Omnichannel means at its foundation, integration. Therefore, an omnichannel strategy could also be called an integration plan. Furthermore, there are seven essential elements to your omnichannel approach that you can’t afford to forget.
Forbes once described the omnichannel experience as the point where “marketing meets ubiquity,” an apt description. Building on the Forbes concept, I say your brand promise delivered through excellent Customer Experience is what is ubiquitous.
So, what are you integrating? You are integrating your desired Customer Experience, which should be the delivery of your brand promise, throughout the different channels whether that means shopping, ordering or technical support.
Each channel and its related moment might have a fundamental difference based on how it occurs, but it should feel like part of the same experience. Therefore, every omnichannel strategy should include the following seven elements:
A few days ago, company president Jeff Jones decided to quit after just six months on the job. He cited the company’s culture as a reason, saying in a statement to Recode: “the beliefs and approach to leadership that have guided my career are inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber, and I can no longer continue as president of the ride-sharing business.”
Ouch. That’s a heavy statement from a guy who helped Target regain its footing in the wake of a massive data breach. But Jones’s departure, in my view, is just a symptom of the larger problems that are dragging down Uber’s reputation and, ultimately, its customer experience.
There’s been no shortage of media coverage of Uber’s troubles. Last month, a former Uber engineer published a blog post saying discrimination and sexual harassment was largely ignored by Uber management and human resources personnel. Turns out, other employees have similar stories.
To be honest, I’m not lovin’ McDonald’s food! However, I’m lovin’ their plans to overhaul their Customer Experience to regain the 500 million lost customer visits. McDonald’s plan to upgrade to the “Experience of the Future “ has much to teach us all about how to adapt to the changing expectations of today’s discerning (and demanding) customers.
McDonald’s rolls out the new experience to 2,500 U.S. locations by fourth quarter 2017. They are adding meal delivery, app-based mobile ordering, curbside pickup and a facelift to the stores. In the dining room, they will also use self-serve kiosks and have employees deliver food to the table when it’s ready.
Why Easy is Crucial to Customer Experience
An easy experience is essential to a brand, particularly in the fast food business. It serves as a competitive differentiator. Also, being easy is indicative of a consistent experience. In fact, this easy concept is so significant to delivering exemplary Customer Experiences that I included it as one of the 7 imperatives in my latest book, The Intuitive Customer, co-written with Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University.
Customer-centric organizations are 60% more profitable than non-customer focused organizations (Deloitte and Touche). Forrester Research declares 2017 the year that businesses become customer-obsessed. So what is the secret? Providing ‘value’ to the Customer. However, most organizations are terrible at doing this and particularly bad at articulating it.
According to a recent Gartner survey, 74% of providers focus too much on their product features and technology. But if product features aren’t that critical when your buyer is making a decision, what is?
What customers really want from your organization is help solving their problem. They want to hear what other customers were able to achieve by using your solution. They want to understand the value and benefits your products promise to deliver, not just the product itself. But this can get a little tricky, as value is defined differently by everyone.
I have just read a great new book called Value-ology Palgrave McMillan, 2017. Value-Ology is the art and science of creating relevant value for customers.
My first manager had a poster on his wall that said, “There isn’t a lot of traffic on the extra mile,” a tenet of Customer Service. Today, that poster might read, “Why meet customer expectations when you could exceed them?” Exceeding expectations and going the extra mile are still important concepts for front-line employees, but not for the reasons many like to think they are.
A few years ago, Harvard Business Review told us all that excellent customer service was not the foundation of customer loyalty, as we once thought, but instead a minor influence. The authors argued bad customer service had the most impact on loyalty—by destroying it. Therefore, delighting customers did not lead people down the path to customer loyalty; not hacking them off did. Moreover, HBR asserted that the path to customer loyalty was the easiest path of all.
The Easy Path to Customer Loyalty
People love things to be easy. They want everything to be easy. From little decisions like which toothpaste to buy to big decisions like which index fund to invest in, they want to take the easy path to a sound decision. Not only that, when they have a problem opening the cap on said toothpaste or have questions about how to get eStatements for the index fund, they want an easy explanation or solution, and fast!
When I was a kid, my teachers labeled me the class clown. I wasn’t one for long winded jokes, but I was always ready with a snappy comeback, a sarcastic comment or a funny observation. My classmates loved my wisecracks, but I have to admit that I spent more time honing my sense of humor than reading my textbooks.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve held onto my wisecracking ways and yet, I’ve been successful in business.
Research confirms that my success isn’t just an accident (though of course I like to think that I am exceptionally witty). According to a study conducted by the Harvard and University of Pennsylvania business schools, using humor effectively can actually bolster your status at work. If you can make people laugh, they’ll think you are more competent and confident than you might actually be.
“If you are brave enough to tell the joke you want to tell, whether it succeeds or not, people ascribe confidence to you because they see you as efficacious” for taking the risk, considering all the ways a joke can go poorly, said one of the study’s co-authors, Allison Wood Brooks of the Harvard Business School.