What is an

Author: Rose de Fremery

Delivering a quality experience is critical to your customers—nearly three-quarters of consumers point to experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, behind price and product quality, according to PwC. Almost 80% of American consumers say that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.

This means as customers consider where to take their business, they are increasingly evaluating their options with experience at the top of their minds. By embracing an omnichannel strategy, you can show your customers that you prioritize the experience they have with you. In doing so, you can inspire them to convert and earn their continued loyalty.

What is an omnichannel strategy?

An omnichannel strategy is an integrated approach that enables customers to seamlessly interact with various departments and channels across a company. These channels typically include but are not limited to voice, email, websites, social media and mobile apps. Because these channels are integrated with one another rather than siloed, customers can quickly switch from one channel to the next and keep the conversation going without losing crucial context or having to repeat important information with a new agent. Omnichannel experiences are also highly personalized, catering to the unique tastes and preferences of each customer.

Although an omnichannel approach has a strong digital component, it can also include and enhance the experiences in brick-and-mortar settings. For example, one analysis found omnichannel grocery shoppers spend up to 20% more compared to shoppers that only rely on  experiences. Large businesses were the earliest omnichannel adopters, particularly in the retail sector. More organizations of all sizes and industries are beginning to embrace this best practice as they recognize the benefits of omnichannel engagement.

Why do businesses need an omnichannel strategy?

Whether purchasing products or services, customers increasingly view the experience as fundamental to their satisfaction. Accordingly, they're actively exploring new digital channels that may provide them with a more rewarding customer experience. According to Salesforce, nearly three-quarters (71%) of customers changed brands at least once in the previous year. Customers are increasingly likely to favor digital channels, especially if they're members of Gen Z, according to PwC. Although those channels may be siloed from an internal operations perspective, the customers themselves don't look at it that way. In their minds, all of these channels are simply entry points for communicating with the business as a whole. Keeping the conversation going while switching from one channel to the next should be as seamless as it is when chatting with a friend.

Similarly, customers should be able to begin browsing a company's products online and then complete that process upon arrival at the store. Or, if they wish, they should be able to complete a purchase on their favorite messaging app on their way home. To make these experiences possible and earn continued customer loyalty, businesses are turning to omnichannel engagement strategies.

The benefits of an omnichannel strategy

The benefits of an omnichannel are myriad. When customers can seamlessly engage with your business on any channel, their satisfaction increases which can potentially result in additional revenue. Brands with a strong omnichannel strategy enjoy 89% more customer retention and satisfaction than those that don't. Moreover, by opening up new in-channel purchase opportunities for your customers, for example in messaging apps or on social channels, you could potentially drive additional revenue. According to Zendesk’s CX Trends 2022 Report, 93% of customers say they will spend more with companies that offer their preferred communication channels, such as chat.

You'll also notice that this approach opens the door to internal efficiency improvements, as customer communications are streamlined and agents can simply pick up on conversations mid-stream without having to ask customers for basic information before proceeding. This operational enhancement could also directly correspond to increased revenue—92% of customers report they will spend more with companies that ensure they won't need to repeat information, Zendesk also found.

An omnichannel approach is beneficial from a brand perspective, as well. When well executed and consistently applied, an omnichannel strategy leaves your customers with a clear understanding of your brand and its dedication to delivering a high-quality customer experience.

How to ensure omnichannel success

Without a clear omnichannel strategy, your business could run into several common omnichannel challenges —particularly if it is exploring an omnichannel approach for the first time. Businesses could face obstacles if they overly focus on the technology involved without making sure the customer's needs come first. They may not understand which channels have the most value and might even end up over-investing in a channel that isn't well suited to their customer's preferences. These businesses may fail to realize the desired return on investment that inspired them to embrace an omnichannel approach in the first place.

Engaging the expertise of a trusted partner can help you avoid these pitfalls and ensure omnichannel success, especially if your business is new to the omnichannel customer experience or if it is juggling other high-priority digital transformation initiatives. An experienced partner that has implemented omnichannel strategies for other companies in your industry could leverage its domain knowledge on your behalf, helping you craft a customer experience design with an emphasis on omnichannel engagement and making sure that your customers' journeys are effortless at every turn.

Earn your customers' loyalty with an omnichannel strategy

Customers are more discerning than ever, evaluating potential purchases with a particular focus on the experience involved. Businesses may be hard-pressed to deliver on these expectations without a clear omnichannel approach, however. By developing an omnichannel strategy for customer engagement, your business can help increase customer satisfaction, boost revenues and earn long-term customer loyalty.

Discover how Verizon's Contact Center and Customer Experience Solutions can help you build brand-defining customer experiences.

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