A few years ago and omnichannel strategies were, for the handful of businesses that adopted them, the ultimate factor for improving consumer experiences and invariably promoting sales. Today, on the backdrop of what feels like the most competitive e-commerce and business ecosystem yet, effective omnichannel implementation and management are now more than ever an essential requirement for any business looking to attain success.
Omnichannel systems foster seamless, fluid and wholesome experiences for consumers, but that’s only if they are implemented effectively. For business owners and managers alike, here are some tips to consider for successful omnichannel management implementation.
Mobile is now king
Consumers today are increasingly mobile, in fact per one report by Nielsen no less than 87% of shoppers conduct their shopping on a mobile device. For the business of today, this invariably means increased consumer interaction from the mobile sales point above every other channel. Optimizing and fine-tuning mobile support is integral in this redefined consumer ecosystem and that starts by;
Optimizing all business and shopping content to be mobile-friendly – everything from FAQs, web portal, customer support, etc.; developing a mobile application; establishing dedicated mobile customer service and interaction points amongst other things.
Understand the 21st-century consumer
How does a business develop a seamless and fluid experience for their clients if it doesn’t know what the client categorizes as ‘seamless and fluid’ in the first place? The simple answer is they can’t. Creating an immersive omnichannel experience requires an in-depth knowledge of the needs and wants of a business’s consumer base. Without fulfilling this fundamental requirement, any omnichannel initiative would fail spectacularly at accomplishing its expected targets.
Understanding consumers go beyond the usual email and online survey procedurals. A good starting point would be to track consumer journey using a CRM suite or any other off the shelf tracking tool. This can help highlight value-creating channels as well as friction points native to the marketing and sales model in question. Additionally, businesses must be ready to actively source and analyze rich data to develop insights that paint a detailed picture of consumer interests and preferences.
Establishing and maintaining a strong social media presence is key
Just as being optimized for mobile helps foster a richer consumer experience, connecting with consumers on social media, the place where they spend most of their time when on mobile, translates to improved service delivery. A robust social media presence ensures that businesses connect with their consumers directly, to drive popularity, maximize exposure and foster prompt attendance to disputes when the need arises.
Maintaining a strong social media presence starts from proactively responding to consumer queries. Per one study at least 42% of online consumers expected firms to respond to social media complaints within the hour. It’s also important to set up a social media management team that doesn’t just respond to queries but also possess the requisite expertize and tools to resolve those queries.
Self-service is an effective consumer satisfaction tool
For startups and business with tight budgets, setting up dedicated customer service portals across all consumer points of contact is a luxury that’s too expensive to float. Self-service and detailed FAQ sections present a viable alternative that’s both cost-effective and efficient. Self-service and FAQs sections become an even more attractive proposition when you consider the fact that approx. 50% of consumers prefer troubleshooting on their own before escalating to support.
- The ideal self-service/FAQ sections should be wholesomely comprehensive yet succinct enough to solve consumer issues without being overbearing.
- It should incorporate as much video, image and audio content, as is possible.
- It should be nonetheless captivating to guarantee positive consumer interaction
Cultivate a fitting workforce
A business is only as strong as its weakest link. If the goal is to prosper a seamless omnichannel experience, then its workforce must demonstrate unified knowledge, expertise and organizational culture across all points of contact. To ensure homogeneity, it is therefore imperative for businesses to formulate a hiring process that delivers employees who are not only capable but also compatible with the cultural ethos of the company.
To do this, companies must first define their organizational values and culture. This should then be used as a rubric for screening potential hires. Existing employees should also be trained and retrained on company-specific cultural orientation and best practices.
Finally, a routine strategy assessment guarantees long-term sustainability
While the emphasis is more often than not on implementing new management strategies and optimizing existing ones, it’s also equally important to assess the efficiency of current omnichannel management practices. This is important because it allows businesses to determine what works and what needs to be axed.
In assessing omnichannel strategy performance, the key is to measure obtainable performance against the backdrop of set targets and goals and/or industry performance yardsticks. The insight developed thereof can then be acted upon to overall bolster the performance of the assayed strategy or outright cancel it, assuming it turns out to be unproductive. Overall, the goal as was with other omnichannel management best practices is to sustain a seamless and thoroughly immersive experience for consumers. For businesses that manage to arrive at this destination, it’s fitting to say the sky is but just a starting point.
by Dario Sipos, August 2019