As global businesses jockey for a competitive edge, the term “omnichannel customer experience” is increasingly gaining traction across diverse industries. Telecommunications firms, retailers, restaurants, and services businesses are just a sampling of the companies focused on providing each customer with a unified service interaction.
An omnichannel experience provides benefits for customers and businesses alike. With that said, however, adopting this technology-driven approach does come with certain challenges. Fortunately, workable solutions are available for businesses of all types.
Omnichannel Customer Experience Defined
An omnichannel customer experience consists of distinct customer touchpoints over multiple communication channels. If the customer stops engaging on one channel, they can pick up the conversation on another channel. All participating business personnel will share the most current information.
If the customer is ordering a product or a meal, they’ll have the same seamless experience on every channel. If the customer is trying to resolve a problem, they won’t have to repeat their problem’s details every time they speak to a new customer support agent. This understandably reduces customer frustration and contributes to a smoother overall service experience.
Not surprisingly, 21st-century customers have come to expect these efficient service interactions. In essence, they are outgrowths of the top-tier customer service online shoppers received during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, omnichannel communications deliver this seamless customer experience on every channel.
Mitto Offers Industry-Leading Insights on Omnichannel Communication
In every industry, certain companies are recognized for their targeted expertise and leadership. In the global telecommunications arena, Switzerland-based Mitto has a decade of omnichannel communications expertise. To date, Mitto has worked with clients in diverse industries across the globe.
Shortly after Mitto’s 2013 inception, the company’s leaders recognized SMS/text messaging’s wide-ranging potential applications. To create the framework to handle these projected needs, the firm’s developers built a versatile platform with plenty of extra capacity. Ilja Gorelik, Mitto’s Chief Operating Officer (or COO), detailed the progression of the company’s telecommunication services.
A Robust A2P SMS/Text Messaging Platform
“Our company was founded in 2013 with the specific aim of building a state-of-the-art Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS messaging platform, unrivaled in reliability, that could support the requirements of a new wave of A2P services.
“As the demand grew for enablement of omnichannel communications capabilities, we expanded our portfolio beyond SMS. [We] now include voice, chat bots, all major chat apps (WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, etc.), Google Business Messaging, RCS, myriad CRM and marketing platform integrations and, most recently, pre-built tools for bulk campaigns and conversational support chats. Simply put, we make communication happen,” Ilja Gorelik emphasized.
Communication on Customers’ Preferred Channels
Not surprisingly, customers in different countries often prioritize certain communication channels. Ilja Gorelik detailed the frequently used channels and noted that Mitto has the expertise to help brands adopt the right channel(s) to reach their customers.
“Global brands have global customers, each of which interacts with brands slightly differently. Some prefer to interact with brands on SMS, some on chat apps like WhatsApp and Viber. Some don’t have a preference; they want the ability to engage with a brand on whatever channel is most effective at that moment in time,” Ilja Gorelik stated.
By communicating on a customer’s channel of choice, the brand shows that it respects the customer’s preferences. The brand also stands a better chance of reaching that customer to deliver a promotional message, discuss a customer support issue, or wish them a Happy Birthday.
“There is no single channel to reach every customer, there is no perfect message, and customers’ expectations for brands are sky high. Mitto’s services help brands navigate this complexity,” Ilja Gorelik remarked.
Speaking with One Unified Voice
Regardless of each customer’s preferred channel(s), Ilja Gorelik reiterated that brands should convey their message with one cohesive voice. “Brands need to speak to customers wherever they are ─ be it SMS, Chat Apps or other ─ with a single consistent voice. Otherwise, they risk losing them and their revenue. Drawing multiple digital channels seamlessly together will become a foundational element to unify customers’ touch points across all channels.”
Finally, Ilja Gorelik mentioned two key elements of Mitto’s omnichannel communications technology. “Through its global partnerships with mobile network operators and its advanced routing capabilities, Mitto gives brands the flexibility to meet customers wherever they are with the speed and agility they require today,” Ilja Gorelik enthused.
Navigating Omnichannel Communication Challenges
As with other business innovations, adopting an omnichannel communications approach does come with its obstacles. By being adaptable and creative, and perhaps seeking guidance from an industry leader, companies can resolve each omnichannel communication challenge.
Data Silo Isolation
Data silos are typically standalone departmental data repositories that often contain non-standardized and/or inaccurate data. These virtual silos can also hold individualized problem solutions that cannot be adapted for use in other departments. This often creates inefficiencies throughout the entire corporation.
Data silos also greatly inhibit data collection and negatively impact the customer experience. In addition, the silos can discourage innovation. When departments essentially do not “talk” to each other, creativity and collaboration are stifled.
To make data silos a thing of the past, brands should insist on effective interdepartmental communication and cooperation. With an integrated customer-centric platform, departments and teams can contribute to a central data bank accessible by every department. Over time, these efforts can help to banish inefficient data silos.
The J.M. Smucker Customer Experience Solution
Marissa Eisenbrei, J.M. Smucker’s Manager of Omnichannel Marketing, emphasized the importance of a cohesive customer experience. Data silos have no place in this integrated solution.
“It’s so important to create a holistic experience for your shopper and make sure your brands are showing up consistently throughout every part of the consumer journey whether it be digitally or in store…Each channel should work together in unison to deliver one experience,” Marissa Eisenbrei remarked.
“Since a consumer journey typically consists of multiple touch points, chances are there are several teams within an organization supporting different areas of the same journey…Cross-team data integration, sharing, and capturing is really the only true way to break the cycle,” Marissa Eisenbrei emphasized.
Knowledge of Brand Dynamics Is Key
Deep knowledge of the brand vision and voice, and knowing customers’ opinions of the brand, are key to providing good customer experiences. Marissa Eisenbrei recommended that brands should determine how they want customers to regard the brand identity.
“Knowing what your brand stand[s] for, thinking about how you want your consumers to feel about your brand, and investing in how your consumers will experience your brand, will all help drive connection with consumers,” Marissa Eisenbrei noted.
Facilitating a Consistent Customer Experience
Businesses choose the communication channels mix they believe will best reach customers and prospects. Zach Marcov is the Home Depot’s Omnichannel Delivery Strategy Manager. He stated that implementing the optimal framework for delivering a consistent omnichannel experience is a complex task. Each customer’s needs help to determine the proper approach.
“Messaging those options to help point them in the direction of the option that is best for them, without confusing them, can be challenging…If you get it wrong and end up confusing them, they’ll find someone else that can be more clear in their offerings. If you inadvertently get them to choose an option that’s not best for them, you could lose a customer for good,” Zach Marcov warned.
Loic Rethore Stresses that Omnichannel Requires “Continuous Improvement”
When adopting a new business strategy, companies may expect a smooth, speedy implementation that’s followed by quick, measurable results. However, international business consultant Loic Rethore said omnichannel is essentially a “long game.” With 25 years in the retail industry, including the luxury and consumer electronics sectors, he’s a respected authority in this rapidly changing arena.
Here, Loic Rethore described the ongoing omnichannel evolution. “Taking your company fully omnichannel is a process of continuous improvement. The Japanese call this Kaizen. Try something, plan it as well as you can. Implement, then fix the problems, and build on the successes as you go.
“One thing is guaranteed: You will feel excitement, as well as fear, going down this path. The fear that you might get stuck, or that a new strategic direction, culture initiative, or new technology doesn’t work – or worse, does more harm than good. You never know if it’s going to work as you envision. And when it involves the whole company, everything is at stake.
“But I promise you, the rewards are tremendous when you challenge the status quo. As a leader, it’s your job to make sure your business is still around in 20 or 50 years. And not just surviving – but evolving and thriving. Taking your company omni is key to this path,” Loic Rethore summarized.
Streamlining the Omnichannel Communication Experience
Bringing omnichannel communication online may have its challenges. However, guidance from a recognized expert can smooth out the bumps and streamline the process. Once the components are operational, customers will enjoy a unified service experience on every channel. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers and generate referral business.