A Guide to Omnichannel Customer Communication
How to set up a framework for successful omnichannel communication.
What is omnichannel communication?
An omnichannel experience used to be at the cutting edge of marketing. Now, it’s a necessity.
Omnichannel communication integrates every single customer interaction from across channels – whether it took place on a website, in a mobile app, on social media, SMS, or anywhere in between. The goal? To provide a seamless experience.
Say someone reaches out to a customer support hotline. Instead of waiting on hold, they have the option of receiving a text message when they're next in line to speak to someone. Once they receive that text message, they hop on a call with a support agent – only for it to drop. The person then reaches out over live chat. The agent on the other end should be able to immediately identify who this person is, the ticket they opened, and already have the context of what they were reaching out about to quickly resolve the issue.
That's an example of omnichannel customer communication.
3 key components of successful omnichannel communication
A true omnichannel approach is built into every aspect of customer communication, from how you learn about people’s needs and interests, to when and where you deliver personalized messaging. Here are three key components to keep in mind.
1. Integrated & personalized messaging
Consistent, highly personalized messages displayed across channels lead to higher engagement and conversion rates. Personalization is crucial to customer satisfaction: 62% of consumers say a brand will lose their loyalty if it delivers an unpersonalized experience.
Marketing automation is a powerful tool for sending highly personalized messages in real time. Take the real estate platform Orchard: they used marketing automation to track customer behavior and identify actions that signal buying intent (like scheduling an appointment or revisiting a home listing). The company then sets up specific messages to be triggered by these actions, which increased their lead reactivation by 10%.
2. Consistent design & branding
A cohesive visual identity, and distinctive brand voice, helps customers immediately recognize your brand – no matter what channel they’re on. This type of brand consistency pays off, increasing revenue by 33% (on average) for businesses.
Your brand’s interface should look and work the same no matter where you access it, whether it’s on desktop, mobile, or in an app. This ensures that no visual or functional discrepancies will interrupt the customer experience as they switch between channels.
Creating style guidelines for both brand and voice is essential to ensure that every team knows how to communicate consistently. These guidelines should reflect:
Your brand’s core values: What sets your brand apart from competitors?
Your brand’s personality traits: Are you professional and authoritative or casual and relaxed?
Dos and don’ts: What tone or language should you include or avoid?
3. Unified data
Unified data provides full visibility into the customer journey, so you can understand patterns in customer behavior and proactively adapt your strategy.
Over 70% of customers expect brands to understand their unique needs and expectations. But to do that, you need to collect customer data. When customers are switching between channels and touchpoints, it’s easy for data points to become siloed between teams and tools.
To avoid any gaps in understanding, businesses should work on consolidating data, standardizing naming conventions (to avoid duplicate entries), and creating a single source of truth within their organization. A customer data platform can help with this endeavor, by merging disparate data into complete user or account-level profiles. This means you’ll be able to see how customers interact with everything from paid ads, to blog posts, and customer support chats, in real time.
How to sync communication across channels
You know the key components to make omnichannel communication possible. Now, let’s walk through the more concrete steps to put it into action.
1. Standardize data collection
A standardized process for collecting data makes analyzing customer behavior easier, faster, and more cost efficient. Once you’ve optimized how you collect data, you will understand your customers on a deeper level that enables a more personalized experience on every channel.
In order to pinpoint all your data sources, first identify each touchpoint throughout the customer journey, such as your company blog, product reviews, customer support conversations, and customer satisfaction surveys. Then integrate these sources into a robust customer data platform like Twilio Segment so you can easily store, manage, and analyze data in real time.
To ensure that any incoming data follows this system, use standardized formats when collecting data. Marketing automation already standardizes common metrics like web traffic, email opens, and clicks. But open-ended, customer-submitted data, like form fills for lead generation, can be tricky to standardize. Adding drop-down menus to online forms is one way to force format consistency from the get-go. You can then import those standardized responses into your customer data platform to more accurately segment leads by industry, job title, or company size.
2. Make sure marketing, sales, & support are all using the same data
Both customer-facing employees and automation tools require a single source of truth to deliver a consistent customer experience. With access to a shared database, your team members will spend less time collecting data and more time discovering new insights and providing an exceptional omnichannel customer experience.
Landbot, which offers a self-service, “no code” chatbot builder, used Segment’s customer data platform to unify and transfer all data directly to integrated tools for marketing, sales, customer support, and product development – increasing accessibility to customer data by 80%.
3. Use identity resolution to track customer engagement across channels
The majority of website visitors start out as anonymous. But there is still a way to link that anonymous data to a known customer profile, with identity resolution.
Identity resolution consolidates every customer interaction into a single unified profile so you can deliver a more personalized experience across all platforms.
Identity resolution automatically merges disconnected customer profiles to avoid duplicates and other errors that decrease the efficiency of your marketing. For greater accuracy, use an identity resolution tool that employs a deterministic approach, which resolves identities based on what you know to be true rather than making predictions.
4. Measure where customers are engaging with you most
The buying journey isn’t always linear, so you need to follow your customers’ actions through various channels before and after they make a purchase. Once you’ve identified all the channels where potential and current customers engage with your brand, compare engagement rates to determine where to focus your marketing efforts.
For example, if you’re seeing high engagement on Instagram and Facebook, you could consider allocating more of your marketing budget for paid social ads. If you see low engagement for email campaigns, you could opt to run a few A/B tests to try and get to the root of the issue (and better optimize this channel).
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