What is an omnichannel customer experience?
An omnichannel customer experience is made up of individual touchpoints over a variety of channels. It allows customers to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the experience on another. As they move along the customer journey, it is their cumulative experience across multiple touchpoints and multiple channels that forms their overall impression of your brand.
The question is: are you aware when, where, and how can you influence the customer’s perception of your brand? It first starts with understanding the difference between touchpoints and channels (they are not the same thing).
A touchpoint is a specific interaction within the customer journey that defines a key moment in your processes, for example, an online chat. A channel is the medium of interaction that helps you understand where customers come from and how they interact with you, for example, social media. Together, these create the overall omnichannel customer experience.
Hybrid shopping vs. omnichannel – is it the same?
“Hybrid shopping” is simply a term given to refer to the increasing tendency of consumers blending the best of online and in-store to create their ideal hybrid shopping experience. This shopping experience happens across multiple touchpoints in the retailer’s multiple (omni)channels.
Omnichannel is not a new concept, however, its importance has grown exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic, for example, in the US where the omnichannel shopping has grown by 50%.
The growth in omnichannel shopping means retailers must focus on their in-store and online strategies. As consumer expectations continue to evolve, businesses that can maximize the benefits of these channels and provide a cohesive and connected experience throughout the entire journey not only gain a competitive advantage but set themselves up for long-term success.
Why omnichannel customer feedback is critical
Research shows that businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates than those that don’t.
Retail businesses, specifically, have one of the hardest jobs when building an omnichannel strategy. Consumers now use an average of almost six touchpoints when buying an item–with nearly 50% regularly using more than four–and 65% of consumers conduct online product research before entering a store.
Most companies are likely to perform well within the individual touchpoints but may fall short when it comes to the overall omnichannel customer journey. Ensuring cohesion in the customer experience between online and in-store can be a challenge without having the right tools in place to capture the voice of the customer along the way.
Using customer feedback insights to make data-driven decisions and follow the impact of your initiatives is an essential part of executing an effective omnichannel strategy. Furthermore, the ability for the entire company, from management to frontline staff, to see the omnichannel performance from the customers’ perspectives encourages the importance of aligning the initiatives to achieve the common goals.
5 benefits of omnichannel customer feedback
Touchpoints and channels should be invisible to the customer. If they fall into a gap along the way, it will interrupt their journey and leave them with a negative experience.
Using omnichannel customer feedback helps you know what is working and what is not and where to improve the customer journey for a better end-to-end experience. Specifically, omnichannel customer feedback helps retailers to:
1. Track CX in each touchpoint and channel
Quantitative data is difficult to argue. Measuring in-moment customer experience in each touchpoint and channel will quickly uncover patterns in service performance and processes that can be investigated.
Is a particular hour or day of the week of in-store visits showing recurring low satisfaction levels? How are customers that shop online and pick up in-store rate their overall experience? Can online shoppers find what they’re looking for and check out with ease? Targeted, real-time feedback insights help retailers to see those areas that need attention most.
2. Compare performance throughout the journey
Identifying the baseline performance in each touchpoint and channel is an essential first step towards creating initiatives to improve the omnichannel customer experience. The next step is to map each part to the overall journey to learn your omnichannel customer experience performs as a whole.
Additionally, for retailers with more than 1 location it is especially crucial to be able to compare performance between stores (or districts, regions, etc.) as consumers Learn from the best performing areas and apply those best practices to other locations.
Tip! Find out how this UK grocery chain is using customer feedback data to ensure they provide consistent shopping experiences across all locations.
3. Prioritize gaps for immediate action
Low satisfaction scores in the customer feedback data will show you where you have gaps and room for improvement. High satisfaction scores indicate what you are doing well and serve as benchmarks to move towards.
As retailers must be diligent with budgets, resources, and schedules, instant customer feedback enables managers to make informed decisions backed by data. For example, identifying “low hanging fruit” that can be acted on quickly and have immediate impact on customer experience results.
4. Test & align CX initiatives
Continuous feedback from all channels not only helps in the short-term but is key in developing or redesigning the customer journey experience in the long-term.
The customer satisfaction data helps you to first understand your service performance so that you can set targets for improvement and begin the test-learn-reiterate process with your initiatives. Encouraging an environment where all employees can feel empowered to participate in CX initiatives is extremely effective in aligning and motivating efforts towards achieving the common goals.
Tip! Learn how this US convenience store chain is using customer feedback data to test, compare, and validate changes.
5. Validate the impact of initiatives
What’s better than seeing hard work pay off? Or no longer doing something that’s proved doesn’t work? The great thing about making data-driven decisions based on customer feedback is that the results represent facts.
The ability to validate the impact of initiatives through increased customer satisfaction scores is a powerful tool to encourage and motivate the entire organization to maintain a customer-focused mindset. Additionally, verifying the impact of customer satisfaction on other key retail metrics like customer loyalty, retention, and basket size is why utilizing customer feedback insights solutions is an integral part of success.