Every loyal customer with a specific brand-affinity wants to feel like they are a “Big Deal”—as well they should. Customers want their experience—whether online, in store, or mobile—to reflect the delight they have for their favorite products and brands. A customer experience that is consistent across all channels leads to loyal brand ambassadors, positive product reviews, and happy social media-sharing influencers. A positive customer experience throughout the customer journey (from presale to post-sale and beyond) will lead to significant increases in average order value, lifetime value, and repeat purchases.
In this post, I will discuss the following items related to the consistent customer experience:
- The definition of the consistent Omnichannel Customer Experience
- Challenges organizations face in creating a consistent Customer Experience
- A real-life example of how of a consistent Customer Experience across channels went awry
Defining the consistent Omnichannel Customer Experience
The Omnichannel Customer Experience represents an organization or brand throughout the customer journey. The experience includes marketing, promotion, ads and media, offers, purchases, delivery, and post-sale interactions. The consistent customer experience should be focused on all touchpoints being targeted and personalized, regardless of channel, location, device, or platform.
Creating a consistent Omnichannel Customer Experience can be challenging
Most omnichannel organizations have historically used different platforms for their multiple channels and have had to deal with islands of disparate and/or duplicate data, processes, and functionality. With different in-house, on-premises, cloud and hybrid cloud solutions for eCommerce, marketing, content management, loyalty programs, point of sale, and fulfillment it’s understandable that a common, consistent presentation of a unified front can be a daunting task. As each channel or department implements new solutions to solve functionality, regulatory compliance, data governance, security, and privacy issues they continue to face the complex challenge of trying to unify the customer experience with one source of truth with respect to data, content, and customer interactions. According to CMSWire’s 2021 State of Digital Customer Experience report, “37% of digital customer experience executives said data silos and/or fragmented customer data are hurting their digital customer experience initiatives.”
A real-life example of consistent Omnichannel Customer Experience gone awry
It only takes one bad experience to make customers doubt their loyalty and look elsewhere—even if they’ve had many great experiences. I recently had one such experience but was sympathetic to the retailer since I understood the challenges they face across channels. I was scrolling through my social media feed prior to going into a store to purchase some gardening supplies. Since I was in the parking lot and had crossed into the store’s geofence, I got an offer for 20% off online purchases. I placed an order on my mobile phone (after all, who can pass up a deal like that?). I promptly received an email stating the items were in stock and I would be notified within four hours when the order was ready for pickup. I called the store from the parking lot and sure enough they had gotten the order. “Great,” I said, “I’m in the parking lot and would be happy to grab the items and bring them up to the checkout. The response back was, “It doesn’t work that way. We have four hours to get the items ready.” I thought, “I’ll run some errands and come back later.” I got the notification that the order was ready and drove back to the store. One of the items—the most expensive item—was apparently not in stock (contrary to what the eCommerce site reported) and the store personnel had picked a better, more expensive model for me—but I would have to go in the store to pay the difference if I wanted the item. Recognizing the value of the better item, I said I would head over to customer service. I explained my situation and said I was happy to pay for the better item less the 20% of course. Again, I was met with: “It doesn’t work that way. That discount is only good for online orders—not in-store.” After patiently pleading my case in a calm, logical manner I was still denied the discount, even though the order source was online. I asked to speak with a manager and was ultimately granted the 20% discount through some additional paperwork and a magic override button. I left the store with products in hand and went about my day (less four hours): a victim of an inconsistent customer experience due to application and data silos.
Providing a consistent customer experience across all channels isn’t just important, it’s crucial and should be centered around a unified customer-centric approach that enables the sharing of data, content, and digital assets that flow across every channel. If your Omnichannel Customer Experience is lacking consistency, please reach out to us. Anexinet has deep experience helping organizations across all industry verticals devise their ideal digital strategy, planning and execution. Or to get started re-imagining customer engagement across all touchpoints, check out our Connected Experiences Kickstart. It may be just the boost your business has been looking for.