Customer experience expectations have transformed dramatically in the past few years. These days customers demand consistent experiences, regardless of the channel they're engaging with a company. Meeting and exceeding expectations to thrive in this new reality has become mission-critical.
Why does this matter?
Whether in the high-involvement retail business, recruitment and staffing, or financial services sector, an omnichannel customer engagement strategy is essential to improve customer responsiveness, resulting in better conversion and retention.
What is omnichannel customer engagement?
A more common term would be multichannel engagement, where companies focus on offering interaction through multiple channels. The most common channels are video meetings, phone, email, social media, and physical conversations. In a multichannel strategy, these channels are all managed on separate platforms.
However, having an omnichannel customer engagement strategy allows you to combine and manage these channels from one unified customer engagement platform.
The omnichannel approach ensures that the tools you use across different channels fit seamlessly together and that each touchpoint provides a consistent experience, creating a more streamlined and optimized experience for your customers and advisors.
In a recent study, Adobe showed that companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies enjoy 10% year-on-year growth, a 10% increase in average order value, and a 25% increase in close rates.
While customers may be flexible and accept different service levels from different channels, they expect that communication remains consistent.
What are the new customer expectations, and why do you need to exceed them?
Customers' needs have changed, making it harder for businesses to keep up and compete.
Here are the six most essential requirements they need to meet and exceed:
1. Customers expect personalization and customization
We increasingly encounter customized content: from Facebook to Google's search results, online customer service must follow personalized experience expectations.
Nowadays, customers expect to be treated as individuals through every touchpoint in their customer journey, online and offline. Offering personalized and consistent experiences and services has become increasingly important during the buying process.
Personalization has become a "hygiene factor": customers take it for granted, but if a business gets it wrong, customers may depart for a competitor.
According to Salesforce's report, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.
Customers prefer to be called by their first name and be offered customized services instead of being treated as unknown people.
Your employees need access to their purchasing history, preferences, and other data. 84% of customers say that being treated like a person, not a number, is crucial to winning their trust.
A streamlined omnichannel customer engagement strategy helps tremendously with personalized experiences across multiple platforms and touch points.
2. Customers expect innovation
Digital adoption has taken a significant leap on the business and industry levels. The pandemic pushed companies over the technology tipping point and transformed businesses forever. Due to COVID-19, companies had to adjust and adapt briefly to more advanced digital offerings.
According to Salesforce’s Connected Customer Report, 88% of customers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives due to COVID-19.
69% of customers believe companies should offer new ways to get existing products and services in the wake of the pandemic, and 54% think they should offer entirely new products and services.
3. Customers expect fast replies and service
Thanks to the omnipresence of social networks, we’re used to being connected to an instant feed of live updates, breaking news, and messages. It has shifted our customer service speed expectations and levels of patience dramatically.
Customers demand fast replies, fast deliveries, and immediate responses to their actions. Gone are the days when filling in a contact form was a convenient way to contact a company.
Customers expect businesses they interact with to meet their needs quickly. Making customers wait during the peak of their interest for, let’s say, 1-2 days jeopardizes their loyalty and could make them switch to a competitor.
It’s essential to create a lock-in if the customer’s buying intention or interest is at its peak.
4. Customers expect convenience with self-service options
Above everything, customers today want convenience. They search for it everywhere, in their personal and professional lives.
As technology evolves, consumers are increasingly likely to try to solve problems without your intervention. Customers want to be self-sufficient.
Customers expect to contact an advisor at the bank as quickly as making a doctor’s appointment or an appointment at the hairdresser. In most cases, they can even book their appointments online, with immediate confirmation and without being dependent on another person’s action.
It does not imply that they no longer want to call and talk to an actual person. Still, it does mean that through the clever use of self-service tactics, businesses can save time and money. This, while still offering a great customer experience.
5. Customers expect around-the-clock availability
Thanks to our smartphones, we can access the world at our fingertips. Our devices are always on and always connected, 24/7. We've grown used to being able to find the information we need and contact whoever we want, whenever we want.
Businesses need to adapt to this new reality and serve their customers when they are active. We studied thousands of customer appointment requests and concluded that more than 40% of these requests happened after office hours.
Many of your customers actively try to engage with you when offices are closed. To tackle this challenge and optimize the customer experience, companies can implement solutions like chatbots and self-service appointment scheduling software.
6. Customers expect connected journeys
Customers see a brand and a business, not a separate department. Any point of your brand and business that touches a customer is part of your omnichannel customer experience.
Customers should be able to move between in-store and online channels without suffering long hold times or being shuffled between experiences.
They should receive consistent service, regardless of the channel they are using. The whole experience should be one cohesive conversation.
According to Harvard Business Review, omnichannel customers spend 4% more in-store and 10% online than single-channel customers. For every additional channel they use, customers spend more money.
How can you successfully implement omnichannel engagement and nail the first point of contact?
By now, we can conclude that offering fast, consistent, and personalized experiences across multiple channels has become mission-critical for companies to serve their customers and have a competitive advantage. But how can you quickly start implementing this strategy?
The optimal way to start is to tackle the point of conversion when a visitor wants to engage with one of your advisors. By offering an omnichannel meeting platform, you can give your customers a personalized experience when booking an appointment.
Customers can schedule their meetings in a self-service manner that is available 24/7 and connects them with the correct advisor immediately.
The customer’s experience flow is personalized depending on the touchpoint they started their journey with, the subject they want to converse about, the location they are from, and the meeting type they prefer (virtual or physical).
Connecting and integrating this platform with other systems will guarantee streamlined customer journeys across multiple touchpoints. To achieve this, you can rely on the expertise and service of Pexip Engage.
Our solution helps connect with prospects and clients through a user-friendly scheduling experience and fully branded video meetings.
By offering frictionless scheduling and video experience, enterprises can guide their customers with expert advice at critical moments in their connected customer journeys.
On average, businesses implementing this strategy experience a conversion rate uplift of 30%, better customer satisfaction, and a productivity gain of 17%.
Guaranteeing a well-streamlined omnichannel engagement strategy means your customers will spend more. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
On top of offering a better customer experience and gaining insights into customer behavior, including conversion analytics and other valuable data across multiple channels will allow you to improve and optimize touchpoint effectiveness drastically.
Creating a seamless customer experience across multiple channels is something that every forward-thinking business needs to embrace. This approach will generate better conversions, increase revenue, and create a strong foundation for future growth.
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