True Omnichannel Customer Experience Is Table Stakes Today

Jeff Blair

President of Sales | Sales Head for Communications & Media Vertical

Early in the 2010’s, Technology, Media and Communications (TMC) companies were perceived by customers as innovators that deployed cutting-edge digital applications. In fact, the 2014 book “Leading Digital’  labeled nearly half of all Telecom companies ‘Digital Fashionistas’, lagging only behind the Travel and Hospitality industry. 

While many TMC entities have continued to sustain this momentum, others have had declines in consumer perception for customer experience excellence.

The Need for a Seamless CX Strategy

An overwhelming majority of today’s consumers rate customer experience as more important to their product preference and purchase decision versus price.  Omnichannel customer experience has become the bedrock of successful customer experience strategies. Today,  9 out of 10  customers desire an omnichannel experience. 

An overwhelming majority of customers expect companies to have access to previous conversations and purchase histories that are seamlessly integrated across the various channels they use to interact. But while the vast majority of customer expect it, less than 30% say they actually receive it.

Across most industries, companies have fumbled when it comes to providing a unified seamless experience to their customers. Over 50% of large organizations have failed to unify engagement channels resulting in disjointed and siloed customer experiences that lack context. Only ~ 36% of TMC sector companies have adopted omnichannel customer support. 

tmc-omnichannel So, What Exactly Is An “Omnichannel Customer Experience?"

Omnichannel CX  is the ability of a customer to interact seamlessly with a company across a multiplicity of channels—such as social media, chat , mobile, online, email, or simply by physically walking  into a store—while having the same, unified experience across all those integrated interactions.  Today, customers expect to be able to choose their own customer journey. Omnichannel CX is what allows a customer to move effortlessly across different channels of interaction.  With each new or separate interaction, support representatives have a complete and holistic view of the customer including all past interactions.   

It’s imperative to understand that Omnichannel CX is NOT the same as multichannel CX.  While a company with multichannel CX provides a customer the ability to interact through multiple channels (both online and offline), the various channels are most often siloed, with very little workflow and data interaction between each other. Thus, there is limited information sharing across all channels. 

“Omnichannel CX is NOT the same as multichannel CX. And it is imperative to understand the difference between the two.”

For example, when a customer contacts a company through one channel and then later through another, there would be—in most cases— no record of the first communication.  This requires a painful and time-consuming effort by the customer to, once again, restate all the background detail and recent interactions.   Multichannel CX allows multiple pathways for a customer to connect to a company, but none of those pathways (or channels) are integrated to effectively serve the customer and put them at the center of the relationship. 

Multichannel CX makes the company—or product—the focus, while leaving the customer at the periphery.

true omni channel

What Customers Really Want

Omnichannel Customer Experience really is table stakes today, Customers today expect efficient and successful interactions, regardless of their choice of channel. They want effective and efficient outcomes, not just pathways of access. They want their interactions to be consistent across channels, even if they choose to change pathways of access midstream in their objective-driven interaction.  Lastly, they expect the brand and its service/sales agents to know them, understand their relationship with the company and know their prior purchase history and interactions with the brand.

So, what does a truly Omnichannel CX strategy look and feel like?   A true Omnichannel CX strategy…

  • Is built with the customer as the focus. Companies providing omnichannel CX focus on the needs of the customer, providing them with a unified, seamless interaction across any channel they choose. Since these channels are integrated, customer’s information (purchase history, record of prior interactions, past resolution, etc.) are available in the channel of their choice, even as they move across channels (perhaps many times) throughout the customer lifecycle journey. 
  • Grows the top line. Forrester research identified that the revenue growth of CX leaders is 5.1 times that of laggards.  A seamless and effortless customer journey results in a content and happy customer with a higher propensity for sales and retention. 
  • Improves the bottom line. Strong Omnichannel companies   see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact, compared to a 0.2% year-over-year decrease for weak companies. Intelligent adoption and integration of digital channels (including Conversational AI) reduces service costs by optimizing interactions with service and sales agents. With greater operational efficiency, the result is higher productivity with greater accuracy and reduced operating costs.  While significant bottom line improvements are recognized, it is not at the expense of poor customer experience.  CX is always at the core of an omnichannel strategy.  

    Companies are increasingly looking to adopt an omnichannel strategy throughout 2021.  A recent Gartner survey shows that transitioning to self-service channels, while bolstering digital capabilities, is a top priority for many customer service and support leaders for the year ahead— with over 70 percent planning to allocate their largest budgets to digital channels and capabilities. 

    Want to explore elevating your omnichannel customer experience? We’d love to talk.