30 second summary:
- Customers these days have high standards for their online shopping experiences that you cannot afford to be careless about your business.
- Before doing anything else, there are some detailed branding guidelines to guide your company’s creative and talkative performance.
- A quick response is paramount as it shows that you are committed to providing excellent service and paying attention to what people say.
- By keeping track of when people contact you and storing relevant information, you can offer a personalized and impressive support service.
Since e-commerce rose to prominence, there has been an increasing focus on omnichannel customer experience for ambitious brands, and it’s easy to see why. Prices alone are not enough to sway buyers or service users when profit margins are so low, and the occasional flashy offer doesn’t bring the loyalty that brings most value.
At the same time, the complexity of designing good customer experiences has skyrocketed. Not only have expectations risen immensely due to the standard performance of the world’s biggest brands, but there’s also far more competition than ever – and it’s much harder to stand out.
In particular, it’s not enough to deliver great customer experiences through just one channel. However you reach our customers, you always have to offer the same level of polish. This is where the omnichannel approach comes in, which leads you to focus on what you’re doing (which is highly doable with your inbound marketing) rather than where you’re doing it.
Here are some tips for creating a consistent omnichannel customer experience:
1. Design and follow clear brand guidelines
For a great omnichannel customer experience, the main thing you need to do is put in place a set of branding guidelines to ensure that all areas of your customer service are on the same page. This becomes a bigger problem the more people work in your company. For example, knowing that the preferred corporate tone is friendly informality will prevent a flawed support assistant from being overly critical.
And if you think this isn’t particularly important, consider how quickly negative comments can spread on social media. If someone has a great experience interacting with your support team on Facebook but sees some scathing remarks about you on Twitter, this will (at least) be a tendency to question you. Depending on the complainant’s identity and influence, this can even completely reverse their opinion of you.
It is a good idea to put in place a system to monitor feedback from all relevant pathways, otherwise you would have to manually search the channels to see if someone mentions you. There are many tools on the market that can do this. So I recommend reading the HubSpot roundup to find out which one is best for you.
2. Invest in extreme responsiveness
Customers can afford to be demanding at this point. Even if there weren’t so many companies providing similar products and services that one could (with rare exceptions) be replaced with a replacement product at any time, we are undeniably living in an age of consumer power. Anyone willing to publicly call a company can cause tireless problems.
If you want to keep customers happy on all possible platforms, you need to normalize not only your responsiveness, but also normalize impressive responsiveness. Whenever you become aware of a problem you need to take action to resolve it extremely quickly. This shows that you have actually invested in making things better.
This will be due in part to the implementation of intelligent automation, particularly through the use of chatbots. However, be aware of the need to adhere to the brand guidelines above. Don’t just include a generic design: assuming you’ve chosen a decent platform, you should be able to customize your website’s live chat with your branded colors, your favorite design elements, and most importantly, content that suits your tone. Extend this philosophy to your social chatbots (anything you provide on Facebook Messenger, for example).
You also need support assistants who can solve complex problems quickly. However, don’t worry too much about meeting demand right away as you realistically may not have enough people to solve problems in real time during times of crisis. Instead, make sure that any problem is confirmed (most likely from a chatbot) and that you have a guaranteed response window that is clearly stated so everyone knows where they stand.
3. Use platform-independent issue and loyalty tracking
Imagine a customer reaching out to you on Twitter for help choosing a product. They provide this help, then they set off. You will later receive an email from this customer with a request for more information. However, the assistant in charge of assistance will send him the same information he was given earlier.
This is an uncomfortable scenario as it can easily make the customer feel insignificant and memorable. Is it your fault Well, not exactly, but it depends on the exact circumstances. Did the person responsible for the email response ask the customer if they had made a request beforehand? Did the social media assistant write down their details? You shouldn’t expect your customers to chase these things. Where appropriate, ignore previous queries when they can.
So what you need is a combination of two elements: a platform-independent, cloud-based CRM tool (CRM means customer relationship management: here’s a good example) and a standard procedure to ensure that every notable customer interaction is properly logged.
When speaking to an existing or prospect, a support assistant should write down things like their social media handles and email address. When subsequent interactions occur, you can impress that customer by already knowing what they are looking for and what they may need assistance with.
We’ve only looked at a few tips here, but these are especially important if you’re trying to consistently outperform your competition in terms of omnichannel customer experience. Provided your website itself is well optimized (runs fast, mobile responsive, and scales with demand), a renewed focus on brand identity and full live support could be just what you need.