Omnichannel Is More Than Marketing: Don’t Forget Customer Care

A lot has been written about omnichannel marketing, retailing, and shopping. So much so, that the definition of omnichannel is often blurred into these concepts. For example, the Oxford Dictionary defines Omnichannel as: “Denoting or relating to a type of retail that integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers (e.g., online, in a physical store, or by phone).”

There is a problem, though. Shopping is only the beginning of a customer lifecycle. There is another step in the path: after-sale service and support. In order to fully optimize the customer journey and obtain best possible ROI, the next logical step is to focus on Omnichannel during the Customer Care phases of a purchase.

Customer Care phases during a typical purchase lifecycle

I Got the Sale, Why Should I Care About Omnichannel Care?

It’s simple, customer retention and referrals. Take a look at these compelling statistics:

  • “…companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared with 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.” (Aberdeen Group)
  • “…a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit.” (Bain & Company)
  • “…acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.” (Harvard Business Review)
  • “…omnichannel customers gave their banks a Net Promoter Score (NPS) that was 16 percentage points higher than customers using digital only channels and 22 points above those who rely on physical contact entirely.” (NCR)

Summary: A strong omnichannel strategy and presence leads to higher retention and more referrals. This leads to an improved bottom line.

What Next? How Can I Determine how I am doing?

Determining whether your omnichannel approach to Customer Care is working may sound daunting. As a starting point, here are some clues that might indicate you have an issue:

· Your organization is unable to report on customer journey steps after the sale

· Your customers experience long wait times when trying to reach an agent at a contact center

· Your service agents have to access a wide variety of systems to service customers

· Your agents spend more time in after call work than interacting with customers

· Your customers provide negative survey responses post-sale

· (…and many more, this is just a start)

If any of these clues ring a bell, it’s time to consider Customer Journey Mapping. The intent of journey mapping is to identify pain points for the customer and to turn those pain points into positive experiences. We won’t deep dive into Customer Journey Mapping in this article, but a good place to start is: All You Need To Know About Customer Journey Mapping

Interpreting Journey Map Results and Getting it Right

Now let’s say you have completed your journey mapping efforts. If the results don’t look positive across the board, don’t fret: you have identified the causes of poor experience and identified areas for improvement with opportunity to drive more ROI to your bottom line.

To get it right, set a goal and take it step-by-step. A great long-term target is to provide customers one-contact resolution (OCR) no matter what the channel. This makes sense because OCR itself can drive as much as a 13 point improvement in NPS (SQM Group) on top of what was (hopefully) already a great experience. Getting to OCR, though will take time and effort. Targeting a Good/Better/Best path over time makes this more palatable and attainable.

Good — Answer the customer’s question somehow or another.

A good experience for the customer, they got the answer they needed but it doesn’t drive advocacy

Better — Know what the customer has been trying to solve and pick up the inquiry from whatever channel they used (e.g. Social)

A better experience, but still inefficient for the customer

Best — One Contact Resolution

The best experience, one and done

Wrapping it up.

If there is one thing you remember from this post, it’s this: omnichannel strategy should not end with the sale. Getting the Customer Care phases of a sale lifecycle right provides long-term bottom line benefits and should be given almost as much focus as the sale itself. Take it one step further and target a goal of one contact resolution and you are well on your way to providing the best customer experience and the most ROI for your bottom line.

Interested in learning more about omnichannel strategy, technology, and implementation? Follow me on Medium or check out Slalom Phoenix.