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BizReport : Advertising archives : December 24, 2015

Brands: Are you really omni-channel ready?

Experts have been talking about omni-channel for a few years now, and many brands believe they are, in fact, omni-channel. But they aren't. Here's what you need to know about becoming truly an omni-channel brand.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Marketers have been buzzing about omnichannel for a couple of years now yet it is still a challenge. What is causing the disconnect?

Rajeev Shrivastava, Chief Strategy Officer, inContact: It comes down to the technology. Put simply, the technology to have an omnichannel solution simply wasn't available. But now with the advances in cloud-based technology the shift to omnichannel is much more feasible. Gone are the days when companies would have to buy expensive hardware to meet customer demands only to find it obsolete in a few short years. The cloud allows for agility in adopting new technology innovations.

Kristina: There seem to still be some brands who think of omnichannel as simply having a website and social profile. Why is this a bad approach?

Rajeev: This approach is actually a multi-channel, rather than omnichannel approach. However, when it comes to customer service, for example, there are some clear preferences customers have for communication. Earlier this year we commissioned Harris Interactive to survey customers on buying decisions. Ninety-three percent of the respondents said email was their most preferred method of getting customer service assistance. Next was online self-service for order tracking, 1-800 to live agents, online chat, 1-800 to self-service and finally mobile apps. Clearly customers have some preferences when it comes to the channels available to them, which is why it is crucial to take an omnichannel approach to customer service. That way, these customers get the kind of service that best suits their needs.

Kristina: What does it mean to truly be omnichannel?

Rajeev: Omnichannel is more than having different channels, it means having a consistent relationship and message across all channels. A good example of an omnichannel experience is a customer pulling up a coupon on their phone and then showing the coupon to the sales clerk at check-out. This kind of seamless interaction is what defines omnichannel. Done right, an omnichannel strategy can greatly increase customer loyalty.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, inContact, omni-channel strategy, omnichannel marketing

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