It’s a brave new world with information and communication at our fingertips. Anything you want to know should only be a click away. But is it? Most of us will identify with the frustration that occurs when it isn’t.
On the other side of the coin, businesses are eager to share information. They want people to know about what they do, and they want to get leads and conversions. More than that, they want to retain clients and get referrals.
Whichever way you look at it, businesses need to be where their customers are, whether that’s in store, online, or on social media. As for the ubiquitous mobile phone, it’s the tool of choice for both you and your customers. Ignore this fact at your peril!
With new ways of doing business, new terms come to light, and “omni channel,” “omni-channel” or “omnichannel” is one of the buzzwords you may have heard. So, what’s omni-channel, and how and where should you be applying the omni channel approach?
First, Let’s Define Omni Channel
The online dictionaries have been busy, but as so often happens when you’re trying to produce a neat, concise definition, a lot of info gets lost along the way. Search engines support a definition that says the omni channel model consists of integrating different types of shopping: online, using mobile, and visiting physical stores. But there’s much more to it than that.
“Selling” is a bigger word than it may look like on the surface, and getting people interested enough to buy is only the first step. Let’s trace the process and see how omni channel methods apply.
A Broader View of the Omni Channel Approach
To begin your customers’ journey, we have omni channel marketing. Here, businesses try to reach their prospective clients using all media at their disposal. It can be an expensive business if you’re going to try it in its purest form, which would mean using absolutely every type of media to gain exposure. But you can trade off omni channel vs multi channel instead. Can’t afford TV ads? No problem, hit social media and AdWords hard. Use all the online options possible, and you’re working the omni-channel vs omni-digital difference.
But that’s just the first step in selling. Next up, we want to catch our clients where they are, and sell to them. Your physical location or locations can’t really do this, but your digital ones can. After all, just about everyone surfs the internet using computers and phones. Once there, they won’t just be visiting websites: there’ll be plenty of time spent scrolling through social media. Link your marketing posts to your online store, and purchases from all over the world come flooding in, at least, if you play your cards right.
But somewhere between awareness, a buying decision, and the checkout, there’s another area that needs the omni channel approach. That’s customer service and support. Find your customers across channels; sell to them wherever they may be; but you’d better be sure you have customer service available on every channel your customers use, and it had better be available 24/7. Let’s not forget that the customer’s journey isn’t over until he or she is satisfied, so that means after-sales service too.
Now, let’s put this in the context of a global marketplace. Impossible? Capital intensive? It doesn’t have to be. Let’s dip our toes in the water with some examples of how you can apply the omni channel approach. But first, let’s look at the benefits.
How Omni Channel Solutions Help Different Industries
No matter what industry you’re in, your customers are either your top promoters, or your most influential detractors. Happy customers mean even more customers, and that’s why omni channel solutions can help you to take your business to the next level. We already know that various platforms can help organisations to get more customers. But once they’re converted, customer experience and service often forms the basis on which your business is judged.
A lot of the most successful companies in the world are using the omni channel model, and a look at the big names famed for their successful application of this strategy could turn into a long one. Think names like Starbucks, Ikea, and Amazon. But it doesn’t end there. Energy companies, pharmaceutical firms, and the automotive industry are just three examples of industries that are leveraging the omnichannel approach to boost sales, improve the customer experience, and gather data.
Did we mention data? Communication is a two-way street. You need to know what your customers are thinking and saying: what you’re doing well, and what you need to do better. Keeping your finger on the pulse across channels helps you to know what matters to your customers. As you can imagine, this requires some pretty smart software to process all that information and dedicated staff to capture it.
What are the Trends?
With the power of omni channel approaches being harnessed by so many big names and brands, it comes as no surprise that building on this success is the trend. Contactless selling is big. Social selling is huge. And, despite the breadth of this approach, social networking and one-on-one contact adds a personal touch. That might sound like a tough call when you’re dealing with thousands of contacts a day: even more so when you’re doing this across the globe. But it really is possible to be omni-channel, yet give customers a feeling of connection.
In part, customers can gain this sense of belonging by supporting brands and companies favoured by friends and family members. But interactions between individuals and the companies they deal with seal the deal. That’s where RSVP provides an inspiring example of how companies can keep it personal despite adopting a ubiquitous, omni channel approach.
Personal Service in an Impersonal World
RSVP understands that your omni channel marketing and sales efforts are only as good as your ability to “walk the talk.” When your customers contact you, they may be happy with a chat bot for simple queries, but they’ll only get frustrated if all they can get is generic responses.
There are times when customers want to talk to a person, and that person must be a good listener and a strong communicator. They don’t want to repeat themselves either. If they already called, emailed, and messaged via social media, they want whoever they’re dealing with to pick up the conversation where it left off. Omni-channel is big, but small is beautiful when it comes to the customer perspective. They don’t want to feel like “just” another customer.
Needless to say, this means having a contact centre that’s equipped with some pretty advanced Customer Relationship Management Software that gives you the complete 360 degree view of your customer. Showing every touchpoint via every channel, with operators equipped to resolve any query, regardless of how the customer prefers to interact with your brand. It also means having brand representatives who are able to speak your customers’ language, both literally and in the figurative sense. And since data gathering helps you to improve, you need feedback on recurring issues.
For most companies, having an in-house contact centre that checks all the boxes is a tall order. Try it and the personnel costs alone are likely to be very high indeed. Outsource it cheap, and your customers are sure to notice. You’ve probably experienced this first-hand, so we’ll skip the details here. Suffice to say that it’s painfully obvious.
However, it’s entirely possible to outsource your omni channel contact centre seamlessly – provided your chosen communications company prioritises quality, both for you and your customers. At RSVP, we have the tech and the people you need to make your customer interactions memorable, and for all the right reasons.
Looking to market your business across multiple channels? Looking to sell anywhere, anytime with revenue just a click away? Ensure that your contact centre is ready to support your efforts. Need help? Let’s talk omni channel business! Call us today.