Just about every company these days promises excellent customer service as part of its mission statement. It’s no longer something that sets one business apart from another; it is simply standard operating procedure to survive. That being said, great customer service must now evolve to creating a stellar customer experience.
What does that mean? It means that in this world of pinpoint marketing and personalized everything, customers expect that the world is at their fingertips.
They want a seamless experience with their favorite companies, waiting for them to deliver the right products, services, discounts, and ideas at the right time.
For small and large organizations alike, the challenge now becomes how to create an omnichannel marketing strategy across multiple channels to meet the demand and capitalize on the opportunity.
Take a look at these five key strategies that will help you create a consistent customer experience with every interaction:
- Keep Your Customers Front and Center:
The initial strategy needs to come from the age-old adage that customers come first. The focus remains the same: delivering what your customers want and making sure they are happy throughout the process.
The difference today, however, is that expectations are on the rise. In the olden days, making customers happy simply meant that you provided a quality product that did what it promised. As the modern-day supply chain developed, that expectation grew to include not only a quality product, but also when and where it was available for purchase and service. Ecommerce technology and sophisticated logistics then ratcheted up the expectations again to include finding obscure products and next-day or even same-day delivery.
Today, customers still want all of those things, but they also want to be known and understood. They want a personal connection and a relationship with those companies they do business with. They expect businesses to anticipate what they need, offer the discounts they want, and not bother them too much.
- Put Your Strategy In Writing:
It’s easy to spout off lots of verbal promises and brainstorm wonderful ways to create that customer engagement, but it’s critical to write down exactly what you plan to do to create a plan for omnichannel marketing. This document serves as a touch point for your entire team and will, hopefully, keep everyone moving in the right direction.
Create a mission statement focused on customer experience. Be sure to solicit ideas and ask for feedback from your employees so that everyone has some skin in the game. Most importantly, you’ll want to articulate SMART goals: ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Focus on providing value to your customers and try to make it easy to do business with you. Make sure your employees know that they have reasonable authority to make decisions that will enhance customer experience. And work on the infrastructure to help your employees deliver seamless experiences across multiple channels.
- Do What You Say You’ll Do
Once you get the idea and write it all down, you have to actually execute. This is the most critical component of successful omnichannel marketing strategies.
If you promise to deliver your product within a certain time frame, be sure your delivery channels are reliable. If you have a money-back guarantee, make returns easy and painless with pre-printed return labels. If you promise an upgrade by a certain date, be sure it will be ready to hit the market on time.
- Require Consistency Across Channels
Consistency of message and branding is critical to a successful marketing effort. Start by evaluating your channels, which can include conventional channels like a brick-and-mortar store, billboards, and print advertising as well as digital channels such as email, website, and social media.
Then, be sure your message is clear and consistent across all channels. Have a recognizable logo or tagline, use the same colors and fonts, and communicate the same message. Deliver your unique proposition consistently, yet tailored to each channel, to reinforce your brand and your company message.
Remember that each channel will have its own strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll need to adjust, size and tailor your message so you can meet your customers’ needs on each platform.
- Be Authentic and Transparent
Delivering an excellent customer experience means understanding your target audience’s expectations, communicating honestly, and admitting your mistakes.
Lay out communication channels clearly. Your customers should have multiple ways of contacting your business, and if there are set service hours, they should be spelled out, including time zones.
Although automated responses have their place in a marketing strategy, establish as many in-person interactions as reasonably possible. Remember that your customers want personalized attention and you want a long-term relationship.
And when things don’t go right, apologize and do your best to make up for the error. Offer a refund if the product didn’t meet expectations. Notify customers of back-ordered or unavailable inventory. Apologize if your system goes down and offer a discount for customer patience. All these efforts will generate customer loyalty and return business in the long run.
At the end of the day, if your company produces a high-quality product and stands behind its service, you’ll do all right. However, if you can communicate what you have to offer to your customers consistently across the multiple channels, deliver the information when and where they want it, and anticipate their needs on an on-going basis, you’ll do better than just all right. You’ll be a company with a dedicated customer following, positioned for ongoing growth and success.
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