Omnichannel strategies, integrated marketing, holistic customer experiences—these terms may seem like buzzwords, but they represent an important shift in the way businesses view the customer journey.
Namely, that a customer’s journey is growing increasingly nonlinear and spreading across devices.
Instead of having 15 separate ways to communicate with businesses, customers are looking for more personalized, conversational and seamless experiences.
That’s where the omnichannel approach comes in.
What is the omnichannel?
Omnichannel may sound futuristic, but as any Latin aficionado will tell you, the “omni” simply stands for “all”. It’s a strategy that uses all your communication channels.
But that doesn’t mean your business needs to be on every app and social media platform to create an omnichannel experience. That’s more of a multichannel approach, which is useful for increasing your online presence but doesn’t allow for the cross-channel communication that customers now expect.
The omnichannel experience, on the other hand, focuses on unifying your prime channels to create a seamless, personalized customer experience.
If the customer switches channels or devices, they won’t have to start their journey from square one. Their preferences and other personalized features can sync across channels, so that your brand’s messaging stays consistent.
What does an omnichannel experience look like?
An omnichannel experience provides customers with the freedom to switch between devices and mediums without fracturing communication.
Here’s an example of how a yoga studio could use multiple, cross-channel touchpoints:
- A customer, inspired by her friend’s yoga retreat photos on Instagram, Googles local studios from her smartphone.
- She clicks the result for Zipwhip Yoga Studio and scrolls through a few Google Business Reviews.
- So far, so good! She checks their website to see what classes the studio offers.
- The customer wants to schedule her free class to try the studio out, so she calls the business number and speaks to one of the friendly instructors.
- After a short conversation about previous injuries and available times, the customer is scheduled for her free class.
- The yoga studio sends the customer a text the morning of her class as a reminder.
- When the customer realizes she’s been scheduled for a late work meeting, she texts back and reschedules for a later class. Crisis averted.
- After the class, the customer receives an email newsletter from the studio with all their upcoming classes and events for the month, plus detailed pricing structure.
- The customer calls the studio to sign up for a membership.
- After that, she even follows Zipwhip Yoga Studio on Instagram and posts her own inspiring photos.
How business texting fits into an omnichannel strategy
Business texting can bridge the gaps between your emails and phone calls, boost your marketing campaigns and help you build more personal relationship with your customers. It’s conversational, elicits quick responses and plays well with your other communication tools.
Dedicated texting software allows your business to sync information across devices and departments through the cloud and even integrate with your CRM, creating a central hub that’ll help your team offer a seamless experience.
That way, everyone is on the same page when a customer texts a follow-up about their claim status, or if a client wants to reschedule their yoga class. It’s part organization and part personalization.
Texting isn’t a feature that’s just “nice to have” anymore. It’s a key player in the omnichannel strategy.
Here’s how businesses can implement texting into their omnichannel strategies to improve the customer experience:
1. Texting encourages conversations
Two-way texting is designed to be conversational and an omnichannel experience is all about keeping the conversation going through the customer journey.
Texting provides more access to your business—specifically more mobile access. The smartphone has grown into a certifiable “command center” for consumers. This device will often be their first point of contact with a business, from looking up product reviews to scrolling through your website, even if they’re in the physical store.
Salesforce found that 71% of shoppers used their mobile devices in-stores in 2018, up from 62% the previous year. The majority of your customers have their phone with them while they’re shopping. Lean into your mobile communication to keep your customers engaged and interacting with your brand on and offline.
2. Texting is personalized
Business texting features can help your team craft personal messages without sacrificing productivity.
As Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest sound in the world.” So why not include everyone’s name using Dynamic Fields in a Template for your segmented Group Message?
Customers expect personalization in their products and experiences. They’re accustomed to targeted ads in their feeds, personalized video recommendations and custom device preferences.
Conversations with businesses are no different.
Having names, billing information, preferences and an archive of your past conversation securely stored in the cloud can help you further personalize the customer experience without starting the process from square one each time.
3. Texting is a fast and responsive medium
Texting is a high-priority medium, meaning that consumers will often respond more quickly to their texts than an email, DM or missed call.
In our research for the 2019 State of Texting Report, we found that 83% of consumers responded to their texts within 30 minutes. And that included texts from businesses!
This strength makes texting an ideal way to fix breakpoints or get through those bottlenecks in communication when you or your customer needs a quick response.
When looking at the customer experience from a service and support mindset, PWC found four features that consumers valued the most: speed, convenience, helpfulness and friendliness.
Texting answers those demands quickly, without being too formal or disrupting the customer’s day.
4. Texting is consumer-preferred
There are many reasons why your customers don’t pick up the phone anymore. They could be part of the 77% of consumers who struggle with phone anxiety.
Or they’re part of the 96% who find phone calls – especially those from unknown numbers – disruptive and automatically reject them to ward off spam.
Either way, a well-timed text message can help you jump channels and successfully reach your customer when other approaches fail.
For example, loan officers can benefit from the discretion of a text to encourage more responses when dealing with billing and collections. Galli Davis at ASG Results found that loan officers using texting ramped up their productivity, going from between $400,000 and $600,000 to over $1M per person. A text may be all it takes to get your customer on the phone or face-to-face to continue the process.
5. Texting facilitates smooth transitions to your other channels
Business texting isn’t meant to replace your other channels.
Instead, it’s a way to facilitate larger conversations and keep your communication lines open for customers through whichever channel they prefer. It helps you keep your customers engaged, even when they switch devices.
Texting can help those transitions from one point in the customer journey to the next, from one channel to the next, in a conversational way.
Learn how to optimize your channels for the customer experience
In order to optimize and unify your communication channels, you need to know which channel to use and when.
Check out these resources to learn more about emails, phone calls and texts fit into your omnichannel strategy: