In the highly competitive business landscape, cultivating (and maintaining) customer relationships is critical to realizing long-term growth. Companies increasingly acknowledge that a unified (or omnichannel) communication experience has advantages over a fragmented (or multichannel) communication experience. However, putting an omnichannel structure in place requires a change in mindset and adopting new technologies.
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What Are Multichannel Communications?
A multichannel-focused business offers more than one communication channel. For example, the company’s customer or technical support functions may be accessible via voice, SMS/text messaging, or email.
However, when customers contact the company, they must restate their problem to an entirely new associate. Besides wasting both parties’ time, this approach results in frustration for the customer. The company stands a good chance of losing the customer’s business because of its substandard service experience.
What are Omnichannel Communications?
An omnichannel focused-business takes an integrated approach to customer communications. Many brands offer popular channels such as voice, email, SMS/text, chatbots, and chat apps. Customers will have a seamless service experience regardless of their preferred communication channel.
If the customer initiates multiple contacts, each support associate will have updated information at their fingertips. If the customer first calls the company’s voice helpline and follows up with an SMS/text message, both agents can utilize the most current information.
For perspective, today’s digitally savvy customers expect this single unified service experience. This expectation is primarily due to the superb customer service online shoppers received during the COVID-19 pandemic’s eCommerce boom. Today, customers continue to demand this seamless service experience, and omnichannel communication can provide it.
4 Omnichannel Communication Benefits
Businesses that adopt an omnichannel communication strategy will realize four essential benefits. First, a cohesive brand message will provide more impact in a crowded marketplace. When all communication channels possess the same real-time information, employees can increase efficiency and be more productive. When each customer enjoys a unified service experience, they’ll likely be more satisfied, increasing the chances of brand loyalty.
Mitto: A Decade of Omnichannel Leadership
Although many companies have just begun to realize omnichannel communication’s advantages, Switzerland-based Mitto has a decade of industry leadership under its belt. Founded in 2013, Mitto is focused on creating satisfying brand interactions over customers’ preferred channels. Over time, communication technology advancements enabled the company to expand its suite of communication media.
Mitto’s Chief Operating Officer, Ilja Gorelik, details the channels’ ongoing evolution. “At Mitto, we’re on a mission to carry reliable, high-quality communications between businesses and their consumers every time.
“Our company was founded in 2013 to build a state-of-the-art Application-to-Person SMS messaging platform, unrivaled in trustworthiness, that could hold the requirements of a new wave of A2P services.
Mitto Expands Its Communication Channels
“Since the demand grew for enablement of omnichannel communications capabilities, we extended our portfolio beyond SMS to now include voice, chatbots, all major chat apps (Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, etc.), RCS, Google Business Messaging, myriad CRM and promotion platform integrations and, in recent times, pre-built tools for bulk campaigns and conversational support chats…Simply put, we create communication happen.
“There is no single channel to reach every customer, no perfect message, and customers’ expectations for brands are sky high. Mitto’s services help brands navigate this complexity,” Ilja Gorelik emphasized.
The Importance of Customers’ Preferred Channels
Engaging customers’ preferred communication channels is critical. First, this signals that the business honors each customer’s communication preferences. In addition, hiring on the customer’s preferred channels means company communications are more likely to reach their intended audience.
Ilja Gorelik puts the channel preference issue into perspective. “Brands must speak to customers wherever they are ─ Chat Apps, SMS, or other ─ with a single consistent voice. Otherwise, they may risk losing them and their revenue. Drawing multiple digital channels seamlessly will be foundational to unifying customers’ touch points across all channels.
“Through its worldwide partnerships with mobile network operators and sophisticated routing capabilities, Mitto gives brands the flexibility to gather consumers wherever they are with the agility and speed they require today,” Ilja Gorelik summarized.
Switching to Omnichannel: A 3-Step Strategy
This 3-step template may help companies adopt an omnichannel communication approach. Working with a recognized omnichannel solutions professional can help to streamline the process.
Maintain a Customer-First Focus
Customers are essentially in the driver’s seat when they choose their preferred communication channels. Companies should honor those preferences by identifying the communication channels, digital tools, and approaches that will help to engage and motivate these customers.
Learn About Customers’ Attributes and Behavior
Businesses often possess anecdotal knowledge about their customers. Surveys and data analytics can provide insights into purchase patterns and consumer trends. A reputable market research firm, or an omnichannel communication solutions provider, can take the lead in obtaining this information.
Develop a Cohesive Voice
With a business’ multichannel focus, message channels function in self-contained silos. The channels may not necessarily share branding elements, and each channel’s support associates don’t share access to customer interaction data.
In contrast, an omnichannel focus promotes unified communication with a single voice. The business’ branding and marketing materials are uniform on every channel. Customer support associates can access common real-time customer data. This enables smoother communication and minimizes customer friction.
Long-Term Relationships Are Key
Businesses should understand that an omnichannel communication strategy is focused on cultivating long-term customer relationships rather than short-term sales. Mutually beneficial business relationships promote customer loyalty, repeat sales, retention, and referral business.
A business’ omnichannel communication strategy components can include personalized products or services. A multi-tier customer loyalty program is also worth consideration.
Guidance for Telecoms Switching to Omnichannel: Infobip
Despite omnichannel communication’s recognized benefits, some telecommunications companies have hesitated to jump on board. Ana Colak is the Head of Global Telecom Growth for Infobip, an enterprise cloud solutions provider. She noted the challenges of switching from a multichannel to an omnichannel engagement approach.
“Switching from a multichannel to an omnichannel engagement strategy is not an easy transformation for telecoms. They’re large enterprises with millions of customers and many touchpoints along their customer journey. They’re older organizations, unlike digital natives, and they have a lot of legacy infrastructure – meaning anything that needs to be done must be thought through.
“When you add multiple layers of legacy infrastructure and try to switch to omnichannel engagement without any downtime service for customers, the process starts to get a bit complicated to detangle and ultimately slows things down.
“But with customer demands rapidly shifting, the switch from multichannel to omnichannel will have to happen for telecoms worldwide. It is not impossible because others have successfully done it with the help of a cloud communication solutions provider,” Ana Colak emphasized.
The Nuts and Bolts of Omnichannel
Next, Ana Colak presented a template for telecoms’ adoption of an omnichannel strategy. “An essential principle in any omnichannel engagement strategy should always be customer-centricity. Telecoms must ensure their omnichannel strategy solves their customers’ problems, not just their own.
“However, there are many other elements to be considered here. The top four components of an omnichannel strategy, in my opinion, are:
- Frictionless Delivery
- Brand Experience
- Consistent Data Flow
“Understanding technology, managing integration, leading cultural change, adding new channels, and managing data more efficiently are all part of this effort.
“Telecoms can personalize customer engagement by communicating over multiple chat apps and modern channels such as WhatsApp, email, voice, video, RCS, Viber, Google Business Message, and many more. Let customers engage and interact with you quickly and seamlessly through multiple digital channels will increase their satisfaction and enhance the overall brand experience,” Ana Colak summarized.
Omnichannel Marketing Drives Increased Brand Loyalty: Optim-Eyez
Businesses adopting an omnichannel communication (and marketing) strategy can realize substantial rewards. Digital marketing expert Sam Hurley operates Optim-Eyez, a personal brand consulting company offering top-tier digital marketing services.
He is notably enthusiastic about omnichannel marketing’s ability to deliver a unified customer experience that offers big rewards. “The customer journey is becoming incredibly advanced, often stretching across considerable periods …In addition, more devices and channels are being used than ever before.
“Omnichannel marketing presents the most significant opportunity to brands in this modern era: An enjoyably seamless, (end-to-end) connected customer experience that positively impacts conversions and brand recall/loyalty.
“Not only this, but a deeper ‘panoramic’ view of customer journeys and behaviors allows a business to understand its relationships before, during, and after-sales.
“This coveted view is a natural partner to any omnichannel effort — because you simply can’t be successful in this type of marketing without the most insightful analytics and subsequent data…It’s an approach that ultimately separates ‘popular brands’ from those ‘insanely successful’ behind the curtains,” Sam Hurley remarked.
Omnichannel is the Wave of the Future
Businesses that adopt an omnichannel strategy are well-positioned to build customer relationships that lead to sustained growth. Expert guidance and a long-term approach can help to streamline the process.