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24 November 2017 / by Gareth Hill

In this article we’ll look at the ways a modern booking system can enhance customer engagement in an omni-channel market, where the online and offline world are increasingly indistinguishable.

The internet has long since ceased to be a separate entity to the ‘real’ world. Mobile technology and the cloud has enabled the internet to weave itself into the very fabric of almost everything we do; the distinction between online and offline increasingly difficult to establish.

It’s a move that’s having an interesting impact on business marketing strategy.

As customer’s move more fluidly between online and offline engagement, the expectation of a consistent journey across each channel grows keener. This is the cornerstone of omni-channel marketing, a strategy that utilises the many available channels ensuring they all work in cohesion, leading the customer towards the point of sale on seamless journey. Even as they flit between the online realm and the physical space.

The goal for all business marketing is to get the customer to the point of sale; and in an omni-channel environment, the utilisation of technology such as appointment booking software can play a significant role in achieving this goal.

Here are six reasons why:

Appointments made easy

For many businesses, getting prospects into a consultation or meeting forms a key part of the sales journey. Financial services, for example. The initial touchpoint for a mortgage enquiry is likely to be via internet search, although customers’ would likely still require the personal ‘face-to-face with a human’ when it comes to applications. Delivering a simple, seamless way to book a consultation online offers a positive customer experience, setting the tone for quality service throughout the process.

Taken a step further, by allowing the facility for the client to include key data at the point of booking, the better your ability to deliver a personal, tailored service at the consultation.

In-Store Events

In-store events or experiences have grown in prominence for bricks and mortar retail marketing, as a means of increasing brand awareness and generating some ‘buzz’. But it’s through the internet and social media in particular where this buzz is initially generated. Something that can be further enhanced by adding an air of exclusivity to the event: limited places or VIP invites, with guests booking into the event through an online link.

Customer Insight

Encouraging your customers to book their appointment or place at your event via an online booking system offers you the chance to gather customer data that can be integral to future personalised marketing activity across physical and digital channels; designed to strengthen the relationship between client and brand at every touchpoint.

Personalisation

As we’ve discussed on these pages before, there’s a strong tendency for consumers to use the internet for research before heading to the bricks and mortar business to make their final decision.

Booking systems can be deployed online to help encourage them to your business rather than your competitors by offering personal shopping or consultation appointments, taking the information upon which you’ve been researching and using it to deliver a tailored approach at the sales meeting.

Efficiency

In many cases the booking process will act as the bridge between the online and offline activity; directing customers from a website or other link towards the product, service, venue, or appointment they need.

Automating this aspect of the journey not only adds to the customer experience, but removes much of the admin required to ensure the smooth transition.

For instance, automating confirmation emails can save inordinate amounts of time in the business, without compromising the personal touch you wish to deliver.

Cross-Channel Booking Processes

Given the recognition that your customers are moving across multiple channels on their buying journey, shouldn’t it also follow that any booking system you have do likewise?

While the option is there to book online, it might be that the client is not ready at that point (a wedding venue, perhaps, where a second viewing might be needed). Having a system that can easily be used in person or over the phone, capturing the transaction and essential details in the same place, ensures that the customer experience remains seamless across channels, while maintaining the efficiency in your processes.

To find out more about thinkBooker and how it can help improve your omni-marketing strategies, and bring greater efficiency into your workflow, please get in touch today.

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