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01 March 2018 / by Gareth Hill

The Importance of Omnichannel Customer Experience

It’s easy to dismiss phrases such as omnichannel customer experience as just another set of trendy buzzwords and phrases to describe age-old ideals around best practice when it comes to delivering what the customer wants. And, while there’s an element of truth to this (the path to sales and marketing success is littered with catchy buzzwords, after all), the reality is that the rise of digital technology has changed the business and retail landscape, and customer expectations, beyond all recognition.

Moving across multi-channels

The buying journey for today’s customer is not a straightforward path. The expectation is that companies should have the facility to deliver a consistent message and service across a multitude of channels, such as:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • SMS / Text Messaging
  • In person / In Store
  • On Mobile

Of course, most businesses will know that having a presence across these channels is important. But omnichannel is not just about having a presence on the various platforms but taking a holistic, universal approach to the way you engage with your clients.

Consistent Customer Experience

Omnichannel is about the delivery of a consistent experience for your clients, regardless of the channel in which they have engaged with you. Furthermore, it’s maintaining this consistency when this engagement moves to another channel or platform.

At a simplistic level, this might be the expectation that your experience on desktop and mobile device is consistent - the reason that the world has now moved to mobile responsive websites. Maybe it’s the expectation of consistent engagement across social media platforms.

But what about the shift between online and offline?

While we can all find figures that point to an undeniable rise in e-commerce, mobile technology has given rise to new trends and behaviours that bring the online and offline realms into closer proximity; such as the increasing habit of researching online (via mobile) while in-store.

Those companies who are truly embracing the modern omnichannel customer experience, are the ones who find ways to maintain consistency and personalisation of service at every online and offline touchpoint.

The Data Factor

Using data for customer insight is as old as merchant services itself, in one way or another. And, in today’s environment, where the experience delivered is considered such a high-value item, then the data we are able to glean from these different touchpoints can make a huge difference to your business.

It can be applied across any and all sectors. Financial consultants who can retrieve past conversations, enquiries, social engagements, or pre-appointment questions when booking, for example, enabling them to offer a personalised service; or even to allow future recommendations.

In retail, finding ways to understand the buying habits, likes and dislikes of the customers who come into your store can enhance the personal experience and develop that sought-after loyalty between brand and buyer.

How?

Engage online through social platforms, or online appointment making, encouraging the customer that they are going to feel valued and welcome when they arrive at the shop.

Those at the cutting edge of this omnichannel approach – such as the Farfetch ‘Store of the Future’ concept – are those who are reaping the benefits of customer loyalty, and long-term stability in the face of rising challenges from the e-commerce companies.

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