Five Best Practices for Omnichannel Messaging
E-commerce businesses rely on remote communication to make consumers happy. Whether you’re marketing, selling, or providing customer service, your success will be built upon your ability to communicate.
That’s why the omnichannel approach to communication is so important and valuable. It can help you reach more customers and keep up with the customers you already reach. It can build your brand, grow your bottom line, and make for a reliable, long-term means of communication.
A Quick Overview of Omnichannel Communication
That brings us to an inevitable question: What is omnichannel communication? To put it succinctly, it’s a centralization of all of your different means of communication. Most e-commerce businesses have a website and an email address. You might also use a chatbot, live chat, text messaging, or push notifications through an app to add to that communication.
Omnichannel is when you use centralized software resources to control all of that and bring it together. That way, instead of having a dozen different unconnected ways for customers to contact you, you have one communication method with channels that enable those various forms of contact.
Benefits for You
It’s not fully intuitive, but centralizing your communication like this comes with clear benefits. For starters, it’s much easier to collect and manage customer data. Because you centralize everything under a single software suite, any communication on any channel is easily tracked and categorized by your software. It’s a lot simpler than trying to combine the individual channels if they operate completely independently.
On top of that, the omnichannel experience is streamlined, which leads to improved engagement, retention, and customer satisfaction.
You can also take advantage of your data collection to better personalize communication (more on that in a moment), which further improves customer satisfaction.
It’s not hard to see that all of this can translate into a better bottom line for your business, making omnichannel communication a sound investment for many companies.
If all of this sounds promising, you might wonder how omnichannel communication works. How do you ensure that you get happier customers from the investment? Most of that can be boiled down to the following five best practices.
Personalization is one of the keys to a successful omnichannel experience. With your different channels, it’s easier to meet a customer on their terms. And, as explained earlier, omnichannel resources are great at generating and categorizing customer data.
It’s not a stretch to use your software systems to draw on the data to personalize the experience for each customer. Use their name in conversations. Pay attention to their location (assuming they agreed to share it). Pay attention to what they purchase, what kinds of help they need, and how they interact with you. All of that can inform your process and make for a more personalized experience.
After you do all of that, you’re just beginning. With modern bots and their approach to sophisticated conversations, you can contextualize your communications. You don’t have to send out a blanket email with a blank spot for a customer’s name. Your software tools can respond to their inputs with your communication and use that to craft a unique, personalized, contextualized message. You can have an ongoing, individual conversation with every single customer.
Think about how powerful that is.
Deep personalization makes your communications more compelling, but that’s not the whole story. Regardless of the value of your communications, if your omnichannel controls aren’t clean, you’ll lose out.
With omnichannel software, you can centralize email, your website, social media, live chats, and short messaging service, aka texting. That are a lot of different ways to communicate, and none of them are particularly difficult to set up individually.
You want to integrate all of them to make a better experience. What does that look like?
Say a customer doesn’t get a shipment on time and opens a live chat to inquire about the shipping status. That conversation resolves the issue.
Later, they see you talking about a new product on social media, and they comment with a shipping question. Your omnichannel resources can connect those dots, so they have a seamless experience. The live chat conversation informs the following conversation, so they aren’t starting from scratch with you every time they interact with your resources.
Now, consider how that could work across all of your channels. It’s a robust, powerful experience that removes common frustration points for customers and allows them to have an ongoing, fruitful communication stream with your business.
If you can produce a consistent experience across all of your channels, then your next goal is to make it easy to access and control from the user’s point of view. You can centralize control of accounts on a website or app (or both), and that makes it easy for a customer to choose how they want to communicate with you. It’s easy for them to reference older communications, update the information they share with you, and control any other aspect of how they represent themselves to you.
This centralized communication hub is what makes it so easy for the customers to take full advantage of your omnichannel e-commerce experience, and that’s the real goal. You’re creating this for the sake of their experience, and clean centralization steers into that.
Offer Self-Service Options
One place where omnichannel messaging shines is customer support. Remember the example from earlier about shipping times? You can apply that to any support issue, and with the existence of bots and automation tools, you can make it easy for customers to access self-service resources.
Purchasers will happily look up shipment tracking on their own if you make it easy. They’ll resolve many other issues on their own too, and because you’re centralizing a seamlessly integrated omnichannel experience, they can access whatever they need quickly and easily.
Self-service removes delays and barriers that compound frustration when a client can’t immediately get what they want from your business (whether they’re making a purchase, troubleshooting a product, or anything else). As a result, self-service is amazing for improving the customer experience and making your consumer happier across the board.
That leads to better retention and conversion statistics, showing that making your customers happy directly translates into better earnings numbers.
Provide a Consistent Experience
The final best practice is to create a consistent experience. This is in line with what’s been covered here, but there’s a reliable methodology to building your consistent experience.
Start with your mobile resources. The vast majority of interactions are via smartphone anyway, so account for that, and make sure that all of your channels are clean, robust, easy to use, and pleasant for mobile users.
From that foundation, you can build out your non-mobile resources, focusing on consistency.
Let’s look at a very easy example. You can have a live chatbot that answers questions for anyone who visits your website. Build the mobile website and mobile version of the bot first. Make sure that you like how they function. When that is complete, transition to building the desktop version of these things, trying to make them comparable to the mobile versions you have already built.
If you keep all of these best practices in mind, you can build omnichannel e-commerce communication for your business and reap those sweet, sweet benefits. Along the way, you should look for additional resources that can help you with planning and execution. Providers like Mitto are filled to the brim with such resources, so take full advantage throughout your journey.