As consumer preferences for communication continue to shift towards digital methods, marketers, sales representatives, and customer support teams need to adapt their communications strategy accordingly. Instead of thinking of ways to provide a stellar phone experience versus a chat or text message experience, you’ll want to focus on unifying your messaging and service experience across your different communication channels. More brands are working to adopt an omnichannel communications strategy that eliminates any disconnect customers may feel in interacting with them via different methods, and provides a seamless, consistent experience—no matter how they choose to contact them.
In this post, we’ll break down the basics of what an omnichannel communications strategy looks like and why it’s important to invest in this model for your business with tools like Contact Cloud.
What are omnichannel communications?
Omnichannel represents a cross-channel communications strategy that organizations use to unify and improve their user experience across methods. With an effective omnichannel strategy in place, there should be no disconnect between the various touchpoints a consumer has with your brand, including how they feel when interacting with your customer service team, the type of visuals or branding they’re exposed to, and their expectations for being able to connect with your business in a timely and effective manner across your different communication channels. According to NapoleanCat, “A customer in an omnichannel experience should feel that no matter how or where they reach out to your business, they’ll get the same impression and experience of your brand every time.”
Businesses that employ omnichannel communication tactics often see higher conversion and retention rates as well as increased customer satisfaction because customers are empowered to contact them in the way they prefer, while still experiencing the same level of service.
Today’s consumers enjoy several ways of communicating with businesses, including:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Form submissions
- Live chat interactions
- Social Media
- Messaging apps
Among these channels, live chat and text messaging in particular have seen significant growth over the past several years with consumers. Live chat, once considered a “nice to have” feature, is now an essential part of any customer communications strategy. More than half of consumers prefer to contact a business over live chat versus phone calls or other methods. This is because it’s easy, allows them to multi-task, and reduces their wait time to connect with an agent. Similarly, 66% of customers prefer to communicate via text message versus phone. And with a whopping 95% of text messages read in the first three minutes, there’s no doubt adopting an effective text messaging channel for your business to communicate is a rapid way to engage new leads as well as customers.
The difference between multichannel and omnichannel communications
You might be thinking, “Well, I already have all (or some) of these communication channels, as well as a website, a blog, and social media accounts, and I’m using them to connect with my customers.” Note, however, that simply having multiple channels running at once does not mean that the experience is unified and seamless across them. Even if they are each effective in their own way, if they are not aligned and working together, then they are not considered omnichannel.
All onmichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multichannel experiences are omnichannel. -Hubspot
An omnichannel experience takes into account each platform and device a customer will use to interact with your company in order to provide your customer the right service in the right way at the right time.
Why is omnichannel important?
Delivering a positive customer experience has never been more integral to achieving success as a business. Your customers want to contact you in the method they prefer and receive a rapid, satisfactory response. By adopting multiple communication channels and making the experience communicating with your brand across them seamless, you are able to eliminate any disconnect or friction for customers as they interact with you.
- Deliver a seamless customer experience
- Eliminate disconnect and frustration for customers
- Empower customers to contact you via their preferred method
Adopting omnichannel also makes good business sense. When you can consolidate and simplify your communications strategy, you’re able to respond to customers more quickly and effectively—especially if you can consolidate channels into one platform that multiple teams can use, like CallTrackingMetrics.
Challenges in adopting an omnichannel communications strategy
That said, managing a number of communication channels presents a real challenge for businesses of any size. As you scale, you likely will have different teams or people dedicated to managing your channels—and with that, an array of tones, personalities, and approaches to engaging with customers. (Not to mention varying bandwidth for managing inquiries and response times.)
You may have a large cohort of employees dedicated to answering phones in your call center, but only one or two social media or community managers addressing comments and questions coming in across multiple social media accounts. In turn, it can be frustrating as a consumer to have one customer experience over the phone, and an entirely different type of interaction over live chat. After a negative customer service experience, 39% of customers said they would avoid a company for two years. 91% of customers who are unhappy with a brand will just leave without complaining.
While it’s more expensive and takes time and resources to invest in coordinating your communication strategy across channels, adopting an omnichannel strategy will elicit higher ROI over time because you will gain deeper insights into all the touchpoints customers have with your brand and deliver a stronger customer experience.
Finding the right tool that can help you automate your messaging across channels helps guarantee a more streamlined and consistent experience for customers, especially as you scale. And, if your tools also empower you to proactively engage with your customers, such as through a chatbot prompt or automated texting to re-engage past customers when it’s time to renew their service, then you’ve uncovered new opportunities to drive sales and revenue just by updating your communications strategy. Exploring a platform such as Contact Cloud by Bipath can help you unify your customer phone calls, texts, chats, and form fills all in one platform, making it easier to monitor your conversations and ensure you’re delivering a top-notch support and sales experience across channels.
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