Build an omnichannel customer experience in 5 steps
In the third of our three-part retail solutions series, we explore how to build a seamless omnichannel customer experience.
By Kelsie Anderson
Today’s customers expect a seamless and consistent experience across all channels when interacting with a brand. These types of consistent, continual interactions require an omnichannel approach. By providing customers with a unified and personalized experience, businesses can increase customer loyalty, retention, and revenue. However, building a custom omnichannel customer experience requires careful planning and execution.
This blog post is the third in a three-part retail solutions series based on insights from our latest ebook, Build Personalized Customer Experiences That Scale. The series explores the role of communication in creating successful retail experiences. In our first post, we discussed the importance of understanding your customers. Our second explained the benefits of building an omnichannel customer experience.
In our final post of the series, we’ll explore the key steps involved in building a custom omnichannel customer experience, from defining the customer journey to implementing the necessary technology.
5 steps to build an omnichannel customer experience
Building a custom omnichannel customer experience requires careful planning and execution. Here are some key steps you can follow to build a seamless experience that works for your business.
1. Create a customer journey map
Mapping out your customer journey is the first step in building your omnichannel experience. This exercise will help you understand your customers’ experiences and identify areas for improvement.
A customer journey map visually represents your customers’ experiences as they interact with your organization. It outlines a customer's various touchpoints, from initial awareness to post-purchase follow-up. The map typically includes information such as the customer's needs, emotions, and actions at each stage of the journey. By mapping out the customer journey, you can gain insights into your customers’ pain points, preferences, and behavior. You can then use this information to develop more effective marketing and customer service strategies.
A typical customer journey map includes several stages, such as awareness, consideration, decision, purchase, and post-purchase. The map can also include information about the different channels the customer may use to interact with the brand, such as social media, email, phone, or in-store visits. Overall, a customer journey map is a valuable tool for businesses that want to improve the customer experience and build stronger customer relationships.
2. Define your strategy
Once you’ve mapped out the customer journey, you can develop a strategy. This strategy will integrate different channels—such as social media, email, chat, and voice—to provide customers with a unified experience.
Defining your strategy is crucial for creating an omnichannel customer experience because it helps align your efforts and resources toward a common goal. An effective omnichannel strategy outlines the key objectives, tactics, and metrics you’ll use to deliver a seamless, consistent experience across all touchpoints.
Defining your strategy helps create an omnichannel customer experience because it:
- Provides clarity. A clear, well-defined strategy ensures everyone in your organization is aligned around a common goal. This alignment helps your team more easily make decisions, allocate resources, and prioritize initiatives.
- Focuses on the customer. An effective omnichannel strategy is customer-focused and takes into account the needs and preferences of your target audience. By understanding your customers and their journeys, you can create a personalized experience that meets their needs and builds loyalty.
- Helps prioritize initiatives. An omnichannel strategy can help you prioritize initiatives based on their potential impact on the customer experience and your business goals. Clear-cut prioritization helps you allocate resources effectively and focus on the initiatives that are most likely to deliver results.
- Enables measurement and optimization. Defining your strategy allows you to set clear objectives and metrics for success. Understanding your end goals makes it easier to measure progress, identify areas for improvement, and optimize your omnichannel experience over time.
3. Optimize your content for its intended channel
With an omnichannel strategy, you’re engaging with customers across a range of channels, including social media, email, website, and more. Each channel has its own unique characteristics and requirements. To ensure your content resonates with your target audience, optimization is essential. It ensures the content you create is tailored to each channel and has the maximum impact on your bottom line.
But what does that actually mean?
Optimizing content for each channel means adapting your message to fit the channel's format, style, and tone. For example, a tweet needs to be short and snappy, while an email can be longer and more detailed. Optimizing your content ensures your message is clear, concise, and compelling across all channels. This tailoring will make it more likely that your customers will engage with your brand and take the desired action.
In addition to adapting your content for each channel, content optimization involves using data to inform your content strategy. By analyzing customer data, you can identify which types of content perform best on each channel and adjust your content accordingly. This data-driven approach helps you deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.
4. Personalize the experience
Personalizing the experience is crucial for creating a customized omnichannel customer experience because it helps build stronger connections with your customers, increases engagement, and drives conversions. When customers feel like a brand understands their needs and preferences, they’re more likely to engage with it and make a purchase.
You can provide a personalized experience using customer data to deliver relevant, timely content and offers. You can also use customer data to segment your audience and deliver targeted marketing messages based on their preferences and behavior.
5. Use the right tools
The best strategy ultimately means nothing if your team doesn’t have the tools to execute it effectively. Therefore, selecting the right tools and technology to support your omnichannel strategy is critical to its success. These tools could include a customer relationship management (CRM) system, marketing automation software, chatbots, and other tools that help you manage and track customer interactions across channels.
Communications APIs: Critical building blocks for omnichannel customer experiences
At the end of the day, an omnichannel experience means effectively communicating with your customers across all channels. The sales and marketing tools mentioned above are critical for running your omnichannel campaigns. However, the ability to speak to your customers is of the uppermost importance. So using powerful communications tools is a must to build a successful omnichannel customer experience.
Below, we’ll discuss how you can use various communications APIs in different stages of the customer journey to create a seamless omnichannel experience.
Marketing, promotions, and nurturing
To purchase your product, your customers have to know about it. Your sales and marketing teams need access to communications tools to deliver impactful marketing, promotional, and nurturing content to your customers.
Ideally, your technology partner can give you access to a self-service portal (and world-class support) to build customized communications workflows and manage complex global regulations and carrier rules to reach customers worldwide. Your marketing team should also have access to tools that will allow them to build engaging SMS, MMS, and email programs that scale.
Prompting customers to create an account on your site can help speed up the checkout process. For example, customers can select a default payment method, so they don’t have to enter their credit card number whenever they want to purchase a product.
However, allowing customers to store sensitive information comes with the obligation to protect it. To keep customer data safe, you can prompt them to verify their identity. And one of the easiest ways to verify is over the phone, via an app, message, or phone call.
By choosing a carrier that offers flexible SMS, voice, and authentication APIs, you can build a custom two-factor authentication (2FA) experience that keeps your customers' data secure. For convenience, you can allow customers to choose whether they’ll receive their 2FA codes via SMS, call, or email.
When building an omnichannel experience, your marketing, sales development, and content and social media management teams will be working together to create a seamless customer journey. No matter which team your content comes from, it needs to travel over a secure network to reliably and consistently reach your customers.
You can elevate your customer experience by choosing a partner with license carrier expertise backed by private network infrastructure. If you’re lucky, this partner might even bundle solutions like a customer engagement platform, two-way messaging, and contact center tools that allow your teams to focus on customer engagement strategies instead of backend details.
At the end of the day, everything comes down to money. A secure, reliable network will go a long way in processing online payments. However, a truly omnichannel experience will also give customers the opportunity to purchase products at your brick-and-mortar locations if you have them. For in-person purchasing, you’ll need customers to check out at a payment terminal.
For your physical retail locations, you should choose a partner that offers IoT SIMs for point of sale (PoS). These PoS devices use an API that makes it easy to deploy pop-up shops and update devices across hundreds of locations so your company can scale and customize as needed. Additionally, since they connect over cellular networks, you can process payments even in areas with no WiFi access, giving you more flexibility with where you sell your products.
Quickly and efficiently delivering the products your customers pay for is critical to keeping customers satisfied. And today’s customers expect transparent, regular updates on their order status throughout the delivery process.
A partner that offers order tracking and last mile delivery will make it easy for you to build customer notifications into your order management software, so customers know exactly when to expect their purchases. And if you deliver your own products, you can also leverage IoT fleet management to monitor delivery vehicles and make delivery processes more efficient.
Finally, you need to make yourself available to customers if they have a question or issue before, during or after purchase. It’s critical that customers can easily connect with you via their preferred communication channel.
The ability to access flexible voice, video, and messaging solutions that deliver high quality, reliable two-way communication channels is crucial to customer satisfaction. Tools like contact center solutions and custom call flows can further streamline customer service operations and elevate the customer experience with intelligent routing and minimized dropped calls. Your customer service team can also assist customers with intelligent call bots or agents equipped with the right context with automated customer matching based on phone numbers.
Partner with Telnyx to create a seamless omnichannel customer experience
It’s up to your business to build an omnichannel experience your customers will love. But once you’ve decided how you’re going to reach customers, Telnyx can handle your communication needs.
From Voice and SMS APIs that will help you get your messaging across to a reliable, private network and IoT SIMs that will help you receive secure payments, Telnyx has the tools you need to delight your customers.
Download your free guide to learn more about building personalized customer experiences. Or contact our team of experts to learn how you can leverage our solutions to design a delightful retail communication experience.