They may ask you a question on Facebook or Twitter and actually expect you will answer very fast.
- Customers on the go and mobile is very important to them. They may consume your content and purchase your services anytime / anywhere.
You might think that this sounds very difficult. There are of course some major challenges. But take a very difficult challenge of retail. How would you approach this? These examples may be helpful in seeing how it can be done in a very difficult industry. Check out these five:
- Crate & Barrel – The company recognizes that many shoppers switch from web to smartphone to tablet when conducting research and completing purchases, so when customers are signed in, the C&B app saves their shopping cart so they can access their information across multiple devices and browsers. This enables them to pick up where they left off no matter where they are in the shopping process.
- Oasis – UK fashion retailer Oasis has an ecommerce site, a mobile app, and several brick-and-mortar locations and it does a pretty good job in fusing those channels to give people a great shopping experience.
- Starbucks – The Starbucks rewards app is frequently mentioned in “top” lists of omnichannel efforts and for good reason: the coffee company does an excellent job in providing a seamless user experience across all channels.
- Sephora – Through its “My Beauty Bag” program, cosmetics retailer Sephora makes it easy for its loyal customers to manage their “loved” products and purchase history from any device.
- Chipotle – Chipotle Mexican Grill is utilizing multiple channels to enable customers to place orders wherever they are. People can place an order online for pick-up at the nearest Chipotle location, and they can also use its official mobile app to order on the go.
Here are the key ideas:
- Start with understanding what omni-channel means your customer.
- Create the strategy to integrate your approach for all channels.
- Identify gaps and easy / quick fixes.
- Begin with a few simple but quickly executable initiatives. Don’t try to rebuild everything.
- Form an Omni-channel engagement team to discuss how to get traction and be ambassadors for the approach.
- Encourage offline and online integration quickly.
- Don’t forget about your customer service (call center) operations.
- Create an integrated content calendar and re-purpose content across channels.