The benefits of
an omnichannel
marketing strategy
for small and
medium businesses

Author: Gary Hilson

We all know the old adage, "The customer is always right." If true, then businesses should hear the clear message from customers—they want to get in touch with businesses in a way that suits them. This could be via phone, email, text or social media. This is why so many organizations are adopting an omnichannel marketing strategy for their external communications and customer service. Consider some recent research that shows the views of customers on communicating with business:

An omnichannel marketing strategy should include voice and text messages

Recent events have helped to accelerate the growing trend for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy beyond their brick-and-mortar store. One recent survey of small and midsize business decision makers found that 63% transitioned to digital and online operations in the past year, and 77% have either added or upgraded technologies that support connectivity since the start of the pandemic.

So, which marketing communications channels should SMBs consider adopting? Obviously, each business will have different requirements, but it is important to note omnichannel marketing shouldn't just be thought of in terms of email and social media. More traditional forms of communication such as voice and text messages remain key channels for customer engagement.

For example, one survey found text messaging (or SMS) was viewed as the best channel to drive customer engagement by 75% of customer service professionals. Meanwhile, a survey conducted by OnePoll found 69% said talking to a live agent by phone is one of their top three preferred methods of communication with a company's customer service department.

Creating seamless customer experiences

While the multiple touchpoints enabled by an omnichannel marketing strategy offers many advantages, it is important to understand that those touchpoints need to be coordinated. True omnichannel marketing is not just about having multiple touchpoints with your customers, it breaks down silos so each channel knows what the other is doing, and customer information is shared across channels to deliver a consistent, personalized and seamless experience. An omnichannel marketing strategy creates a framework where each channel supports the other, allowing SMBs to efficiently and consistently meet customer demands.

This is where your contact center can play such a critical role. The contact center should have a single view of the customer's full history by enabling the smooth flow of information from one channel to another. Other channels such as mobile apps, web or social media must all converge over a single platform to deliver a fully omnichannel experience. The modern technologies that enable all these channels should also extend to any brick-and-mortar location, with in-store employees able to tap into the same information that's available through the contact center, including a history of interactions through other channels.

For the customer, it should feel as though the employees are sharing notes about their concerns, and for the customer service rep, it means less time looking up information and asking questions that have already been asked and answered.

Omnichannel marketing needs reliable network bandwidth

Just as all the digital channels are powered by cloud-based technologies behind the scenes, cloud contact centers and new technologies can help SMBs meet the customer on their communications channel of choice and accommodate their expectations even when the consumer changes the channel throughout the customer journey. No matter the channel, a cloud-based contact center is a simple and affordable foundation for SMBs looking to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy that offers multiple integrated touchpoints for customers.

A multichannel contact center powered by the cloud lets customers contact you virtually anywhere and anytime to distributed agents who are working at your business or remotely. A robust contact center not only unifies channels to share information but also integrates with existing customer relationship management (CRM) and helpdesk solutions. A cloud-based solution also allows you to scale up as needed, making it affordable to adopt and the associated monthly costs predictable. It can also help track key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics to better manage resources and improve the overall customer experience.

For an SMB with multiple retail locations, a contact center can be critical for nurturing a customer relationship that is no longer limited to in-store transactions. Delivering a multipoint customer experience as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy can add pressure to your network capacity and performance as customers engage with you on the web, through mobile apps, on the phone and in the store. A robust network infrastructure, can help ensure your customer experience agents can engage with customers using a wider variety of channels including voice, chat and video.

An omnichannel marketing strategy enables SMBs to support customers who want personalized, engaging and differentiated experiences across multiple touchpoints. Cloud-based contact center solutions connecting these channels through a fast, secure network infrastructure will provide the necessary bandwidth capacity that guarantees smooth omnichannel customer engagement, acting as an extension of the brick-and-mortar retail experience.

Learn more about how Verizon can help you create more personal, convenient and engaging customer experiences with contact center services.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.