Customer experience (CX) and customer experience management (CXM), the business of curating CX, will be what determines whether brands sink or swim in modern markets.
Every article you read regarding improving customer experience will mention the same essential factor: providing omnichannel customer experience.
That may sound like a sci-fi term, and maybe tech heads wanted it that way, but omnichannel CX is actually fairly simple:
An omnichannel customer experience is a unified, streamlined customer experience across multiple platforms that project a clear brand voice.
In this article we will further define omnichannel CX, explain why you should care, and go through some examples of top-tier omnichannel CX (including some common-sense techniques to improve your own).
Click through to the most helpful section to you at your leisure.
Omnichannel customer experience is the linking of customer-to-business contact points in order to create a unified, easy-to-navigate experience across multiple channels.
The key to understanding omnichannel is grasping how it differs from multichannel customer experience, its CX sibling.
Multichannel CX is more of a given in our digital age, whereas omnichannel is the peak, sought after experience that a multichannel business can provide.
Multichannel refers to any business that offers multiple portals or platforms on which a customer could purchase their products. For instance, many retailers have 1) an online store, 2) physical brick-and-mortar locations, and 3) products available on Amazon (and likely even more options).
These are the multiple channels that comprise that retailer’s customer experience.
Omnichannel CX is the seamless linking of all of those channels for the customer's (and by proxy, the brand voice’s) benefit.
A strong cohesive brand voice is conveyed when, for example, a customer can:
The above is an example of a great customer journey, made possible by omnichannel CX.
We’ll go through brands that provide this type of CX and how they got there further down - for now, let’s jump to why you need to care about omnichannel CX.
Omnichannel customer experience adds value by boosting customer loyalty. This leads to decreased customer churn, increased customer lifetime value, and more customers who will recommend your brand.
This is all a function of a clear and helpful brand presence, conveyed throughout the customer experience through attentive and interlinked customer contact channels.
That’s a lot of jargon - it means that if your people are aware of how your customers are interacting with the other purchase and support channels, they can better assist the customer along the way.
The statistics emphatically back up the value this can add to your bottom line.
First off, multi-channel experiences have proved to be of inherent value: The Harvard Business Review found that multi-channel customers spent 10% more online and 4% more in-person compared to single-channel customers.
Emphasizing this further, ClickZ found data demonstrating that the more channels, the better. Their study found that customers who connected with a business through three or more channels both spent more frequently (with a purchasing frequency rate 250% higher than single-channel customers) and spent more per purchase (with an average order value 13% higher than single-channel).
But that’s not all - transforming that multi-channel bump into an omni-channel experience further compounds its bottom line benefits. ClickZ’s study looked into what would happen if all the channels were connected, and found that omnichannel CX was not only preferred by customers, but led to significant boosts in customer loyalty.
Their study found that 9 out of 10 customers preferred a linked, omnichannel experience when dealing with multiple business channels. Businesses that could provide this experience retained 89% of their customers, well outperforming any industry average, and their customer lifetime value (CLTV) was boosted by 30%. This means they spent a third more throughout the entirety of their business interactions.
These numbers are staggering on their own, but doubly so if your business understands the inherent value of loyal customers. Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold not only because of their own purchasing habits, but because of their effect on other potential customers.
Truly loyal customers who have formed an emotional bond with a brand due to excellent customer experience will become vocal promoters of your company. This is better advertising than money can buy as many trust an honest recommendation from a peer far more than any TV spot or billboard.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some tips for your business to implement omnichannel CX.
Building the best omnichannel customer experience for your business must start with taking stock of where you stand.
The most important question to ask when taking stock of this, is: Who are your customers?
Followed quickly by: What do they want?
Once you have determined your core demographic, you must discover their desires and/or the issues they are encountering - this can be done by collecting, and listening to customer feedback.
This is the first of our tips towards achieving omnichannel CX. Our other tips are to:
The customer experience game is rapidly evolving and leaders of the pack are seeking to improve their customer experience by mapping the entirety of their customer journeys in detail.
Analyzing customer journeys from start to finish allows them to locate pain points and see where they are losing customers due to broken linkings (preventing an omnichannel experience).
The most overlooked, and impactful, part of the data analysis process is the actual collection of feedback from the customers.
Your approach to collecting feedback, as well as your attention to every feedback channel, can drastically affect your results. Modern companies get feedback from a variety of channels (surveys, reviews, social media, support surveys).
Read up on how you can design your best possible feedback analysis program here - with the right approach you will be well on your way to better understanding the entire scope of your customer feedback and thus correctly adjust your collection approach.
To make this revamping process even easier, tools like the MonkeyLearn Studio are designed with friendly, compatible API to easily connect with your existing business apps, ensuring the data from all of your feedback sources is effectively collected, properly analyzed, and mined for results and easy display.
This is made simple and easy-to-access with our demo dashboard, shown below. Click here to explore our free, interactive, live demo.
Also known as data democratization, making the most of the no-code data revolution can revolutionize your CX approach by putting the power of data in all of your employees’ hands.
No-code data analysis platforms make it possible for even your most tech-averse employees to harness the power of customer feedback, thus empowering - and linking! - all of your teams. Synergy on the employee side of your company is often mirrored on the outside.
Once you’ve located the friction points within your journey, the obvious next step is to try and fix them.
Luckily, technology has progressed from the days where you had to hand-code a custom solution for every problem. A number of effective, powerful, and easily implemented CX tools exist to solve most issues.
Whether it’s adding readily-available chatbots, live-agent support chat, or using an automatic ticket routing and logging trackers like MonkeyLearn’s, these tools can make your journey to best-possible CX easier.
To emphasize what this can look like, let’s go through 5 examples of industry-leading omnichannel CX and the unique ways they’ve added value.
Industry-leading omnichannel customer experience is difficult to achieve not just because it requires all your teams to be on the same page, but because beating out competition requires implementing outside-the-box, creative solutions to beat out competition trying to do the same.
Here we’ll go through five brands who have been able to do exactly that in their respective industries.
Our standard-of-omnichannel-excellence brands are:
This streaming giant is no stranger to multi-channel options and has not only adapted admirably over the years, but continues to evolve its omnichannel CX across numerous devices.
Long ago, in a business landscape far far away, Netflix was actually a DVD-by-mail company. From that starting point, they made a prescient pivot to become the first to dominate the video on demand (VOD) industry.
With competition multiplying by the year, and VOD becoming a crowded space, they realized that all VOD services (because there are now so many options) would be competing primarily on customer experience.
So, they decided they would invest heavily in personalization.
Specifically, they would make sure that each individual user profile was personalized, and that their personalized recommendations would show up regardless of device. A user would see their specifically generated ‘For You’ page regardless of whether they accessed Netflix on their phone, smart tv, or gaming console.
That, combined with a heavy investment in making sure they had an app for every device and platform, allows Netflix to maintain its lofty place amongst VOD by providing excellent omnichannel compatibility.
As a US-based big box retailer with competition from other giants such as Walmart, Target had its work cut out for it.
But, by focusing on future-friendly online and in-story synergy, they have been able to carve out a permanent spot amongst retail giants. In 2020 alone they jumped from 11th to 8th place in the eMarketer’s top US retail companies list following years of steady growth.
As we hinted at, a primary source of Target’s growth is omnichannel linking of online and in-store experiences. Their secret? A ‘store-centric’ approach that doesn’t compromise any online functionality. Rather, they cater their online shopping experience specifically for in-store pickup, and make sure their employees provide superior customer service during pickups.
This paid dividends - 80% of Target’s online orders in the last year were fulfilled for instore pickup, where a Target worker would personally bring customers’ purchases out to them, often much more quickly than any delivery could have been completed.
Disney is a behemoth with widespread and deep-rooted brand name recognition. But even they have recognized the importance of constant and effective customer experience management, and the value omnichannel synchronicity can add while doing so.
In its never ending quest to provide the most immersive experience possible, Disney found that omnichannel linking of its app, website, and other gadgets is key to making the experience at any of its parts as smooth, intuitive, and distraction-free as possible.
They are, after all, managing an entire world at their Disney World park in Orlando, and want visitors to lose themselves in the magic.
So, they came up with a three prong scheme - they would link physical park, app, and wristband for every visitor.
Their app serves as the guide and the help desk for any visitor and, upon entrance, each visitor is provided with a unique wristband that pairs to their particular app.
The wristband then serves as a magic master key to everything Disney. It is your hotel key, fast pass, credit card and content beacon. Because each wristband is trackable, Disney is able to discern and group any and all pictures of each visitor that their staff or their rides take during their fun day in the sun, then have them on tap if you want to take them with you.
This three-pronged linking allows Disney to deliver an experience like no other - their implementation helps remind us of how key omnichannel customer experiences are to immersion and enjoyment.
Bank of America hardly needs to be reminded of the importance of customer experience - banks have long competed on CX and trust, so superior omnichannel accessibility has remained a key goal for ‘BofA’.
In 2020, however, they decided to take it to the next level by embracing a trend most popular with silicon valley and all cutting-edge tech companies: broad API compatibility and improved mobile functionality.
Bank of America’s new, plug-and-play compatible API is a dream for financial institutions seeking to move cross-border payments (and also a boon to tons of other users).
Essentially, they’ve introduced a remodeled API capable of easily handling foreign currency conversions, guaranteed rates, and FX payments as well as being fully SWIFT FIN compatible.
If that’s all gobbledy-gook to you they have also introduced CashPro, a cutting-edge mobile app for regular customers. Cashpro is able to track your holding and transactions in real-time so you can be the first to know when things go through. It also lets you constantly monitor the value of your money and assets, no matter their location.
Other customer experience tools, including MonkeyLearn’s, have made easy API compatibility a goal, making sure all your software is in sync, allowing for inside and out omnichannel functionality.
A few years ago Vodafine, a major telecom player, had been swept up and sent spinning by a deluge of new players in the digital experience space.
Modern phone providers have to compete in the app, website, and customer service spaces in order to keep up, in addition to providing cell service across physical topography. Unfortunately, Vodafone at the time was falling behind hip new competitors who were gobbling up demographics.
So, Vodafone decided to take matters into their own hands. They created a single interlinked, omnichannel digital experience platform and introduced youth focused VOXI branding to attract younger demographics to said new digital platform.
Digital experience remodeling-wise, this meant doing away with their siloed approach (meaning separate web, app, and customer service divisions) as well as their outdated content management system.
Instead, they implemented a new customer experience management (CXM) system that focused on seamlessly linking website, app and support. To bolster interest, they also launched VOXI, their new youth brand.
That done, the results came pouring in - a resounding success. The numbers, via Inform, speak for themselves:
Omnichannel customer experience should be high on every customer experience strategy team’s list of priorities - but not all of them will approach the problem the right way.
Ignoring (or inaccurately analyzing) customer feedback can lead to bad data, which can lead teams in the wrong direction, potentially wasting fiscal quarters (or even years) along with untold resources.
Make sure your path to omnichannel CX is in the right hands using revolutionary customer feedback and experience platforms like MonkeyLearns - these services can reduce friction points while ensuring data accuracy and saving precious time and money.
Sign up for a custom demo of MonkeyLearn Studio with one of our feedback experts here, or jump right in to a free trial.
September 22nd, 2021