‘I feel seen!’: The omnichannel experience – making a customer feel valued and building better relationships
As channels multiply and customers seek out constantly evolving ways to communicate, the linear customer journey is long gone. Instead of a neat, predictable series of interactions, customers now bounce happily from one channel to another, merging online and offline, making the leap to purchase once they have built trust and confidence in a brand.
An omnichannel approach isn’t just proving necessary for brands that want to stay ahead, it offers benefits for both business and customer. From a business perspective it can contribute to more efficient automation, it enables continuous refinement of systems, and aligns process and strategy to meet customer expectations. For the customer, real-time interactions and intelligent personalisation can enhance their experience in a meaningful way.
A valuable experience
‘Experience’ is often talked about as the ultimate objective for omnichannel marketing, but what does that look like in reality? When done well, omnichannel marketing can move the customer beyond one-dimensional, one-way interactions, to an experience that adds value and fosters brand affiliation that can be long lasting. For a truly positive experience across channels, marketers must put the focus onto the customer, and ensure their experience is consistent, coherent, and forges a connection.
As humans, we thrive on certainty. A brand that meets your expectation instils trust. Whether visiting a website, scrolling past an Instagram post or receiving an email, consistency is key to customer confidence. One way to do this is to create matching luggage. This approach optimises content to ensure it fits the channel and brand flawlessly, whatever journey a customer takes.
Uniformity should apply to both branding and tone of voice, providing customers with a sense of security in knowing who the brand is. A unified approach should also eliminate conflicting information across channels, helping to boost the brands credibility. For a completely consistent experience images and videos need to be formatted for each platform, ensuring assets are appropriately represented cross-channel. Treating each channel as the unique opportunity it is allows content to reach its full potential. Brands who repurpose content across channels without making adjustments, or paying attention to the messaging and character count, will stand out for all the wrong reasons.
We all want to feel like we matter, and these days we expect brands to recognise us as individuals. It’s not just that inputting your details every time is frustrating and a drain on your precious time, but when a brand shows recognition of our personal tastes and preferences or our previous interactions, it humanises the experience and signals that the brand care.
By harnessing the capability of customer data platforms to continuously enrich a customer profile it’s possible to create a seamless experience across channels, allowing customers to pick up where they left off, wherever they touch in. A Single Customer View shifts the focus onto the customer not the channel, facilitating a holistic picture of the customer and enabling effective personalisation that will resonate. Using data insight to develop a deeper understanding of the customer serves to strengthen the customer relationship. The more customers feel seen, the more inclined they are to interact, and the more they interact, the better you know them.
What do we mean when we say ‘experience’? Often what we are pursuing in an experience is a connection on an emotional level, a deeper level of understanding of you as a customer and your needs. Omnichannel marketing provides more opportunity than ever to connect with the customer, because it meets them wherever they are. But to genuinely engage with a customer requires showing an understanding of their pain points, desires and motivations, all wrapped up in a visually stimulating, user-friendly design.
Good design can make a brand stand out, but satisfying design can solidify a customer’s brand commitment. Paying attention to accessibility, with appropriate text size and optimisation for dark mode, can stop a scroll in its tracks whilst meeting the needs of a sizeable portion of the population. Image selection must consider the channel to achieve maximum resonance, ensuring it fits the tone, look and feel to reinforce the message and chime with the audience.
Alongside visual elements, messaging can give insight into the brand culture and value that a customer can connect with. Key to this is an understanding of the customer demographic and which channels they use and using appropriate messaging that fits, so it feels authentic to the channel whilst staying true to the brand.
If done right, omnichannel marketing has the potential to be a powerful force in engaging customers, but only when they remain at the centre of the experience can that potential be realised.