The 1980s were a simpler time. Back then, there were only two ways of interacting with customers: in store and by phone.
But in our own time, customer interactions are far more complicated, spread out across a variety of channels, which means businesses must be present everywhere and around the clock: in store, online, on social, and via mobile. Omnichannel shopping experiences have become so much the norm that customers today, 87% of them, assume it’s a given that they can do business with a company across multiple channels. Moreover, they expect to receive a seamless experience across all of those channels.
According to Google, 98% of Americans are interacting with businesses across a variety of devices everyday. But the key to a successful onmichannel strategy isn’t just the number of channels made available to customers; it is also ensuring that all of those channels work together in an effortless and intuitive way. Most customers, according to a recent poll, emphasized the importance of being able to pick up where they left off when they switched channels; unfortunately, the majority of respondents also complained that it is often not easy to switch between channels, particularly when communicating with a business’s customer service department.
More Opportunities for Feedback
Customers are moving from store to screen and back again. This poses two distinct challenges for businesses when they ask for customer feedback. One, customers who feel frustrated by a company’s poor omnichannel capabilities will likely hesitate before giving their time to provide feedback. And, two, an increased number of channels requires that businesses are actually capable of providing customer feedback opportunities across all of those channels.
However, businesses that invest in fluid, comprehensive strategies for multichannel feedback will be rewarded. Research published by Oracle shows that 83% of businesses armed with multichannel feedback strategies experienced higher and more consistent levels of customer satisfaction than those without. A multichannel strategy makes it easier for a business to expand its reach, providing customers with more opportunities to interact with it.
With some planning, customers can be provided multiple opportunities to give feedback using the channel that is most convenient for them. The following suggestions will help.
Three Tools for Gathering Customer Insights
Context-driven, clearly focused surveys to measure customer happiness are perhaps the easiest way to capture customer feedback across different contact channels: homepage, email, mobile, or social networking site. Among the various benefits, surveys are especially useful for capturing customer knowledge over time; the same questions can be asked periodically, enabling a business to compare data for ongoing assessment of specific areas. Surveys also go a long way towards winning customer loyalty as they show customers that their opinions are not just important but at the heart of a business’s decision-making process.
Web Analytics Programs
Web analytics programs provide important information about how many people are visiting a company’s web site, the number of social media shares, the country they are coming from, and navigation paths. Web analytics will also identify what customers are browsing for, how long they stay on a page, and whether or not they are repeat visitors. Programs like Google Analytics provide detailed insights into what is driving web site traffic, engagement, and – importantly – conversions.
Social Media Monitoring Software
Creating a strong online presence through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and other social media platforms is a must. But so is collecting and analyzing the information customers are sharing via these venues. Fortunately, a wide array of social media monitoring software is available to help stay on top of all these channels. Social media monitoring tools show a business what customers are saying about it, how often it is mentioned, identify complaints, and recognize trends. A business can more easily identify who its brand advocates and detractors are, respond to both groups, and manage its reputation in real time.
Today’s customers expect to be able to use whatever channel is most convenient to them. This means that companies must have in place a comprehensive and far reaching feedback strategy that appeals to all customers no matter what channel they prefer.
A combination of all the above feedback tools will provide the most complete picture of what customers are saying. And, of course, every opportunity to ask for feedback is also an opportunity to win new customers, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and develop a competitive edge.