Smartphones are driving e-commerce. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Cape Town – As people migrate to social media platforms on mobile devices companies are faced with the challenge of effectively reaching their customers.
“Omni-channel communication is the desired goal of any company that’s serious about providing a seamless customer experience across all channels, irrespective of the channel used,” Wynand Smit, chief executive of Inovo told Fin24.
First National Bank recently launched its new omni-channel platform and retailers Pick n Pay and Mr Price have mobile applications and websites optimised for e-commerce.
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In SA, 13 million people use Facebook, and 7.4 million are subscribers, according to a 2015 World Wide Worx study.
“The ultimate goal of omni-channel is a world where channel boundaries do not exist, they’re completely invisible to the customer, so that businesses no longer separate channels into functional silos,” said Smit.
He said that companies make critical mistakes in driving an omni-channel strategy.
Here are Smit’s seven top mistakes that companies make:
1. Multi-channel is not omni-channel
Multi-channel falls short in providing that seamless experience as it doesn’t necessarily collate all the conversations into a single view but merely offers more access points.
Omni-channel is a seamless conversation regardless of the channel (or channels) chosen, all of which can translate into practical business insights and intelligence.
2. Social media is managed as an isolated channel
Many businesses are ill-equipped to handle social media queries by traditional means (i e via their contact centre). This means that more often than not, this responsibility is handed to a marketing department or a specialist marketing agency.
In theory, this makes sense, but the lack of measurement of the responses, and the lack of direct integration with customer support departments, often leads to delayed response times, information loss, and an inconsistent experience across customer interactions channels.
3. Building up to omni-channel
Legacy contact centres should begin working toward omni-channel rather than attempting to put it all in place at once - the complexities of introducing omni-channel is a challenge that should begin with the breaking down of functional silos and understanding how the steady introduction of business tools and improved processes can lead to a progressively improved service.
4. The customer journey is not mapped
Data should be used to understand what customers value and need. Without mapping the entire customer journey across all touch points, it is very difficult to identify pain points and the opportunities to personalize and improve interactions.
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5. Lack of ownership
Recent studies reveal that most companies are unclear about who owns, oversees, and manages the digital channels in their contact centres. This “lack of management focus” directly impacts on the customer experience and how customers perceive the business in general.
6. One size does not fit all
Companies’ requirements are legion; business solutions should be built around achieving a company’s expressed goals and relieving frustration points. These are very different according to the contexts within which they work, and differ widely especially within the sales, debt collection or customer service environments. Working towards omni-channel should take this into account.
7. Built to grow
The best technology being used in the world right now is already out of date. Companies should take into account that even leading, custom design will not provide a final solution, but that constant development and reapplication of business processes will be necessary to keep the solution relevant.
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