Beyond giving some marketers somewhat of a God complex, the word “omnichannel” has come to define what all companies should be doing in their marketing, customer service, education, fulfillment and other key business functions. Omnichannel is how consumers expect to engage with brands.
Multichannel vs. Omnichannel
Multichannel means engaging with customers across multiple channels, on different devices and different platforms.
Engaging with consumers across multiple channels is always a step in the right direction, but truly immersive customer experiences are omnichannel over multichannel.
At the heart of omnichannel is a high level of interconnectivity between channels characterized by:
Customer data aggregation. By bringing customer data together into a central location, companies are able to personalize experiences and segment messaging down to markets-of-one.
Feature accessibility and universality. If you can do it on one channel, then you should be able to do it on others. A fantastic example of this is how many financial services companies enable customers to deposit a check remotely by snapping a picture with a smartphone.
(Feature accessibility has its limitations of course—for example, it’s not possible to try on a piece of clothing via smartwatch. But the more universal you can make features, the more extensive your omnichannel presence.)
Consistent design. By keeping design consistent across channels, customer experience and customer journeys are seamless and delightful.
Creating an Omnichannel Presence
Access to a vast landscape of Big Data and marketing technologies makes jumping from multichannel to omnichannel a possibility for everyone with the budget. But many companies struggle to create a well-rounded omnichannel presence due to entrenched data measurement cultures that are wholly unconducive to true omnichannel.
To quote a recent report from Forrester Research,
“Digital business has broken traditional channel-centric metrics. Key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure the success of a single touchpoint fail to describe how each contributes to customer success.” – Define Customer Impact Metrics To Drive Digital Business Success, Forrester Research February 2017
Many companies, while adamant about going omnichannel, have trouble breaking free of multichannel metrics, or better said, channel-specific metrics.
As stated before, the key differentiator between multichannel and omnichannel is the level of interconnectivity between the different channels. If individual departments or teams are working to optimize internal processes based on channel-specific metrics, they may end up optimizing channels away from each other.
By nature, omnichannel requires there to be many hands in the pot. But at the same time, there needs to be an aligned measurement strategy to ensure cross-functional cooperation.
Forrester Research recommends companies adopt a portfolio of robust omnichannel metrics to help them achieve their objectives. These metrics include:
- Customer lifetime value
- Net Promoter Score
- Engagement (across channels)
- Acquisition (aggregated from all channels)
- Retention (aggregated across all channels)
- Sales by area
- Journey attribution
- Cost to serve
- Customer orders handled
- Available to promise
Adopting these company-wide metrics will help align company vision towards cross-functional optimization and customer success.
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