As a marketer, you need to track how you engage with customers across every marketing channel you use. Those channels could include email marketing, social media, your website, physical store, and more. Understandably, tracking your audience across multiple channels is difficult, but it is essential.
This article will discuss the concept of the omnichannel customer journey. We’ll look at how to map the customer journey, monitor interactions, and use those insights to grow your business. Let’s dive into this omnichannel customer journey guide.
What is an Omnichannel Customer Journey?
The customer journey is a model that depicts how people interact with your company from first encountering your brand through to repeat purchase. In an omnichannel customer journey, you follow and guide the customers across multiple channels, providing them with a consistent brand experience.
Your audience will engage with your various marketing channels at different stages of your customer journey. For example, people might first encounter your company through your website blog. Those people might return to your website throughout the customer journey to learn more about your company, make a purchase, etc.
Other channels might only be important for certain parts of the customer journey. For example, people might only use the messenger app for customer support inquiries.
In an ideal world, you can monitor interactions across each of those communication and marketing channels. Through a central dashboard, you can see how people interact with your company across these various touchpoints. You might even be able to track interactions across different devices (and we’re using many devices).
Noting customer interactions like tracking email open rates, website visits, and social media engagement by channel is difficult. Trying to connect those different data points to get an overview of the omnichannel customer journey is more challenging.
Ultimately, the aim is to gather information about how people engage with your brand across multiple channels. You want a centralized overview of those interactions.
You should also consider how you can provide a better user experience across the customer journey by connecting your marketing channels. For example, when someone purchases an item through your site, they should see the order on their mobile app. Equally, they might be able to make an order through your app and pick up the product at your physical store.
Omnichannel marketing is increasingly important. One study shows that 9 out of 10 customers expect complete interoperability between different communication channels. To offer a true omnichannel customer journey, you need to perform customer journey mapping.
How Does an Omnichannel Customer Journey Work?
The truth is, there’s no such thing as a single omnichannel customer journey. That journey, after all, can vary from person to person and from brand to brand.
A person might first interact with a brand via social media, get to the brand’s website, and then make a purchase from there. Or they may come across a brick-and-mortar store, decide to look for the brand’s site, and then make a purchase from there.
What you need to understand about the omnichannel customer journey is that it involves interacting with customers on their preferred communication platforms. Your goal is to connect all these platforms so that the customer can have a seamless journey whichever combination of platforms they use when interacting with your brand.
How to Create an Omnichannel Customer Journey?
Mapping the customer journey will help you understand how your customers engage with your company. You can use these insights to create an improved customer experience to improve the overall experience for your customers and turn more leads into sales.
By following the steps below, you can map the omnichannel customer journey for your business. Let’s start at the beginning.
- List Your Marketing Channels & Review the Data
The first thing you should do is list the various marketing channels that you use. I recommend focusing on your digital marketing channels initially, as it’s easier to gather relevant information about these channels.
Once you have your list of marketing channels, you can overlay them with the customer journey. You’ll initially make assumptions about how people are engaging across your different channels, which is fine.
After listing your marketing channels and overlaying them with the customer journey, you will need to review available data. A tool like Google Analytics, for example, will reveal plenty of information about how people engage with your website. You can review metrics like ‘time on page’ to see how people engage with your content.
On the other hand, a tool like Reveal can provide plenty of insights into customer behavior. The end goal of this omnichannel customer journey review is to see:
- Are you providing a consistent brand experience across every channel? For example, do you use consistent branding and tone of voice? Is the copy compelling? Does it pass a grammar check?
- Where can you improve connectivity between marketing channels? For example, you might want to connect your email marketing platform with your email templates and your customer database. Or improve information sharing across your website, webinar platforms, and your app.
- What are you doing right? Which channels are working well for your company?
- Where do you need to make changes? For example, you might decide to reduce the number of channels where you are active.
The initial review is a chance to look at how people engage with your company across various marketing channels.
- Centralize Your Data
Once you have completed your initial review, you need to act on those insights. You need to create a list of actions that you’ll need to complete to improve oversight of the customer journey.
I recommend that you start by considering the following two points:
- Should you reduce the number of communication channels you use?
- How can you improve monitoring across channels?
Let’s deal with each of those points.
As I mentioned at the start, we live in a world with an ever-increasing number of marketing channels. Many businesses think that because a new channel is available, they need a presence. That can be a mistake.
You need to make sure you allocate your marketing resources appropriately. That means focusing on the marketing channels that offer the highest ROI and provide the most value to customers. For example, if you are marketing an online course, you may want to retarget customers visiting your site on social media for better conversion.
Being present on a channel that you are not monitoring, or is not suitable for your business, can harm your omnichannel marketing. It’s better to improve the customer experience on a limited number of channels than offer a poor experience across multiple channels.
The second thing to consider is how to improve your monitoring across the various channels where you have a presence. Any improvement in monitoring across your communication channels will result in better oversight of the omnichannel customer journey.
For instance, a tool like a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform can provide insights into customer behavior. On the other hand, an affiliate marketing dashboard can provide you with an overview of how your affiliate marketing program is operating. Having that centralized dashboard to review information means you can make more informed marketing decisions.
- Improve Your Approach Across Channels
Improving the way you track information will provide you with a better overview of the omnichannel customer journey. The next thing you need to do is consider how you can improve the customer experience across various communication and marketing channels.
Consider how you can make improvements by reviewing the customer journey. One of the easiest ways to do this initially is to break things down by department. For example:
- Marketing efforts: how can your marketing department better manage its efforts across various channels
- Sales efforts: how can your sales department better manage its efforts across various channels
- Customer support efforts: how can your sales department better manage its efforts across various channels
Breaking your efforts by the department should make it easier to make improvements.
For instance, with marketing, you should be promoting similar content through your app and website. Small things like this help you provide a more consistent user experience.
Amazon is a great example of a company that has mastered this approach. When you log into your Amazon account, you’ll receive product recommendations based on your App and website browsing history. Those recommendations help you find products you’ll probably find interesting.
You can see how they do this with the Kindle book recommendations.
Utilizing data about people’s browsing habits across multiple channels provides customers with a better user experience and undoubtedly increases company profits. It’s a win for the user and a win for Amazon.
Equally, if you were analyzing customer service, it’s great to have a central overview of communications with a customer. For example, you can see their email history and chat history from one dashboard. Having access to this information means customers don’t need to explain their problem from the beginning each time they contact customer service.
That oversight will enable you to provide a better customer experience.
Your goal should be to focus on the easy wins first. Then, attempt to improve your oversight and implement more advanced strategies to provide users with an improved omnichannel experience.
How to Optimize Omnichannel Customer Journey?
The omnichannel customer journey will evolve as you implement improvements to your business. Equally important, the customer journey will evolve as new technologies and marketing channels emerge.
A quarterly or annual review is a chance to assess your strategy and review the omnichannel customer journey. The outcome of each review should be a set of steps you can take to improve the omnichannel customer experience further. The actions you need to take will depend on your business, but your approach to reviewing your progress should stay the same.
Your audience uses multiple communication and marketing channels to interact with your company. As a business, you need to understand which channels your audience use and when they use these channels. Furthermore, your goals should be to provide a great consistent customer experience across each channel – that’s the omnichannel customer journey.
This guide discussed the omnichannel customer journey and looked at how you can improve your customers’ experience. You should go through the same three steps listed above when conducting your review. Start by listing your communication channels and reviewing the available data. Then, identify how you can centralize your data and improve your approach across channels.
David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.