4 Steps to Creating Omnichannel Engagement

Posted on by George Skaff

teamwork-multichannel-omnichannel-up-arrow-300It’s an omnichannel world, and marketers must engage customers and prospects across multiple touchpoints. How can your brand ensure customers receive the same message across various channels, especially at a global level?

Here’s four steps to make omnichannel engagement happen:

1. Audit your current online engagement strategy:
The first step is to look at how your brand engages with customers right now. Start by looking at the company’s engagement solution—or better yet, have an outside professional audit the performance of the solution and how it’s impacting marketing initiatives. A thorough analysis should reveal key insights into the brand’s current customer engagement processes and opportunities, as well as provide actionable recommendations for improvements.

2. Consider various tech solutions:
There is a growing number of possibilities when it comes to marketing through omnichannel engagement. Envision them, keeping in mind that they all should be part of the same customer journey.

Desktop – Whether through live chat or automation, marketers can make that personalized connection with the customer by using behavioral data and resulting business rules.

Mobile – If opting for live chat in the mobile environment, use the space wisely keeping the smaller screen in mind. Some ideas for optimal user experience may be leveraging transparent backgrounds and chat windows that can be minimized while still being able to track the conversation in progress. With automated engagement solutions, such as product guides, the best designs incorporate easy touch control, with larger buttons and quick replies to choose. Both of these engagement styles need to have the same smooth experience as on desktop to represent the same brand feel.

In-store – There are great ways to integrate engagement strategies in the brick-and-mortar store. For example, next to products on the shelf, a retailer or manufacturer might display QR or SMS codes that invite the customer to pull out their phone and engage with an agent, find more product information with mobile guides, or receive a special offer as incentive to purchase.

Multimedia ads – Brands can also use QR and SMS codes to engage with customers from print, TV or radio ads. These bridges from offline to online environments allow customers to connect in two-way conversation with the brand and continue on their journey to purchase.

Bringing the touchpoints together – One way to connect all your touchpoints together is with a customer ID link. For example, a brand might assign the customer a unique identifier at the beginning of the journey, say when that customer uses the SMS code seen in an ad to chat with an agent. As the customer continues to reach out using the same mobile phone, the unique ID lets any agent know where that customer has been and in what stage of the purchase process they are. In that way, the brand is giving that customer one story instead of five different stories.

3. Develop a plan for improved engagement marketing:
With the auditor’s insights and recommendations in hand, and the brand’s desired engagement marketing journey and engagement partners in mind, the brand decision makers can now enter the next step of determining a process towards transformation by evaluating:

Design & strategy – Decide how to engage with customers in the brand’s marketing initiatives. Is it best to use proactive invitations or reactive click-to-chat, or both? What about offering automated features to let customers help themselves? Utilizing strategic, targeted offers?

Decide where to engage with customers. Which product or marketing pages are best for customer engagement? Should the brand engage with them during the checkout phase to encourage upselling?

Determine which channels make the most sense for your brand. Is mobile relevant to you, and if so, are smartphones or tablets (or both) more important?What about merging offline and online media ads through chat or guides?

Determine when and how often to engage with customers. And equally as important, decide who NOT to engage.

Branding – How should the brand integrate its message, feel or culture into the engagement solution? What image should the brand create through its marketing plan? How should the brand distinguish its customer experience from competitors’?

Logistics – The most strategic or creative plans will fall short without careful planning of operations, quality assurance and optimization. It’s important to plan the screening, hiring and training of staff, as well as determine staffing levels and hours of operation. What is the appropriate compensation and motivation for desired staff behavior? How often and how should the brand analyze data, such as chat transcripts and CSAT feedback? Who will build the business rule library? Develop a plan for continually testing and optimizing business rules, graphics, scripts, etc.

4. Implement, measure, improve, repeat:
Whether the brand executes an internal customer engagement program or works with a partner to implement the new engagement plan, it’s critical to regularly measure the results through QA testing, voice of the customer research, and cross-device measurement using such tactics as the unique customer ID links. Brands should consider making all the necessary adjustments, and then measuring again, continually optimizing the program as customers evolve.

George Skaff is CMO of TouchCommerce


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