A well-planned multichannel strategy can help businesses to be where the customer is present, without them having to repeat their problems all over again.
Technically, it is the only strategy that works in a post-mobile, hyper-digital world where communication can swing from an application to a telephone call to an actual walk-in to the store front.
Multichannel strategies have helped retailers to ensure customer satisfaction and retain more customers than they ever possibly could. Yet, multichannel strategies are often flawed and they can fail quite dramatically.
If you have toyed with a multichannel service and haven't seen the results you expected, here are 5 important reasons.
By 2020, customer experience is going to become more important than the price or even the product. This means, that even if you are making sure to bring absolutely great products at affordable prices, you can still fail if your customer care quality is not top-notch. Once businesses implement a multichannel strategy, they often become overconfident and ignore actual customer care calls.
Telephone calls are not monitored and quality suffers, leading to a reduced customer experience score. While text messaging, email, social media, and other digital channels can certainly bring a multi-channel experience to customers, not ensuring high-quality call center management can result in a strategic failure.
While multichannel strategy helps bring a uniform experience to customers across devices, it is not really multichannel unless you take inventory management into account.
Whenever there is a gap in communication with your suppliers or when the order requests aren't synced with your ERP immediately, there can be delays. This causes a supply-chain breakdown resulting in a failure of your multichannel strategy.
Integrating your e-commerce website, ERP and CRM and ensuring that you communicate with your suppliers instantly is crucial to making multichannel strategy work. Inventory management is extremely crucial to ensure that your customers get their products delivered in time.
You might be surprised to learn that 55% of customers are willing to spend more money if you can give them a satisfying experience. However, multi-channel experience is often not uniform across channels.
While your digital team may provide excellent service, your in-store staff may not be trained well or up to the mark when it comes to delivering excellent customer service. Ignoring manual efforts can dramatically increase the chances of your multichannel strategy failing.
The 55% of people who are willing to pay more will take their business to another brand where in-house staff is trained to treat customers like royalty. Manual efforts also include other minor things such as making sure that deliveries happen in time, that they are packaged well, etc.
A multichannel strategy may involve being present everywhere your customers are, but there is a lot more to it than just that. If your digital team works 24/7 but your telephone support does not, it is not really a multichannel support experience for the customer.
What's more, 73% of customers fall in love with a brand simply because they were attended by friendly customer service representatives.
This mean, you will need to provide multichannel support across telephone, email, text and social media 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. There can be no negotiations on this matter as poor customer service can quickly push customers towards your competitors.
A multichannel strategy requires careful planning which takes into account several things such as technology, manpower, expenditure and customer interaction strategy. Without creating a unified strategy and planning well in advance, a multichannel strategy can fail quickly.
Planning requires careful deliberations and consultations with not only your IT team and backend staff, but also your sales and marketing teams.
Of course, your customer service team should be involved in planning too. To bring a unified experience to your customers, you need to unify your various teams and create a strategy that works for everyone.
As you can see, a multichannel strategy is not just about being present across devices and locations.
Unless you focus on the quality of customer interactions and train your telephone support team, your multichannel strategy can dramatically fail.
In addition, you will also need to focus on inventory management and ensure that face-to-face interactions with your customers are not ignored.
Also, make sure that your different support teams are available across platforms including over the telephone 24/7, 365 days a year.
Last but not the least, your multichannel strategy needs careful planning that involves all your different teams, in order to provide a unified experience to your customers. In fact, multichannel support should be your business philosophy and not just a strategy.