3 Rules for Delivering an Omni-Channel Experience
December 2, 2014
By: Jonathan Carney
I recently purchased a new suitcase for my holiday. I started by researching products on a retailer’s site via my smartphone and then made the purchase on my laptop. I decided to order online but pick up from a store near my office for convenience. In theory, this was a great idea. Unfortunately, it also proves how little I know.
The online order was the easy part – the checkout process was easy to navigate and the in-store collection timings were clear. The in-store pickup, however, was a different story. I struggled to find the collection point, and had to wait in queue while a sole employee dealt with all the online orders. Not only did I have to wait for 15 minutes, but the employee then had trouble finding my suitcase. What began as a pleasant and quick purchase quickly turned into frustration.
So where did the retailer go wrong? The retailer failed to deliver on their omni-channel experience. That is, the retailer didn’t provide a single, seamless experience across all customer touch-points. When omni-channel is done right, each interaction the customer has with the company should be consistent, complementary, and reflective of the brand promise.
The online purchase and in-store pickup didn’t offer a smooth customer experience. When I went to the store, I expected the same experience as I did with the online purchase – easy, quick and streamlined.
So how can retailers ensure they are delivering a seamless omni-channel experience?
1) Use your customer journey map
A customer journey map is a powerful resource. It not only outlines how people interact with your brand, but more advanced journey maps also take into account how people feel at particular touch-points. Use your map to understand what customers go through when they are trying to reach their goal – what channels do they use and in what manner. What are the pain points that customers have to overcome and how can you make this experience easier for them? By understanding how your customer feels and behaves at different stages in their purchasing process, you can design more customer-focused experiences.
2) Listen to your customers across all channels and touch points
As part of my suitcase shopping experience, I provided the retailer with feedback about the purchase, both directly, through an email survey and to in-store staff, as well as indirectly (I tweeted my annoyance at having to wait in the in-store collection queue). Listen to your customers, analyze their feedback and look at their experiences as one single journey. In doing so, you can find the pain points and holes in the customer experience you deliver.
3) Train your employees
Your employees are the face of your brand. Show them how they fit into delivering the overall customer experience and share best practices on how to help temper a negative customer experience.
Your customers view your company as being just that – one company. They don’t differentiate between departmental silos or internal systems. They simply expect a single, seamless experience, regardless of how they choose to interact with your brand.