COVID-19 changed the way consumers and business operate forever, pushing an emphasis on digital that might have even been years away.
Stores and businesses have closed their doors, with some adopting an online-only drive to manoeuvre their brand out of the COVID-19 danger zones, while others have embraced the change with a permanent ecommerce approach. But for many organisations, the ‘new normal’ must mean throwing out old channel silo features and welcoming omni-channel experiences to really engage with their customers. Businesses that fail to adapt, fear being left behind.
With that in mind, CX Today talks to Rachel Lane, Solution Principal at Medallia, the leading provider of experience management software, in an exclusive interview on why it’s imperative that organisations resolve channel silos for better customer experience.
Customers are experimenting with new channels, with the emergence of new engagement modes such as video, within many sectors such as patient healthcare, personal banking and of course online learning. This comes at a time when web and digital channels were core benefactors of this shift from the traditional to more advanced online behaviours.
Lane explains: “I have always been amazed at how adaptable customers are when they want to achieve a task. This year, more than any other, customers have been forced to change their traditional habits due to COVID-19. When channels such as in-store shut down, the desire for new products didn’t disappear with it. Instead, other channels took up the slack.”
Sharing is Caring
This comes at a period when businesses and brands must recognise just how vital it is for customers to have consistent omni-channel experiences.
Omni-channels come down to one key feature – sharing. They allow for data collection and sharing across a business to further enhance a hyper-personalised CX. Channel silos essentially do the opposite in blocking sharing features.
Lane adds: “Customers today need to be able to switch devices in the middle of an engagement; they may research on one device and buy in another. So from a customer effort perspective, it makes sense to have a strategy that encompasses all the channels a consumer might use.
“But of course, experience doesn’t start and end with effort as the only influencer. The customer expects the same products at the same price across all their channels, too. That means the days of internet-only deals should be a thing of the past – a customer should never be penalised for their channel of choice”
“And likewise, when the customer needs help, it should be available on whatever channel is best for them at that point in time.”
Lane goes further to explain that flushing out channel silos could well be a more prominent trend for 2021 due to the negative effect they can have on brands’ bottom lines.
She says: “Channel silos can have a significant negative effect on a brand’s bottom lines. How can you cross-sell and upsell if you don’t know what that customer already owns? It is important to be able to piece together those journey elements to understand what is working and what isn’t.
“Further, connecting customer data silos also provides very clear indicators of customer churn, enabling recovery where it might otherwise be impossible.”
To summarise, channel silos are now considered to not only be an old-fashioned feature in the forward-thinking society COVID-19 has carved out for business, but damaging to organisations too.
They can only create chaos in a world that’s attempting to eradicate just that, and the bigger the company, the more harmful a role silos play.