Omnichannel experience is a multi-channel approach to marketing, selling and serving customers in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience—no matter how or where a customer reaches out.
While relaxing on my couch last Saturday evening, I turned on Netflix for my nightly ritual of binge-watching the latest and greatest show recommended by my friends. Twenty minutes later, I’m transfixed—locked into the alternate reality of a “Black Mirror” episode where technology has merged with our minds. In this episode, a company has created a technology that uses a person’s own consciousness as a channel to power smart-home assistants, creating what seems like the most personalized customer experience possible. After all, who knows exactly how you like your bread toasted better than you?
This takes omnichannel to a whole new level.
Omnichannel is one of many buzzwords being thrown around by well-dressed marketers with the intention of dazzling the suits in corporate boardrooms into buying the latest marketing automation platform. But there’s a reason you’re hearing this word everywhere: an estimated 73% of customers use multiple channels across their journey. Not to mention, these customers are more valuable: the more channels a shopper uses, the more likely they are to spend more on purchases, and the more loyal they are.
Which brings a few questions to mind: How can you quickly get your customer what they want, when they want it, and how they want it? And how do you get there without having to test their behavior through exhaustive offer emails and surveys, online ads that border on stalking, and incessant calls from customer support? Customer fatigue is real. In the quest for the holy grail to find the right personalized experience for each customer, are companies losing legitimacy? And are they spending too much to do so?
ODI: Finding the Right Channel at the Right Time
Fortunately for us marketers, Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI)™ can help us to establish holistic customer studies that provide meaningful feedback to help build out rich, individualized customer experiences—without having to reach out to customers.
ODI is a powerful innovation process that tracks and prioritizes the universe of customer needs across the ideal journey and assesses preferred channel experience across each step of this journey. It captures all of the functional and emotional needs that customers are looking for and allows you to understand them in their entirety. ODI ensures the messaging stays coordinated across all channels (social, web, in-store) and the conversation is continued in a natural way.
Competitor customers are incorporated into the survey as well, which provide the additional benchmarking insights necessary to better meet your customers' needs. In combination with a needs-driven segmentation that prioritizes the key underserved needs of the customer, you have a rich canvas of detail that helps you to create more effective journeys for your customers.
This needs-based approach is five times more successful than traditional, ideas-based customer innovation. In his book "Jobs-to-be-Done," Tony Ulwick references an independent research study that shows ODI innovation success rates at 86%.
We helped a large retail organization understand how to alter in-store experiences to satisfy the needs of underserved, budget-conscious, time-constrained customers. We recommended to a telecom client that establishing an online technical assistance center for small businesses can lead to increased product and service satisfaction. We showed an insurance company that implementing a more robust digital plan/provider comparison tool can enhance customer confidence around the upfront policy purchase decision. These ideas themselves may not have been revolutionary, but providing the data-driven, customer-centric ODI lens helped to prioritize these solutions/channels over others and eliminated the guessing game around where to invest. The ODI process helped each of these clients create a more meaningful omnichannel customer service model roadmap.
We are all looking for that all-encompassing, seamless omnichannel experience, but the key is to be smart about it. Focus your investment around customer preferences through a proven research method instead of building all of the channel possibilities upfront and hoping for success.
To learn more about using ODI to inform improvements to your buyer's journey, check out this ebook: Decoding Customer Needs with the Buyer's Journey Framework.
About the Author
As a Director in Harte Hanks' Consulting Services Practice, Asha helps to spearhead CMO advisory engagements ranging from Outcome-Driven-Innovation efforts to go-to-market strategy work to marketing automation and lead generation work. She is an accomplished management consulting professional with deep experience in the Healthcare, Insurance, Health & Wellness, CPG, Telecom and IT Services industries.More Content by Asha Rangaraj