Over the last few years, there has been a lot of buzz around the term “omnichannel”. So much so that you will hear almost every business make big claims that they offer “omnichannel customer experience”.
But as fancy as it might sound, what does omnichannel really mean? And how is it any different from multichannel?
Omnichannel experience has turned the tables for customers. They don’t want to limit their shopping experience to online-only or store-only options and rather demand the best of both worlds. They expect you to offer integrated, consistent, and seamless experiences, no matter when or or which channel they contact your business.
In this blog, we are going to explain the difference between omnichannel and multichannel experience, learn how to build an omnichannel strategy, and see how you can race ahead of your rivals with the right omnichannel software.
Here we go.
What Is Omnichannel Customer Experience?
An omnichannel customer experience comprises multiple customer touchpoints taking place on several channels that seamlessly connect with one another. In simpler terms, an omnichannel approach enables customers to begin their experience with your brand on one channel and continue it on other channels without any challenges.
Let’s understand this better with an example:
Let’s assume a potential customer who is following your Instagram page gets to know about a new line of denim jackets. The customer clicks on the link mentioned in the description of the product image and is directed to your online store. Right before placing the order, the customer uses the live chat window on your e-commerce store to confirm the expected delivery date. Your customer service rep joins the chat and offers the required information.
As we can see, the customer had three different touchpoints with the business – the Instagram post, the online website, and live chat. Each touchpoint seamlessly connected with the other to convert a prospect into a buying customer and led to a wholesome omnichannel experience.
What Is the Difference Between Omni-Channel & Multi-Channel Experience?
Before exploring the difference between omnichannel and multi-channel customer experience, we first need to understand the similarity between them.
In both, the customers can interact with your business across different online and offline channels. However, in a multichannel experience, different channels are not connected to each other. This difference in the level of connectivity is the major difference between the two. Here is an example:
Suppose a customer visits your online store and browses through products that he wants to buy. Now, the customer visits your brick-and-mortar store to check the look and feel of the same product. However, unfortunately, the product is unavailable in the store. The customer leaves without making a purchase.
From the above example, it is clear that a multichannel business may offer a website, social media account, brick-and-mortar store, etc., for customers to buy its products or services. However, these different channels are isolated and are not well-connected to each other resulting in poor customer experiences.
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing refers to the integration of channels a business uses to market its products or services to consumers. The marketing channels can be physical such as brick-and-mortar stores, business events, etc., or digital such as email, website, social media, mobile apps, and more.
The main objective of an omnichannel marketing strategy is to deliver seamless and consistent experiences to help customers discover what your brand sells or about the current ongoing offers. Additionally, omnichannel experts use consistent messaging across multiple channels to encourage customers to buy more.
According to a recent Omnisend study, marketers who used three or more channels in any single marketing campaign witnessed a 287% higher purchase rate compared to those using a single-channel campaign.
This shows how omnichannel marketing can help your business enhance both the customer experience as well as revenue.
Omnichannel Marketing Examples – 3 Hypothetical Businesses
Omnichannel marketing is popular among world-class brands such as Amazon, Sephora, and Starbucks. Here are some examples of omnichannel marketing that will leave you inspired:
Example 1: Omnichannel marketing for a restaurant
A restaurant sends an email to all of its existing customers. The email contains links to its newly launched Android and iOS mobile apps. The restaurant writes that when customers download the app and sign up, they will get a discount coupon that they can redeem during their next dine-in at the restaurant.
Example 2: Omnichannel marketing for a sportswear brand
A famous sportswear brand offers a loyalty program for its customers. As customers shop with the brand and participate in online events, they win reward points for the same. Customers can then use these reward points to get exclusive gifts, special offers, or discounts on online as well as offline purchases.
Example 3: Omnichannel marketing for a home decor store
A small and upcoming home decor store shares short Instagram reels with photos explaining how customers can use specific home decor items to brighten their home or office spaces. At the end of the reel, the brand tells customers they can watch the entire video on its YouTube page. When customers watch the YouTube video, they are given information about the online store where they can buy the mentioned products.
What Is an Omnichannel Customer Interaction?
An omnichannel customer interaction refers to seamless communication that takes place between a business and a customer across multiple channels and touchpoints. Such an interaction involves a unified and consistent brand message, voice, and tone across different channels, such as email, social media, phone, chat, and in-person interactions.
The main objective of omnichannel customer interaction is to enable customers to engage with a company in the way that is most convenient and natural for them while also ensuring that their experience is consistent and personalized across all channels. This approach recognizes that customers today expect a high level of convenience, flexibility, and responsiveness and that companies must be able to meet these expectations in order to remain competitive.
Why Is Omnichannel Customer Experience Important to Your Business?
Businesses that streamline CX across the different channels in sales, support, and marketing stand to benefit more than those that do not.
A study of 46,000 shoppers by Harvard Business Review revealed that only 7% were online-only shoppers and 20% were store-only shoppers. The remaining majority (73%), preferred multiple channels during their shopping journey.
Let’s explore some more benefits of omnichannel customer engagement.
- Become a more customer-centric brand: The future of customer experience is all about giving more control and options to your customers. When you empower your customers to interact with your business seamlessly across multiple channels, you come across as a real customer-centric business.
- Understand the customer journey better: In an omnichannel setting, it becomes easier for your business to understand the nitty-gritty details of the customer journey. For instance, you can understand which channels your customers prefer to interact with the sales team or how many channels they have to use to get their issues resolved.
- Boost sales and revenue: The omnichannel approach is a great way to boost sales and increase business revenue. A study by Adobe found that companies with the strongest omnichannel strategies enjoy a 10% Y-O-Y growth and a 25% increase in close rates.
Read More: How to Create a Customer Centric Culture
Top Tips to Deliver a Brilliant Omnichannel Experience
Every growing business must develop its own unique omnichannel strategy that involves customer-facing departments such as sales, marketing, and customer service.
Let’s quickly explore some tips for adopting an omnichannel approach to CX.
1. Combine Online & Offline Worlds
No matter if a customer makes a purchase through your mobile app or visits your store on his way back from the office, the experience should be frictionless and consistent.
Combining the best of both online and offline channels will help you deliver memorable customer experiences and make it far easier for customers to buy from your brand.
Now, this approach shouldn’t be just for your customers but for your employees as well. For instance, while speaking to an in-store employee, the customer can browse through discounts, payment options, rewards, etc., on their smartphone. Similarly, the employee can use his tablet to search for the product the customer wants to buy.
2. Personalize Customer Interactions
Whether it’s a face-to-face sales conversation that takes place inside your brick-and-mortar store or a customer service call from miles apart, a personalized interaction can make all the difference.
According to a report, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.
In order to meet high customer expectations, offering personalized experiences at every touchpoint has become paramount. Use a customer’s purchase history with your business to recommend relevant products or services.
You can even share personalized content in the form of help articles, guides, videos, etc. to help customers make the most of what you sell.
3. Improve Your Process With Regular Customer Feedback
Any omnichannel strategy is incomplete if you do not directly ask your customers about the aspects of their experience they like the most and the ones they feel need improvement.
Capturing customer feedback will help you answer important questions such as:
- Which marketing channels help us generate more leads?
- Which channels do our customers prefer the most to contact us for support?
- What can we do to make our sales touch points more convenient for the buyer?
- Which new customer service channels do we need to offer?
Share surveys at key touchpoints to capture valuable feedback. Once, you have all the required data at hand, analyze the feedback to improve the omnichannel customer journey.
4. Omnichannel Isn’t a Department But the Entire Company
For building a brilliant omnichannel user experience, there has to be the right interplay between all your business departments.
Business departments often struggle to communicate their goals and expectations with one another when it comes to CX. This lack of clarity can prove detrimental to your business.
While one department manages to meet customer expectations, the other simply causes a poor experience. You cannot afford to offer highly personalized customer service on one hand, but bombard the same customer with irrelevant marketing messages on the other.
Encourage your sales, customer service, and marketing teams to understand the loopholes in the channels they use to interact with customers and find relevant solutions. Remember, delivering brilliant omnichannel experience is a team effort.
5 Tools to Build Engaging Omnichannel Customer Experiences
To successfully execute your omnichannel approach, you need the help of the right tools. Let;s discuss some of the top omnichannel solutions that will help you make every customer interaction count.
ProProfs Help Desk is a leading omnichannel customer service software that can equip your support team with all the tools they need for omnichannel customer engagement. Whether a customer shares his request via email or uses live chat to raise an issue, all conversations can be managed on a single dashboard. Using such a versatile tool ensures you can automate repetitive tasks and offer consistent and seamless support across all channels.
Top Features of ProProfs Help Desk:
- Easily view past customer communications for context
- Promote self-service by creating an extensive knowledge base
- See how your team is performing with the help of daily, weekly, and monthly reports
- Leverage automation features such as auto-ticket assignment for faster service
Starts at $20/agent/month (billed annually).
ProProfs Chat is another tool you should consider to engage with customers in real time. Your sales reps can get the chance to increase the average purchase volume through upselling or/and cross-selling techniques. They can proactively interact with your website visitors and help them make the right purchase decisions.
Top features of ProProfs Chat:
- Grab the attention of customers and prospects with automated chat invitations
- Automate customer communications with the help of powerful chatbots
- Capture visitor details with pre-chat forms
- Get access to 50+ powerful integrations
Starts at $19.99/user/month
BIGContacts is an easy-to-use CRM tool that helps small to midsize businesses manage prospects and customer relationships. You can keep all customer contacts well organized and view contacts by pending or upcoming activity, opportunity, or last communication. This helps you personalize each interaction and boost business revenue.
Top Features of BIGContacts:
- Easily track customer meetings, tasks, web forms & birthdays
- Easy-to-use dashboard, specially built for smaller teams
- Automate and track marketing and sales email campaigns in one place
- Create reports to monitor sales and team activities
Starts at $5/user/month
4. Help Scout
Help Scout is another omnichannel platform that offers a great experience for your customers as well as support teams. The tool helps you manage email and live chat conversations from a single dashboard. Customers can get in touch with your team from wherever they’re most comfortable, and your support reps can work together seamlessly to resolve all of your customer requests and complaints.
Top Features of Help Scout:
- View past interactions and offer personalized suppport using customer profiles
- Encourage self-service with a customizable help center
- Get quick customer feedback with surveys
- View reports to understand which channels are the most popular
Starts at $20/user/month
Read More: Best Help Scout Alternatives for 2023
LiveAgent offers emai, live chat, and phone channels to help you business scale omnichannel communications. In addition, you can bring all your social media conversations on a single platform. For example, you can connect Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Twitter with your LiveAgent account, and convert customer comments or messages into unique tickets.
Top Features of LiveAgent:
- Build an online knowledge base for customers and support agents
- Use built-in contact forms to capture important information
- Track the time spent by agents on each support ticket
- Choose from multiple customizable live chat invitations
Starts at $9/user/month
3 Examples of Brands That Offer Great Omni-Channel Experiences
There are brands that have taken the omnichannel experience from theory to practice. Let’s see how these popular brands have been so successful with their omnichannel strategies.
Disney has become one of those “feel good” brands that are loved by children and grown-ups alike. Over the years, it has made it easier for customers to have a memorable experience and cherish it for the rest of their lives.
Disney takes care of all the minute details of your experience. Every aspect of their website is mobile-responsive and optimized to fit the screen of multiple devices. Visitors to the Disney World resort can plan their entire trip using the My Disney Experience tool. They can use the app to locate various attractions and see estimated wait times. No wonder customers consider Disney as the ultimate holiday destination.
When we talk about the furniture industry, IKEA has always been at the forefront of innovative thinking. And no, we are not just talking about innovative designs or extremely affordable prices, it’s all about the experience the brand delivers to furniture shoppers from across the globe.
‘IKEAPlace,’ a catalog application, allows users to see a preview of how different home decor or furniture items would look in their homes using augmented reality. Customers can browse through different products and save their favorite items as a shopping list to be used on the Web site or in-store. This perfect blend of online and offline channels has made IKEA a top omnichannel business in the world.
Experts rightly believe that Starbucks does not sell just coffee, it sells experiences. Over the last decade, the coffee chain has almost doubled in size, and there were more than 35 thousand Starbucks stores worldwide in 2022. So, what are they doing right?
Whenever a Starbucks user pays with a Starbucks card, credit card, or mobile, the individual earns rewards points called ‘Stars.’ These reward points can be collected to get a special treat on your birthday or a free beverage, depending on the number of Stars collected. Moreover, the Starbucks app also allows its customers to find stores near them, send gifts, or order drinks in time for a hassle-free experience.
The new Spotify integration has been another impressive omnichannel strategy. Customers can find out which songs are playing in a specific store and add them to their playlists.
Go From Multichannel to Omnichannel Today!
Customers who interact with your business through multiple touchpoints such as your business website, social media, email, or physical store, etc. are more likely to stay with your brand and become loyal brand advocates.
An omnichannel approach acts as a layer that simply threads together multiple touchpoints to ensure a seamless and consistent customer experience.
Do you want a free Help Desk?
We have the #1 Online Help Desk Software for delightful customer support