A customer journey begins with the very first interaction a customer has with your organization and ends when that customer stops doing business with you.
An omnichannel customer journey incorporates multiple channels and involves interacting with and engaging customers on their preferred channels, creating a seamless, end-to-end customer journey regardless of the combination of touchpoints and interactions a customer uses to engage with your business.
Gaining an understanding of the omnichannel customer journey can make it easier to harmonize your marketing and customer service efforts across channels, while keeping your customers’ needs in focus.
Demystifying the Customer Journey
The omnichannel customer journey involves every moment a customer interacts with your brand across every touchpoint. Documenting these moments sequentially yields a sort of map, known as a customer journey map, that can be used to better understand the obstacles customers face in achieving their goals.
Customer journey maps are often divided into distinct phases to help differentiate between otherwise similar types of interactions. Examples of these phases include:
- Awareness and acquisition: The awareness phase is all about discovery. Customers coming across an ad for your business, visiting your website, calling your contact center or first setting foot in a physical storefront all qualify as part of the initial awareness phase. Customers who commit to making a purchase enter into the acquisition phase, which then meshes with the onboarding phase.
- Onboarding and engagement: Onboarding, in particular, involves all interactions meant to guide new customers through the purchasing process, including explanations on how to use get the most out of your product or service. This bleeds into the engagement phase which centers on use of your offerings once customers are more acquainted with your brand.
- Post-purchase support: This phase of the customer journey involves the interactions that take place following a customer’s purchase. It can include interactions such as reaching out to customer support via phone, visiting your company’s self-support portal or knowledge base, and contacting customer service via email, social media, or any other channel.
How the Omnichannel Customer Journey Works
An omnichannel customer journey progresses across multiple channels, including a cohesion between channels that businesses strive for and the harmonious use of all available channels to support each phase of the journey in a way that suits each customer.
Omnichannel customer journeys account for the dynamic and varied paths to acquisition different types of customers can take. For instance, someone looking to learn more about your business after seeing an ad on TV might choose to visit your website, then purchase a product at your store.
Each of these steps involves a separate channel and successfully streamlining the customer’s experience across each of these has a direct impact on whether they will follow through with buying from you.
To make sense of the stages of your omnichannel customer journey, you should first base it on real data and then plot it out as a customer journey map – a visual tool that may help clarify concerns customers have voiced or even those they have yet to tell you directly.
Armed with a data-backed omnichannel customer journey map, you can then use an omnichannel customer journey as the basis for further development of your business.
Optimizing Your Omnichannel Customer Journey
Customer journeys are becoming more complex – adopting an omnichannel approach to understanding them can help reveal more ways that you can serve your customers. The following ideas are a great way to begin:
- Centralize customer information – Some 61% of Americans have been reported to be willing to share their own personal data to gain access to more customized communications. Leveraging a centralized system from which captured customer interaction data can be pulled makes it easier to tailor future interactions to fit their needs.
- Consider channel attribution: As you track customer interactions across channels and attempt to link them all together, the need for additional insight about individual channels becomes clearer. Just because a given customer completes a purchase on one channel doesn’t mean they first engaged with your business via that same channel. It does not even mean they spent any significant amount of time using that channel aside from when they completed their purchase. Channel attribution data can tell you what role each channel played in closing the sale or acquiring your newest customers.
- Try customer journey analytics: Customer journey analytics can help take your journey mapping efforts to new heights. This branch of analytics helps expose the underlying behavioral patterns fueling customer engagement habits. Whereas a customer journey map might give you a good idea of how your customers are interacting with your business across channels, customer journey analytics helps to reveal the reasons they have for doing so.
Although the mechanisms in play behind the scenes of an omnichannel system might be complex, the overall effect for your users and your business is positive. Creating an effective omnichannel customer journey enhances efficiency and simplifies interactions across the board.
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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.