How to avoid conflicting messages in omnichannel

22nd Sep 2017

Jason Rushforth, General Manager and Vice President, Infor CX

Customers now set the pace of when, where and how they interact with a business and they expect a full level of service whether online or in person.  It’s forced brands to be in all places at once and available anytime, driving them to accelerate getting their message out via multiple channels, and respond quickly to incoming inquiries

The inevitable result of this organized chaos is that sometimes those messages and conversations overlap and conflict.  This is compounded by all the different departments that have different touchpoints with a customer: be it marketing, customer service, sales, PR and event the legal department.

With all these factors, how can a business deliver a consistent and timely message to customers, no matter the channel? 

Align teams that touch the customer

It’s important to start at the top.  Modern businesses have to develop a customer-centric, omni-channel strategy and align every department that touches the customer under a chief marketing officer (CMO).  The role of the CMO is to bridge the communication among all the teams so that there is clear visibility into plans, execution and touchpoints across channels.

Not having a figurehead with authority oversee all the elements of a strategy and how they go together can cause confusion and frustration in the market.  That leader must be empowered to know the touchpoints, ensure they are consistent and make sure all departments are aligned.

Map the customer journey

Mapping the customer journey help a business visualize customer experience across channels and ensure communications are timed appropriately and relevant. By anticipating possible customer actions along each step of the journey map, a business can create the right content and offers.

Depth is critical when it comes to customizing a customer journey. For example, a customer who has only purchased items on sale pricing should be approached differently than a customer who values prestige and luxury brands. Customers who respond better to email than social media or direct mail should have a journey with more email touch points.

The customer journey should also be dynamic, with each next step of the journey dependent on what actions (or lack of actions) were taken by a customer in the previous step. Mapping out the customer journey helps a business keep customers engaged at all times, ensuring they aren’t driving around in circles—or worse—left standing at a dead-end. The next step of their experience must always make sense and be personalized for maximum effectiveness (and profitability).

Invest in marketing technology

The uncomfortable truth for many marketing departments is that it’s just not feasible to manage any of the above manually through the crutch of a spreadsheet.  There are too many variables that affect even the best laid out plans, let alone how a business can react to the changes. When communications go out to customers from different departments, keeping the customer experience consistent is nearly impossible— unless each department’s efforts are transparent and shared.

To make the shift to omni-channel and consistent customer experience a business has to coordinate a lot of moving parts and have the right technology in place to support those efforts.  It starts with controlling and coordinating workflow across departments, coordinating marketing calendars, allocating resources and managing budgets.  The next wave is to collect data and track results, pinpoint the most effective efforts, monitor quality, automate and streamline approval processes, share and repurpose assets, and assign responsibilities for transparency. 

Better management means better alignment, so customers have a seamless, consistent and meaningful relationship with a brand without mixed messages stopping sales.


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