Today, the customer journey spans across digital channels (websites, mobile apps, smart TVs) and physical ones (in-store shopping, face-to-face financial planning meetings, doctor-patient appointments).
No matter the industry, customers expect a frictionless journey across every touchpoint, online and off, as if there were no separation between them.
For brands to thrive in this environment, they must approach customer experience holistically and bridge any gaps between outlets. According to Aberdeen Group, companies that rise to this challenge will reap the rewards of increased customer loyalty, market share, and revenue.
If integrating omni-channel customer experiences is part of your 2019 plan, you can prepare for success by addressing these 4 internal factors first:
1. Departmental Silos
Some obstacles that impede the integration of on-and-offline customer experiences are rooted organizational structures that fail to align personnel in a way that best meets customer needs. Departmental silos, for example, are ubiquitous. Typically, digital marketing, traditional marketing, e-commerce, customer support, fulfillment, and retail operations each handle a distinct slice of the customer journey.
A business may need to reimagine organizational structures and processes to enable discrete departments to present a united front.
2. Incomplete Information
Due to incomplete or fragmented data related to customer touchpoints, some puzzle pieces needed to provide a complete view may be missing. Also, because companies might not control the whole customer journey, it can be difficult to compile the necessary data. For instance, a paint manufacturer does not manage the contractors who have substantial influence over the paint purchases of consumers.
3. Multifaceted Technological Issues
There are no easy answers to the technology questions associated with creating a seamless customer experience.
This large number of martech options leads to virtually endless permutations of technology combinations available to enhance the customer experience. Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution, businesses must strategically sort through their alternatives and let their customers’ needs and business priorities drive their decisions.
Adding another layer of technological complexity, business leaders must decide which data they need to capture and harness to execute a new initiative and how to ensure its integrity and security. Required data may not be available in real-time because legacy solutions often were neither designed to provide this nor to communicate with other systems. Customers still expect instantaneous responses, however, so preparing and integrating technology is crucial for delivering expectation-shattering CX.
4. Corner Office Support
Success in weaving together online and offline channels to enhance the customer experience is contingent on having a commitment to the initiative from the board of directors and the chief executive officer. This buy-in is crucial to:
- Use resources from across the organization
- Make a substantial investment in technology
- Reconfigure how the company measures performance
- Align and manage the expectations of financial stakeholders
Alongside these challenges, the organization must continue to run day-to-day operations. Thus, to gain the support of the powers that be, customer experience champions must convince them that the expected short and long-term return on investment (ROI) is in line with organizational goals.
Once you’ve broken down silos, gathered and integrated data, and secured executive buy-in, you’re ready to start innovating industry-disrupting CX solutions.
Learn how to get started by downloading our step-by-step guide to creating engaging omni-channel customer experiences.