Written by Taran Soodan

December 7, 2020

Cultivating an optimal customer experience for today’s shoppers has become complicated—a one-size-fits-all communication approach doesn’t cut it anymore. Some customers like to talk on the phone; others prefer a mix of email and in-person customer service. Many shoppers enjoy chatting with brands via social media channels or even like engaging with chatbots. The point is, every customer is different, and your business needs to accommodate them all to be successful.

With so many different communication preferences in today’s increasingly digital world, customer engagement strategies must work with consumer behavior, not against it. You can force a customer to engage with your brand through a particular channel, but that’s the best way to lose them.

Since customer interactions are no longer limited to over-the-counter exchanges within the boundaries of a brick-and-mortar store, neither should your efforts to build a better dynamic. E-commerce is evolving rapidly, and shoppers have swiftly adopted new online purchasing habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It’s critical for your brand to have an omnichannel customer engagement strategy that accommodates all customer engagement preferences. 

What is omnichannel customer engagement?

Omnichannel customer engagement uses multiple sales channels to provide customers with an integrated shopping experience across different platforms. 

Omnichannel customer engagement channels

Omnichannel customer engagement allows businesses to interact with customers via several channels, such as your website, social media, email, phone, SMS, and live chat. Caveat: if you take on an omnichannel customer engagement strategy, you need to prioritize a seamless, consistent customer journey across multiple platforms. No customer enjoys a disjointed experience when moving from channel to channel.

Website

A well-designed and mobile-friendly website is a critical element of a creative and prominent online presence. A report on mobile e-commerce trends reported that 79% of smartphone users made a purchase from their phones in the last six months. If your website’s mobile experience is anything less than stellar, you can kiss these potential customers good-bye. 

Your website can also be a central point of collection for customer contact information. You can entice people to subscribe to newsletters, SMS notifications, and Messenger chat notifications, enabling you to contact them on multiple channels in the future.

Email

Email is one of the most popular communication mediums to include as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy. Triggered emails, in particular, are quite useful. According to one study, triggered emails have a 70.5% higher open rate compared to any other type of email. The open rate is higher because customers receive a triggered email based on an action they’ve taken, making the message more relevant. For example, shoppers expect a company to send them a welcome message after they subscribe to a newsletter or an order confirmation email after they’ve made a purchase. 

These emails also provide individuals with relevant information tailored to their needs. You can collect data based on how they interact with your emails that will clue you into what they like, what they want, and even expect of a business.

Using the data collected from previous email campaigns and other engagement channels, you can personalize campaigns like never before. For example, if a customer frequents your retail locations, they can get emails promoting special offers at the  brick-and-mortar shop nearest to their address. 

Social media

Every customer who engages with your brand boosts your reputation and helps you bond with your target audience. Two-way engagement on social media is a must to enhance this bond.

For many customers, social media can deliver a positive experience because they’ll receive instant replies to their queries. (No more long phone calls that make a customer angrier with each second!) People can engage with your brand on social media through your Facebook Page, Facebook Messenger comments sections, or direct messaging (otherwise known as DMs).

Social media can be an integral part of your omnichannel campaigns because companies can trigger communications based on activity on these platforms. For example, if a customer tweets at a company asking for support, their customer success team can pull the customer’s info from their Twitter username and provide the help they need. 

SMS

By integrating SMS into their omnichannel communication strategy, companies can reach customers via a less competitive medium and even expect better responses. Since SMS is a more personal communication channel, take pains to use it with care. Recipients will have even less tolerance for spam than they do with email, and you must ensure customers opt-in to receive messages before you send them anything.

In-person

Omnichannel strategies are not limited to the digital realm; they can also include in-person interactions. If feasible for your company, in-person engagement with customers is the best way to detect how they’re feeling about their experience with your brand, something that can get lost in translation when communicated through other channels. 

Companies can promote in-person interactions with employees through curbside pick-up, where customers order products online and pick them up at a location nearest to them. This is a terrific example of an omnichannel experience. Customers will order online or through an app, they’ll receive an email or text confirming that their order is ready for pick-up, and when they reach the store, a friendly employee hands them their products.

Benefits of omnichannel engagement

The success of any modern-day engagement strategy hinges on how your target audience reacts to your customer-facing communications. Shoppers today utilize countless platforms and social media to shop and consume content; adopting an omnichannel engagement strategy allows you to seamlessly connect with them. Omnichannel customer engagement benefits customers and organizations in several ways:

More accurate personalization

Creating omnichannel experiences enables organizations to acquire insight into customer preferences, which they can then use to form more intimate consumer relationships. Use the data from customer interactions and activity to create personalized campaigns that speak to their unique needs. For example, if your data shows some customers prefer SMS updates instead of email, you can make SMS the primary communication channel for those individuals. 

Improved personalization allows businesses to convey brand messages to their customer base in a way that resonates with each individual.

Improved conversion rates

Omnichannel customers can potentially be more valuable. A study of 46,000 shoppers concluded that customers were more likely to spend more money with every additional channel they engaged with.

More loyal customers

Customer loyalty is a significant measure of success for any company. Omnichannel strategies can multiply the impact of marketing activities that promote such loyalty. 

Today’s customers expect companies to provide a consistent experience across channels, locations, and services. For example, if a customer texts your business seeking support, they can be directed to Messenger, where your chatbots can help provide the help they need. To deliver consistency, the bot (or human operating the live chat) should be able to access the customer’s account and know why they are contacting the business.

Find new growth opportunities

A proactive omnichannel strategy paves the way for businesses to acquire a larger pool of customer data. When you have access to data from disparate sources and systems, like browser cookies, social media, mailing lists, point-of-sale systems, and even loyalty programs, your brand has endless opportunities to keep improving. 

This cache of data offers you a well-rounded view of each customer, enabling you to communicate with them more effectively. It also helps you surface insights to create high-performing campaigns for acquiring future customers. 

For example, if an e-commerce brand notices customers are more likely to make a repeat purchase if they leave positive reviews on social media, they can encourage this practice for all customers.

Omnichannel customer engagement FAQs

Once you get the hang of omnichannel marketing, you’ll be able to effortlessly grow your company. Here are some FAQs to help drive home the fundamentals.

What are the benefits of creating an omnichannel brand experience?

An omnichannel experience provides better customer retention rates, increased client satisfaction, and can even connect the buyer’s offline and online experiences.

What is the omnichannel customer journey?

An omnichannel customer journey consists of interactions between the customer and the company as the customer progresses down the sales funnel. Each touchpoint adds to the opinion the customer has of your brand, for better or for worse.

What is the omnichannel customer experience?

The experience is made up of a buyer’s interactions with a brand across a range of channels. Ideally, they all seamlessly connect so a buyer can pick up where they left off and even continue on another channel. 

Conclusion

An omnichannel strategy can be a key competitive advantage for companies in today’s ultra-competitive business environment. By leveraging customer data from multiple channels, organizations can provide personalized communications that result in a better customer experience. With the right tools and systems, creating a seamless omnichannel journey can become a reality.

Speaking of tools…ManyChat can become a critical part of your omnichannel strategy thanks to its email, Facebook Messenger, and SMS features. Its integrations with leading platforms like Zapier and Shopify can help you create a seamless omnichannel experience.

Used by over 1 million businesses and 200,000 marketing agencies worldwide, ManyChat helps businesses like yours engage with millions of new customers through Facebook Messenger and SMS to exponentially improve your ROI.

Get started with ManyChat for free today!

The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.