A Channel-centric tracking of Customer Experience may compromise Client Centricity
Are you really omnichannel?
The purpose of providing omnichannel experiences is to allow customers to seamlessly resume, maintain, and expand on previous conversations they’ve had with the brand on any device, via any channel, at any time. By deploying technology that provides an omnichannel experience, utilises data, predictive analytics and curates a connected workforce that rejects siloed operations, brands can anticipate pain points and react with personalised solutions to calm irritation quickly and retain customer loyalty.
However, whilst many brands believe that they are currently providing an omnichannel experience, few have fully implemented cross-channel synchronisation. Luxury brands with a strong retail DNA have always focused their Voice of the Client programmes on their brick and mortar network. Lately, they have started to monitor other channels such as their e-commerce and contact centre platforms - but these departments are mostly siloed and disconnected, preventing the brand from gaining a comprehensive assessment of the journey they deliver.
Source: Trusted Shops
When departments are disconnected, the customer endures a fragmented experience where the company cannot reliably track the voice of the customer. The problem with monitoring client feedback in siloed channels is the creation of multiple client personas. For example, the e-commerce client, the contact centre client, the social media client, and the retail client - when in reality, there is only one client accessing the brand via different platforms.
The importance of a client-centric culture
Providing a successful omnichannel experience requires the brand to exude a client-centric culture and reject antiquated organisational structures that operate within silos. Too often, departments are divided into specialised units and directed by leaders who are intensely focused and incentivised by their team's performance, functioning exclusively to their agendas and budgets. Siloed processes effectively neglect the cultivation of collaboration, shared knowledge, innovation, and creativity, leaving brands unable to develop a unified vision - creating opportunities for well-versed competitors to steal customers.
Who’s accountable for omnichannel?
Most brands today haven’t reshuffled their organization, chain of command and governance to reflect this omnichannel transformation. Very often, finding an accountability for omnichannel below the CEO within luxury retail brands is difficult. You then find a VP of Retail, a VP of Ecommerce, a VP for Digital & Social Media and VP for Client Services. As a result, each department is focused on delivering the best possible experience on their ‘channel’ without looking at how this connects into a wider client journey, and this usually creates an unhealthy competition between each touchpoint. Countless store managers have been considering e-comm and the benefits it offers for example in terms of refund as their fiercest competitor.
Therefore, CX must become accountable across all levels and functions in brands’ organisations. Siloed multi-channel analysis by various departments with different agendas must transform into an integrated analysis of omnichannel CX data collected from all customers and teams. To gain accurate and realistic insights, brands must measure the reality of their clients’ omnichannel experience.
How to be truly omnichannel in the way you measure your CX
1. Eliminate silos
Create a unified vision from the top-down that works towards a common goal and disregards the budget restrictions. Creating an omnichannel Voice of the Customer often endures painful funds negotiation and allocation between different departments (retail, e-commerce, CS) and the result is often the status quo.
2. Define the most common omnichannel journeys for your brand
Determine the most common sequence of channel use according to your client's journey. For example, one journey sequence may start on Instagram, followed by a website visit and a product reservation, finishing the purchase with a visit in-store. Another journey may begin in-store for browsing, followed-up with online shopping for comparison and purchasing with at-home delivery. Once these journeys are mapped, start measuring them.
3. Know your customers and anticipate their problems
What problems are your customers experiencing most often? How do they contact you, and when? Remember: industry best practices may tell you to offer a particular channel - but the issue is more important and should guide the touchpoint suggested.
4. Create a feedback loop
Once you have identified problems, you must diagnose and address the underlying root cause to mitigate repetition and predict future failures.
5. Incentivise teams based on the entire client journey - not just the performance of one channel
Creating ownership of teams and truly enforcing an omnichannel culture requires a unified view of the customer, their journey and the company as a whole. Each department is responsible for every journey - not simply the touchpoint in action. The entire brand must deliver compelling, consistent experiences across all touchpoints.
More channels don’t mean more problems, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. But without a rethought governance and accountability that reflects that we live in the no-channel era in which the client is the channel, your efforts and investment will fail. Developing a client feedback infrastructure that considers that client journeys are no longer linear becomes paramount. Whilst you may believe you’re already achieving an omnichannel experience - be realistic and consider if all your channels are truly connected seamlessly. After all, human nature implies that your Brand Experience is judged on your worst channel - not your best.