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4 ways an omnichannel strategy improves customer experience

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Over the past few years, digital transformation has hit hyper-drive. Quarantines and social distancing drove people to digital spaces, or as McKinsey put it, “consumers vaulted five years in the adoption of digital in just eight weeks.” In Latin America alone, 13 million people made their first-ever online purchase during the first two months of the pandemic! 

This means companies must now wrestle with what an improved customer experience looks like in the post-COVID age. So how can brands take advantage of the best parts of digital experiences — scalability, time-savings, cost-savings, and automation — while still making a human connection with customers?

In 2022 the big challenge is converting interest to action. Getting there means thinking about engagement at every stage: 

  • Give customers more control over their experiences and offer them insights to help them make better decisions.
  • Move from reactive to proactive — don’t wait for problems to pop up but provide in-the-moment solutions that add real value.
  • Trust is critical for digital interactions — customers are much more likely to adopt new experiences if they feel brands have their best interests in mind.
  • And last but not least, you should constantly strive to remove needless friction across digital and mobile engagements to streamline sign-ups and scale conversations.

Investing in mobile experiences — and the wide range of new channels and formats — will be key in nailing customer experience, improving customer loyalty, and future-proofing your brand during a super-speed digital expansion. 

We wanted to learn more about the key trends driving customer experience, so we spoke to over 2,900 consumers globally to build a snapshot of this fast-changing world. 

Curious? Let’s dive in!

Give customers more control over their experiences

Consumers face a tsunami of notifications, with certain types doubling in volume from 2019 to 2020 — but could these communications offer more value? We found that consumers would love messages to include rich content like the ability to reply in-message to ask follow-on questions. Richer content gives customers more control over their experiences while also building relationships. To do this, companies need to adopt a practical, personalized approach to mobile messaging.

That means delivering notifications your customers want: order and shipping notifications, service downtime alerts, secure login verifications, appointment reminders, and personalized promotions. These just-in-time reminders drive customer loyalty and satisfaction, supporting customers exactly when they need information or help. One-way text messaging is also very scalable as your audience grows. 

Companies also need to let customers easily control the tempo of messages and customize what they want to receive using a mobile preference center. After a customer subscribes for messaging, you’ll want to offer more options than just “on” or “off.” Mobile preference centers let users control what they see and how often. Does a customer want promotional coupons? How many messages is too many? A mobile preference center shows you want to deliver a great experience.

Image showing a woman looking at her phone

From reactive to proactive 

One-way notifications and preference centers are mobile CX fundamentals. Beyond those, how can companies enhance customer experience when so many interactions happen at a distance? The key lies in changing from reactive to proactive — not just messaging for messaging’s sake, but conversations and solutions that add real value. 

Remember, messaging is a unique channel. A phone is usually in your customer’s hand or pocket, and mobile messages have high open rates because they appear on the lock screen. It’s an always-on, hyper-personal channel to reach your customer, which requires care (and a dose of restraint). So how can you make sure what you’re sending is welcome and valuable? 

Matt Reid, vice president of omnichannel marketing at Vail Resorts, felt it could use the mobile channel to enhance customer experience by personalizing messages to skiers. The company now uses mobile messaging to publish real-time ski reports, promotions, and even playful messages to customers — all personalized by customer analytics. “The shift to mobile puts more of the experience in the customers’ hands, and you have to be clear about the value you add,” says Reid.

Engaging interactions aren’t only for “fun” industries like travel and leisure. In telecom, customers who have problems installing new equipment or troubleshooting a problem may worry about inviting technicians into their homes. Sending how-to videos via messaging or conducting technician visits via video calls can bridge the gap and support customers from a distance. 

Balancing promotional, useful, and engaging messaging is important. While most customers like getting discounts and coupons on their phones, approval ratings for promotional messages are lower for other types of messages from brands. When it comes to promotional messaging, moderation is key.

Build trust in digital interactions

Of course, messaging isn’t just a one-way channel. Top brands use two-way conversational messaging to deliver even more value — and a better experience builds trust between brand and customer.

Putting chatbots to work via mobile messaging channels, brands can give customers the answers they need in a fraction of the time. Whether it’s responding to routine customer service inquiries (e.g. requesting a return shipping label for a product exchange), looking up whether something you want to buy is in stock at your local store, checking appointment wait times, or even ordering a pizza, two-way messaging saves customers time and saves your company money. 

Image showing a pizza being delivered and a text message conversation about it

Mobile messaging is always on and ready to solve problems. It creates a connection that’s a launching point for a wide range of actions — from e-commerce and customer loyalty programs to customer support.  

Our research shows people really like the convenience and speed of chatbots. Of those who use chatbots (roughly half of those surveyed), 8 in 10 say they like using them because they get faster answers, chatbots offer them privacy, and they’re “always on.”

2022 is the year CX goes beyond omnichannel into truly seamless communication. Any channel, any time — one conversation, multiple options. But for this trend to continue, we need to build ‘trust’ into relationships with customers. By offering a better digital service, we encourage customers to try new experiences, which is why it’s so important to make sure every touchpoint is a nice and smooth experience. 

Removing friction in digital and mobile engagements

Activating more and more of these real-time experiences across channels and platforms will ultimately drive deeper, more profitable connections with customers. But as with any innovative technology, we need to question every step of the customer journey and ask, “is there a more satisfying way to do this?”. 

We need to think about the big picture — every single touchpoint that a customer engages with is a chance to build brands and develop long-lasting relationships. But every time a customer feels frustration or friction, it’s a step backward. We need the very best technologies, and we need to use them smartly, across all channels to ensure this doesn’t happen.

The opportunities to serve and engage customers using messaging are endless. And there’s no time like the present to experiment with these new applications and future-proof your company! 

Curious to learn more about how a better customer experience can help transform your business? Download a copy of our report ‘Brave New World - Customer experience in 2022’ - here.