Once upon a time, companies had no choice but put their customer engagement eggs in one basket. While television and print ads influenced people, the only real-time proactive outbound channel was the telephone. In customer engagement today, the opposite problem has come to pass: there are so many ways to reach out to customers that it’s often hard to decide on a right combination of channels for a marketing strategy.
There is good evidence that older channels such as print and television are still relevant, which is one reason why companies today should hesitate to go all digital, according to Sarah Jones writing for Luxury Daily.
“Around 40 percent of consumers recall seeing television, print or online advertisements, outpacing digital-centric marketing placements such as mobile applications or social media, which only reach around three in 10 consumers,” wrote Jones. “However, even though digital marketing may not have the same reach as traditional channels, these channels deserve attention.”
Print and television ads will continue to make impressions, but they remain one-way vehicles for customers. Social media, mobile apps and other digital channels present great opportunities to engage with customers and learn what they like (or don’t like). It’s also a great way to ensure that your audience is highly targeted, as customers generally need to opt-in to receiving digital messages. (Of course, if your goal is to get your brand in front of as many eyeballs as possible, this could be considered a drawback.)
Instead, traditional channels and digital channels should blend in the most complementary way possible, according to Jones, who notes that advertising works best when paired with additional points of engagement, as using more channels to reach a consumer raises the likelihood of making them a more frequent in-store shopper. It turns out that the more channels customers use, the more likely they are to buy.
“Consumers who engage with a brand via at least 10 channels are the most likely to say they shop in-store at least once a week, with 62 percent saying they make weekly visits compared to only 41 percent of those engaging on five to nine channels,” wrote Jones. “Likewise, those who only interact with a brand on one to four channels make in-store purchases once a month or less.”
This is one of many reasons why companies today need an omnichannel customer engagement strategy that encompasses all channels customers are likely to use. Rather than building a “Frankenstein” omnichannel structure from spare parts (that may nor may not integrate properly), it’s a good choice to seek out a set of native customer service capabilities that are ready for omnichannel engagement. Solutions such as customer engagement center provide a consistent and seamless cross-channel customer experience when customers engage, inquire and request service via whatever channel suits them.
For too long, companies have been dictating the customer experiencing by forcing customers into the channels convenient for the contact center. Those days are over. Today, customers are in the driver’s seat, and they expect companies to allow them to choose their own omnichannel path to customer engagement.