We’re hearing a lot these days about delivering omni-channel experiences to our customers to make shopping seamless across multiple channels. But what does that mean for most brands? An omni-channel approach goes beyond just connecting your various channels and assigning various people to engage and connect with customers there.
More and more brands are getting the hang of communicating with customers via a variety of social channels, but that’s only part of the puzzle. To deliver a truly omni-channel, integrated experience, you have to connect the dots internally as well—which means connecting your employees so they can collaboratively deliver that seamless experience.
Start With Top-down Strategy
Omni-channel sounds very forward-thinking and sexy, but it’s not for the timid or business-as-usual mentality. All company stakeholders need to be on the same page when it comes to delivering integrated quality service from every possible touchpoint. That means everyone should be involved in building the strategy. Executives, Marketing, Sales, IT, Customer Service—any staff member that’s directly involved with customer experience must be on board and in sync, or you risk falling back into siloed thinking: “That’s so-and-so’s job.” If they help you build it, they’ll be motivated and excited by the change.
Omni-channel requires overlapping to ensure that the customer perceives a seamless experience from end to end. Helping a customer through his entire buyer’s journey means knocking down internal barriers to hold his hand at each stage, making sure that each hand-off is perfect. Plan your strategy by including all departments early in brainstorming a path to success.
Build Your Internal Network
Once your overall goals and strategy are worked out, the next step is to ensure internal transparency between departments and to make it easy for employees to connect with one another. Intranets have been around for a number of years and are constantly evolving, such as Yammer and eXo, but omni-channel thinking goes beyond just creating an internal collaboration network. Make it super-easy for employees to connect and bond as humans, too. Great teams have the freedom to learn from each other and support each other inside and outside your company.
Mentoring is a good way to foster this type of natural connectedness, as is an open-door policy in general. When employees feel welcomed and at ease from the day their employment begins, they have much more energy to focus on the shared goal—to give every customer a great experience.
Encourage Collaboration and Innovation
The six words never to utter in an omni-channel environment: “We’ve always done it this way.” Empower your employees to collaborate with each other, float new ideas and try new ways of getting things done. Stop thinking in terms of silos of information and people, and start thinking about ways to connect everyone.
ABT (Always Be Tweaking)
Developing an omni-channel focus isn’t easy, but collaboratively developing a system, ensuring that everyone is on board, and breaking internal barriers are key to delivering seamless customer experiences across channels. Technology is changing and new channels open up every day, so staying on top means staying flexible enough to shift and tweak processes as needed.
This is a very exciting time to be in business because technology is allowing us to not only change our thinking around delivering value to customers, but also to empower every employee to be a part of that process. When everyone’s connected and processes stay transparent, it’s much easier to maintain fluidity in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace. Think about embracing an omni-channel focus in your organization.