Going the omnichannel way is no longer a choice for brands. Customers expect brands to be reachable across channels including social media, apps, calls, emails as well as at the physical stores. A study done by Harvard Business Review on 46,000 customers, in a 14-month span reveals that over 73% use more than one channel in their shopping journey. These Omnichannel customers are more valuable to businesses than the traditional shoppers because:
- They are avid users of retail touchpoints.
- In the six months after their purchases, they had logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the stores.
- They were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends.
However, executing an Omnichannel strategy is complex and it is important to understand customer expectations from going Omnichannel.
They expect every channel to “know” them equally
When a customer initiates interaction with you on a “new” channel, he expects you to know him already. It does not make any sense to him if you can identify his profile when he calls from his mobile number but not when he drops an email from his registered email address.
They expect all the channels to be “in sync” with each other
To a customer, it is all about convenience. He effortlessly moves between one channel and another based on his daily schedule and convenience. While he switches to a new channel, he expects that his current channel is aware of all of his previous interactions with other channels. For him, whichever channel he uses, he is still speaking to the brand. He expects you to be channel-agnostic.
They want a consistent experience across channels
Each brand has its own unique personality. This personality is expressed through its colors, its website layout, the tone of its frontline staff, etc. In other words, every touchpoint speaks volumes about the character of the brand.
Customers expect the brand experience to be consistent across all the channels. Let’s say your brand personality is young, energetic and trendy and your website, social media accounts portray it very clearly. If you add a new channel, i,e, call center, customers expect the agents to speak the same language. They are going to be shocked if the call center agents speak in a formal, serious language.
They expect their feedback to be taken seriously, irrespective of the channel
Customers do not generally wait for the brand to send them a feedback form to give feedback. Every conversation they have with the brand gives some insights about his experience. Customers expect brands to take all their interactions seriously, no matter what the channel.
When you are collating and analysing feedback from different sources, it is important to correlate it with the point in customer’s journey as well.
They do not want brands to reach out to them personally, without their explicit permission
Customers trust you with their personal information when they share it. They do not appreciate brands (or for that matter, anyone) intruding into their personal space. Even if a customer has voluntarily shared his mobile number with you, seek permission before reaching out to him on Whatsapp (or any other medium that uses his mobile number). Brands should be careful to not let the customer feel like they are intruding in his personal space.