In an omnichannel economy, where customers will interact with companies and brands in a range of different ways (both online and offline), often within a single transaction, the expectation for quality and consistent experiences has never been so high.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why it’s become imperative to not only deliver a great omnichannel experience, but actually exceed your customer’s expectations, and how applying effective technology like an online booking system can help create this consistent and high-level cross-channel experience.
Customer Experience – A Definition
To understand the importance of delivering great customer experience, it’s fairly important to understand what we mean by the term.
In short, customer experience can be defined as the overall feeling, response or perception a customer has for a company or brand following ALL of the different interactions and engagements they have.
These responses or perceptions will inevitably have an impact on the way in which they behave towards the business. Any negative interaction tends to stay in the memory, and can have an impact on future loyalty to your brand.
However, providing a good experience in and of itself, is often not enough. A good experience is the general default expectation for a customer.
To stand out from the competition, the experience you deliver needs to stand out, be memorable enough, or provide a level of value that sticks positively in the mind of the customers, prompting them to return and advocate what you offer.
Consistent Omnichannel Experience Increases Customer Retention
It’s not necessarily enough for a business to have a presence across all channels – you know, sound social media output, responsive website, easily accessed customer service call centre, friendly face-to-face interactions.
For a business to maximise their ability to retain loyal customers in the long-term, all of these platforms need to be joined up, working as one fluid form of engagement with the customer, as opposed to disparate, stand-alone silos.
Businesses that are offering a consistent omnichannel experience, where customer engagement on one channel is seamlessly picked up when moved to another, are reporting a 91% customer retention rate versus those businesses who haven’t implemented an omnichannel strategy (Source: Loyalty360.org).
Using online data to deliver offline service
One of the most effective ways to positively grab the attention of your customers is to personalise the service that you provide them, demonstrating that you are listening to their needs and offering a product or solution that delivers what they specifically want.
The typical buying journey for a customer is no longer restricted to one channel, going through a linear process from search to purchase.
More and more often, the journey will weave from online channels such as visits to a website or reacting to a social media post, to potentially picking up the phone or visiting your store, branch or offices, before making a final decision to buy.
If you can utilise information gathered at each of these interactions, it enables you to provide a service that’s tailored to them through personalised recommendations and considered advice.
We’re not just talking about applying cookies on your website to analyse the pages they visit, but to actually use these platforms to engage with the customer in a way that you really understand their likes, preferences, and requirements.
This might be in the form of surveys, questionnaires or some form of social engagement – the information from which should be applied to build a profile of the customer in your CRM.
More than this, however, is the opportunity to truly connect your online and offline experience to build the positive relationship with each customer.
Intelligent Booking Systems for Customer Intelligence
As much as online engagement is a vital, and inevitable, part of the buying journey, underestimate the power of the offline experience at your peril.
In a retail sales environment, for instance, there is still a place for traditional channels such as physical stores or branches, and face-to-face consultation.
Using your website and associated online channels to encourage personalised consultations is a proven way to make the overall customer experience more memorable, more profitable, and more likely to breed long-term loyalty.
Your online booking system, for example, can create a simple way to arrange an in-store consultation, while the booking process offers a simple, user friendly way to capture the information required for your sales team to provide the personal, bespoke service that will lead to increased sales.
Maybe, on the other hand, you’re offering places on a course, an event or perhaps renting out a facility within your organisation.
By providing a simple online process to acquire the offline product your customer wants (rather than time-consuming booking forms or waits for an email response), offers the simplicity that curries favour and encourages future bookings.
Utilising the information gathered at the point of booking to ensure a tailored service (the correct room lay-out, and the teas and coffees delivered at the right time, for example), offers further encouragement for the customer to stay loyal to you in the long run, safe in the knowledge that you are using listening to their requirements and delivering them efficiently and productively.
Delivering great customer experience is, or at least should be, a priority for companies seeking to attract new business and retain a loyal, profitable, base.
Having an omnichannel strategy that offers a consistent message and simple means for customers to move between online and offline channels without having to repeat their requirements with every engagement provides you with the platform to meet standard expectations, before going above and beyond and creating an experience that’s positive, memorable and enticing enough to keep the customer satisfied and loyal to the brand.
At thinkBooker, we specialise in online booking systems for training courses, classes, activities and events – optimised for efficiency, growth and ongoing client satisfaction.