There has been a profound change in the customer journey in recent years: an increasing number of touchpoints, the gradual evolution of sales models and an accelerating trend towards online sales require a structured approach in order to create an engaging omnichannel experience, explains Amal Dopchie, France Consultancy Director and Bid Manager at SQLI, a European digital services group.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DELIVER THE BEST POSSIBLE OMNICHANNEL EXPERIENCE?
The many touchpoints and the central role played by mobile in the customer journey are calling into question the idea of a “monochannel approach” or “channel silos”. Journeys are becoming discordant and complex, whereas their convergence is needed. Consumers are looking for a seamless experience, at all times and in all places, without having to worry about the idea of channels, from searching, to finding inspiration, making a decision, sharing and all the way through to the crucial conclusion of the purchase. And we shouldn’t forget the next stages of the journey, when consumers can be ambassadors or require after-sales services, including product returns and refunds.
SO, HOW CAN WE BUILD SUCH AN EXPERIENCE?
First, we need to gather together customer data scattered throughout the company and journey, without viewing it in its entirety. Next, we need to optimize processes to avoid friction, stumbling blocks, response-related incidents and conflicting messages between various interactions that can occur in stores, on the web, over the telephone, and so on. Improving governance is another aspect that should not be overlooked: convergence must be achieved between business and technology visions, with constant and global sharing of the various stakeholders’ needs and challenges. With ever higher acquisition costs, it has also become crucial to maximize customer conversion, using more sophisticated and personalized strategies (retargeting, remarketing via emails, text messages, etc.). Lastly, we need to develop a more “human” and “empathic” vision of brands. As people find themselves submerged by reams of inconsequential and non-personalized information, brands have a duty to deliver relevant messages and services at each step of the journey, whatever the channel.
WHICH TECHNOLOGIES SHOULD WE TURN TO?
Today, there is still a lack of capability to identify and recognize customers at all touchpoints, in order to rapidly produce a convincing and personalized recommendation. In the case of stores, the aim is to have the sales advisor put forward a service or complementary purchase that takes into account the customer’s history, or, following a visit or purchase, to send out relevant messages without bombarding them. Few solutions today manage to deliver a truly global and omnichannel experience.
To meet this challenge while remaining pragmatic, we should focus our attention on:
Visualization and tracking: to unify part or all of the journey using connectors or data-visualization tools, in order to reconstruct the trails left by customers. The aim is also to harmonize and enhance the journey by bringing together tools.
Communication and personalization: opt for solutions that unify existing data, both physical and virtual, in order to send out the right messages and develop new workflows that are more relevant and personalized.
Solutions that do not require a long integration process and do not run the risk of “compromising” our clients’ current IS setups.