3 Ways Retail Marketers Orchestrate Perfect Omnichannel Customer Experiences
Customer experience (CX) is the last, best way for retailers to differentiate from the competition. The other guy can almost always offer a slightly better deal, and it’s hard to beat the convenience of having items delivered straight to your door. But one thing can’t be duplicated—the way your brand makes people feel.
One study found that a modest improvement in customer experience at a typical $1 billion company gains an average of $775 million over three years. It should surprise no one that CX is top of mind for enterprise executives.
Omnichannel Customer Experience is the latest evolution of CX. It’s an umbrella term that covers every customer interaction, both before and after a purchase.
Marketers are responsible for at least half of the equation. The interactions that potential customers have—whether with marketing content or on marketing-owned channels—are a sizable component of the customer experience.
Here’s how retail marketers can own their CX responsibilities and beat the competition.
Marketing and the Omnichannel Customer Experience
Some of these responsibilities traditionally belonged to other departments within the business. To be truly omnichannel, however, businesses need to break down those silos by sharing information and sharing responsibility for the customer experience.
Marketers are generally responsible for social media channels. We use them to develop the brand voice, build awareness, promote content, and engage with an audience. From the customer perspective, however, social media can be a customer service channel.
It’s important to have strategies and executable plans in place when a customer reaches out for support on a marketing-owned channel. The plan should cover the following elements:
- Social media monitoring to catch incoming messages
- A prompt initial response to every message
- A triage system to determine if customer service needs to be involved
- A mechanism for seamless handoffs to customer service
- A way to let other customers on social media know that you’ve handled the matter quickly, with integrity, and to the customer’s satisfaction
Ideally, social media interactions would be recorded in a customer data platform, making the data available to the rest of the organization. That way, social media becomes part of the 360-degree view of the customer.
Content marketing is about more than educating people until they buy something. It’s also a touchpoint for people to interact with the brand, learn what the brand is about, and form impressions.
In other words, marketing content is part of the customer experience. Top-notch content is vital to building brand goodwill.
As you create your editorial calendar, keep the customer experience in mind. That doesn’t mean abandoning top-of-funnel or bottom-of-funnel content. It means adding a few new categories:
- Content that helps your sales team address shoppers’ needs and promote sales items
- Tips and tricks and how-to content that helps your customers become experts and better use your products
- Image-building content that convinces customers you care about their community, their concerns, and their problems—not just their money
Content for your existing customers will benefit potential customers. It shows your organization is in it for the long haul—that the helpful content and support doesn’t stop once a sale is made. So it’s not just about customer experience; it’s about creating loyal customers, which is a win-win for marketing.
Any interaction with the brand is part of the customer experience. Naturally, that includes nurture emails, drip campaigns, and follow-up after the sale. Customer data is particularly useful here in terms of creating a seamless, omnichannel experience that extends through the customer’s lifetime relationship with the brand.
Start by using customer data to personalize promotional emails. You can create automated variations of your email offers based on past activity, such as products viewed or purchases made. Readers will feel like the email was created just for them, and it shows your brand values them as individuals. Continue to use data thoughtfully post purchase, too. Upsells should be highly relevant, reinforcing the value of your brand to the individual.
Good Customer Experience IS Good Marketing
The way people interact with brands continues to change dramatically. Consumers expect quick responses and personalized messaging on any channel, at any point in their customer journey.
This omnichannel customer experience is only possible if your entire company takes responsibility for it. Marketing, sales, customer service, human resources, and more all have a role to play, but marketing should take the lead.
Marketers have experience collecting, organizing, and analyzing customer data. By taking responsibility for their share of the customer experience, marketers can help build relationships with potential and current customers, inspire loyalty, and turn repeat customers into brand advocates.