Hideki Hashimura
Hideki Hashimura 15 October 2018

The omnichannel imperative: key steps to success

The importance of providing a strong omnichannel experience during your company’s digital transformation cannot be overstated. Simply meeting the complex modern customer expectations with an omnichannel experience is a baseline that doesn’t necessarily set your company apart. To truly succeed, the imperative lies in providing a customer-centric service that is a real value differentiator.

While this is true for any customer relationship, it is particularly difficult to achieve in a B2B sales environment. Although consistency is the aim of any t customer-centric service, the realities of B2B relationships with longer sales cycles, contractually set service levels, greater investment in time, money, and resources, alongside having multiple stakeholders can prove challenging.

With so many factors at play within the context of this competitive modern landscape, how do you provide the best possible omnichannel experience?

Concentrate on the 6 Pillars of Customer Experience

The 6 pillars of customer experience are building blocks of customer service that are rooted in the psychology of experience. The fact is, every client you have is a relationship, and relationships have the ability to strengthen or weaken. Addressing the various factors needed to drive a strong relationship can be boiled down to six pillars:

  1. Personalisation. As every client is unique, it stands to reason that no two should be treated in the same manner. Personalisation helps you establish an emotional connection through individualised attention.

  2. Integrity. All relationships are built on trust. If your client doesn’t trust you to deliver in key moments, there is little growth left in your collaboration. However, before gaining trust, it’s important your client believes you are in the position to deliver on your promises.

  3. Expectations. Meeting expectations is a case of rowing upstream – if you stay still, it’s the same as going backwards. Simply meeting expectations adds little value to your company, as you are providing the same service as your competition. To truly stand out, you need consistently meet expectations to keep the relationship afloat, and exceed them when it really matters.

  4. Resolution. Negative experiences can be unavoidable.  However, how you anticipate and deal with those errors, turning a negative moment into a positive one, can be extremely important in strengthening your relationship with your customer.

  5. Time and effort. The aim of a good omnichannel experience is an entirely frictionless experience. This means that you have to reduce unnecessary waiting time and other pain points in order to avoid situations that lead to frustration and potential churn.

  6. Be Capable. Your customers need to know that you “can deliver”. Their performance goals have a direct bearing on the success of your relationship going forward. It’s important to keep this in mind as omni-channel becomes crucial in your company’s ability to deliver the service and levels of engagement you promised. Empowering employees with the right technology tools will make sure that you generate the trust you need to increase NPS and drive recurring revenue.

Focus on key moments

Many businesses are concerned with being ready for every eventuality, at any point in the relationship. This can quickly prove to be impossible as being ready for any possible situation  is destined to result in surprises and inconsistency. Instead, it’s more beneficial when planning your omnichannel strategy to concentrate on key moments that drive the relationship forward.

The fact is, one bad experience at the wrong moment can destroy a relationship, regardless of how many positive ones came before. If the customer experience was excellent up until the point of sale, and there is a significant problem with the product, they encounter an inconsistent experience littered with pain points This could drive the customer to go elsewhere in search for more convenience, thus abandoning the relationship.  

This is especially important in a B2B relationship where there is a higher chance of a large, ongoing collaboration. Positive experiences at key moments have a cumulative effect, and this serves to drive trust and loyalty.

Plan your target experience for each moment

To provide a truly valuable omnichannel experience it’s important to leverage these techniques in the most appropriate and valuable manner. This means that key moments must be identified. For example, once you have established the pre-purchase key moment in the life cycle, the next step is to ask yourself about the target experience you wish to deliver and then drive that experience with the right technology.

In this instance, the desired experience is undoubtedly reputation. You want your client to feel you are capable to deliver on your promises. This would be achieved largely through a strong omnichannel service, where customer queries in the research stage are swiftly dealt with, inferring the promise of trust. Furthermore, while planning this target experience for each moment, it is also important to be aware of what pillar of experience you are basing it on (in this case, integrity).

Ensuring you have an omnichannel service that truly sets you apart from the competition and provides real, extra value to the customer is no easy task. Every market has become highly competitive as digital transformation increasingly continues to be the defining characteristic of success. However, in terms of value differentiation, an omnichannel service that goes above and beyond expectations is the the driving force behind strong, trusting relationships, and is increasingly synonymous with sustainable, long-term growth.

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