The distinction between omnichannel communications and multichannel communications is frequently blurred, and yet critically important for any company looking to optimize their revenue streams and CRMs. Omnichannel is not having consistent messaging on different mediums like social media, email marketing, and websites. It’s not having customer service reps interacting with customers online and having a chatbot. What differentiates omnichannel from these forms of multichannel communications can be boiled down to one thing: data.
Yes, the above procedures play into omnichannel comms, but what differentiates an omnichannel strategy from a multichannel strategy is your organization’s ability to share the information and data collected on customer interactions in order to inform other parts of your business.
Let’s consider a hypothetical. Customer X reaches out to your company via social media. A week or two goes by and X executes a purchase on your company’s website. Finally, a few months go by and X calls your company’s customer representative line. You’ve built a great team so I’m sure that the call went well, but there was likely some back and forth that occurred between X and your rep. Questions were asked, information was taken down, and time was consumed. This is both inefficient and not the best customer experience one could expect.
If your company has implemented an omnichannel communications strategy into your CRM, things may have gone a bit differently. Information about the user’s initial point of outreach via social media would have been recorded and a customer profile created. Then, the purchase that was made would have been added to the profile. Finally, when X called, your customer service rep would have immediate access to this information, giving them the opportunity to show that they are well informed on X’s journey and allowing them to understand X’s purchasing behavior in order to offer other products or services.
Why is this so important? For starters, the customer journey is less cumbersome and more fluid, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Less time is wasted transacting information and recalling past interactions with the company. How is the customer supposed to feel like a valued individual if they have to report all past communications with your team? They’ll feel like a total stranger. Greater customer satisfaction naturally leads to greater customer retention, which is, of course, a crucial goal for any organization.
I’m sure your organization, as most do, offers multiple products or services. It’s evident that information about one sale can be invaluable when closing another. The initial purchase will lead to key understandings about your customers’ needs and the opportunity for your company to address those needs with additional offerings.
There are a number of examples (many in retail) that further highlight the value of the insights an organization can gain from incorporating omnichannel communications. One of my favorites is with the footwear brand Timberland. When a user visits a Timberland retail location, they can use a tablet to learn more about the brand’s apparel as they shop. Based on the products they view, the company is able to build a user profile, which can be used to deliver follow-up promotional material. They can also track other metrics like success-rates and post-visit purchasing behavior.
This is all very exciting, but admittedly there are some concerns that may arise. One which likely stands out immediately is privacy concerns. It seems as though there’s a constant deluge of data breaches hitting the newswires. Consumers are more concerned now than ever about their personal data and the companies that collect and store it.
Luckily, new technologies like blockchain are helping combat this. By now, many of us know that the implementations of blockchain far exceed cryptocurrencies. With coupled with a CRM, the data security mechanisms inherent to blockchain technology, decentralized storage and encryption, can help ensure that your customer’s personal data is out of reach of nefarious individuals who would want to access it.
The added transparency afforded by blockchain also addresses the growing concerns that individuals have with the way the companies handle their data. Look no further than the latest attempts by leading consumer technology brands, like Apple, to reassure customers that their privacy is of the highest priority. Amplifying the opportunities to address the growing privacy concerns and control issues, blockchain can allow customers to review what data is being seen or used by the brand that they are doing business with. This process will allow trust between the customer and the company to grow, and with it, brand loyalty.
Omnichannel communications that are tightly tied to CRMs are incredibly beneficial and the companies who jump on board sooner will be the ones who are able to best develop an exceptional consumer experience and life-long customers. And what could be better for your company’s bottom line than that?