Last week, I was asked to weigh in on a conversation debating the value of organizations investing in omnichannel, a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available shopping channels (e.g., mobile devices, computers, physical stores, etc.).
It’s difficult to imagine a scenario whereby omnichannel is optional for those companies that expect to thrive in 2014 and beyond. I’ve read that “omnichannel is the realization of social business” and I believe that’s correct. But it must be done well. Recall the word “seamless” in the above definition. If poorly executed, omnichannel becomes omnishambles.
The reason the term “omnishambles” has entered the conversation is due to the number of organizations that have bastardized the implementation of omnichannel. Frequently, when there are problems with the end result, you can look to the opening objective (not the stated objective, the real objective). If the real objective has more to do with appearing current or remaining relevant than providing a seamless user experience across multiple platforms/channels, then the end result is often omnishambles.
Still, with all the chatter about communicating with customers across multiple platforms, a recent article suggests that, when resolving customer service issues, 90 percent of customers prefer (insert drumroll here…) the telephone. What? The telephone? But we’ve invested all this money in our website, online chat, text messaging, and social networking sites! What about those?
The short answer is, increasingly, you have to be there too. My takeaway from the article and accompanying infographic is that, given finite resources to invest in omnichannel, it’s key to allocate those resources in a way that matches the communication preferences of your customers – and avoids omnishambles.
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Illustration by Aaron McKissen.