3 Steps for Taking Stock of Your Omni Channel Experience
Adapting to an increasingly omnichannel retail environment is not something a traditional retailer is naturally inclined to do. Although customers identify established retailers as brands, a closer look into the components of these companies can reveal major gaps in communication and uniformity that are often visible to customers.
Although it's best to continually improve all internal relationships between the various company divisions, generating a quality customer experience demands a high standard of consistency, especially at company-to-customer touchpoints.
Putting a plan in place to make these improvements is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are some broader guidelines companies should use as starting points for generating a higher level of customer experience consistency across each channel.
1. Identify the omnichannel company-to-customer touchpoints
The first step to making meaningful improvements your customers will notice is to accurately identify where they're jumping from one channel to another. These touchpoints can be less than obvious, but have far reaching effects on your brand's reputation when customers are faced with inconsistent information when engaging multiple channels.
Especially relevant for seasoned brands adapting to more modern touchpoints are the areas in which a brand makes direct contact with customers like social media, ecommerce sites, online customer service, and mobile tools. Today, it's not uncommon for a customer to pose a question via Twitter and then be referred to another channel for more information. If these two channels are unable to work together in consistent way, it's the customer who suffers most.
2. Evaluate the consistency of communications between each channel
To assess the level of consistency you're providing to customers, it's best to test the connections from the customer's perspective. There are a variety of services out there geared specifically to do just this.
Some use mystery shopping to compile survey data tailored to analyze cross-channel consistency while others use customer intercepts to get firsthand impressions from actual customers after their shopping experiences.
3. Recommend an ongoing tracking process
After analyzing your data, pinpoint areas where improvements can be made. To ensure that these connections maintain consistency after you've made improvements, establish a schedule whereby minor assessments can be carried out periodically on those areas where problems arose.
If customers inquired about a product via Twitter only to be routed to an ecommerce page where the product wasn't available, continue to make sure this problem doesn't persist by posing similar questions about products that aren't featured online. If the correct answers are given, you can be confident your efforts to improve omnichannel consistency have truly paid off.
If you're interesting in evaluating your customer-facing touchpoints, ICC Decision Services offers a free mystery shopping or customer intercepts introductory program so you can see how the process works first-hand.
Photo credit: Lisa Brewster