Using a CRM to power omnichannel.

The key factors for an omnichannel marketing approach (and how to make it work in travel).

By Luke Francis28th June 2018

Omnichannel is a multichannel approach that seeks to provide customers with a seamless experience regardless of how they interact with the company, whether online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store.

Omnichannel is about the client relationship and how this is managed regardless of the way the client chooses to interact with you. Today a customer expects to interact with any company on their own terms, meaning a company must have the tools and capabilities to be able to do this.

Omnichannel in action (please scroll through carousel):

Part 1: The booking process.

Part 2: Automation.

Part 3: During the trip.

How to do omnichannel - data.

As with Personalisation and any CRM related post, we always emphasise the importance of data. Though we have other posts covering this, here is a summary. Data is an essential part of any company, knowing your customer is the key to any successful business. When it comes to omnichannel, we need to look at data in a more encompassing context. There are 3 key areas.

Data breadth.

An omnichannel strategy requires knowledge from many different sources. For each channel, you must understand how a customer interacts with you. Storing that against a central client record. Without this central record, it will be impossible to manage a customer through all channels.

Data depth.

Data should be as detailed as possible, knowing a customer did a search is useful, knowing exactly what criteria they searched for is far more useful. The depth of data should be considered through its collection, and the consistency of data depth between channels is important to review.

Quality.

Data quality is a common topic, but still so important. Most systems are "Rubbish In Rubbish Out," meaning that you cannot use bad data well or accurately.

Omnichannel - tools.

After you have created a data strategy, the next part is the tooling. Often found in CRM systems, there are two categories of tools as we see them.

  1. Single Customer View – to gather all data and knowledge into one central record.
  2. Communication – to use knowledge and data to power consistent communication to clients.

Single customer view tool.

Creating a “single customer view” is essential to power any kind of omnichannel communications and should certainly be the first port of call when tackling an omnichannel strategy. Armed with a single view, only then can we delve into the data to check and review the quality of the information we have on users. Having good data will produce more accurate services, systems, trends, communications and analytics.

This aggregated and holistic representation of data gives organisations the power to better analyse past behaviours to personalise future customer interactions via the methods explored.

With any omnichannel strategy, a company needs to understand how customers interact with the brand currently, via which channels, and how to improve them. The strategy also needs to include which channels may be around in the future.

We know that a website is the main window on a company, most companies focus a large amount of effort on improving this channel, but in isolation, a website rarely performs at its best. Interaction between channels must be a key part of an omnichannel strategy. Understand the relationship between web, email, social, search (PPC/SEO), mobile, display ads, print, brick-and-mortar – and how they work in unison.

The example at the beginning of this post shows an example of this working, though each brand and customer set works completely differently, so a tailored approach is needed.

Making it work.

Become customer-centric and develop a detailed customer understanding.

Always put the customer at the heart of the company. The strategy should always focus on understanding:

  1. Who are your customers
  2. Meeting customers where they arein the channel of their choice.
  3. Showing customers that they are valued.
  4. Understanding each customers desire to be individual, personalise your approach.

Get the data right.

The data must be right, as above it needs to be both qualitative and quantitative.

Develop a detailed customer understanding.

More than just data, knowledge and understanding of a customer comes from analysing the data to better know your customers and identify patterns in behaviour.

Get the tools right.

Technology is the key to successful implementation of omnichannel. CRM is usually the main tool as it often provides both the Single Customer View, and the ability to use the data in different channels.

Equitable channel quality.

"Meeting customers where they are, in the channel of their choice” is where this starts, but evolving habits of customers.

Summary.

A customer expects to be dealt with on their terms, and a business can differentiate itself on experience and convenience. The importance of an omnichannel approach as well as its supporting CRM platform can't be emphasised enough.

A recent Management Today article highlights a few key trends and predictions of what the future of retail looks like. It's interesting to note how relevant all of such trends - such as the importance of the experience and how a personalised service is a must-have - are to an omnichannel approach.

Take a look at other areas of CRM and discover insights on how to choose a suitable CRM system and increase customer loyalty in other Inspiretec blog posts.

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