Tuesday, September 17, 2019

4 Ways Omnichannel Customer Experience Will Change in 2019

Liz Alton
April 01, 2019

3 minute read

Today, the omnichannel customer experience (CX) is quickly evolving into the core brand CX. Consider: Forbes notes that both B2B and B2C transactions have more touchpoints than ever before. Brands designing and delivering their omnichannel customer experience have more opportunities to get their CX right. Here’s how the view of omnichannel is evolving in the year ahead.

Omnichannel is the new minimum threshold for brands

For the last few years, brands have focused on omnichannel delivery as one component of the CX. In 2019, there’s a fundamental shift in the way brands think about omnichannel, as every part of the CX becomes crucial. However, as Shep Hyken writes for Forbes, customers don’t worry about anything other than choice and convenience. Today, competent omnichannel delivery is the minimum bar brands have to hit to compete successfully.

Hyken notes that “‘Omnichannel’ means nothing to the customer. There will be more ways for customers to connect to the company, but so what? Customers don’t care about terminology; all they care about is being able to connect with the brand however they want to.” In response, brands are revisiting the customer journey and investing in CX technology.

Deeper data integration across channels for consistent emotional experiences

Developing a winning omnichannel customer experience starts with understanding who your customers are and what they want. While brands have more data than ever before, they’re still struggling to turn that information into a cohesive picture of who their customers are. Today’s CX technology is making it easier to map buying behaviors to social media interactions and other touchpoints for a more realistic, real-time understanding.

At another level, there’s an increased concentration on delivering a strong emotional impact that drives conversions. According to the Harvard Business Review, “emotional connection matters more than mere customer satisfaction” to the CX. In 2019, brands are moving beyond solutions that don’t communicate or strategies that collect data in silos to ask a critical question: How can technology deliver not only a consistent experience, but a consistent emotional context for customers across channels?

Embracing the dynamic customer journey

As Aberdeen explains, “Customer journeys, however, are dynamic; customer behavior evolves rapidly, and so do the related journeys. Therefore, to keep up with changing buyer behavior, companies must have real-time visibility into customer journeys. Only then will firms deliver truly omni-channel interactions.”

Eliminating friction between channels

An effective omnichannel journey doesn’t just mean having a channel strategy. A successful omnichannel strategy eliminates the friction between channels so customers can start a transaction on one channel and end it on another. As one expert noted in an interview with Inc, “While most consumers expect the ability to shop seamlessly across channels, only 7% of retailers currently provide a complete unified commerce experience by allowing a customer to ‘start the sale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere’… With customer expectations continuing to rise, it is promising to see how many retailers are focused on adding new capabilities to enhance the shopping experience.”

For brands, getting the omnichannel customer experience right simply means developing a winning CX. Creating feedback loops to gather customer intelligence, inform interactions across channels, map the evolving journey, and then take friction out of the buying process are defining how successful brands move forward in the year ahead.

Liz Alton
Liz Alton
Liz Alton is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B technology, digital marketing, and the customer experience. Her clients include creative agencies, Fortune 500 brands, and venture-backed startups.
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