Channel Integration Strategies: Building the Ideal Customer Experience
- Customers will continue to zigzag across channels based on their personal definitions of convenience and control.
- Different channels have different strengths. We know the Web does a fabulous job presenting detailed, feature-rich product information for customers doing research. But we also know nothing can close a sale like a person.
So how can you use each channel to its fullest capability, while providing customers with an ideal experience as they move from learning to sharing ideas?
If your customer's ideal experience is to do research and get consultative help and a custom price, build your Web channel primarily for research and "configuration." Help your phone sales group create custom answers on the spot. Make all essential activities—such as merchandise returns—barrier-free and available everywhere.
Maximizing revenue and profit are cross- or multi-channel goals. Integration is driven by the idea that if you provide an ideal customer experience, two things will happen: Response will be maximized by covering key customer interaction points across channels—enabling "channel skating." And profit will increase for the business overall by not spending more than is necessary in an effort to do the same thing in every channel.
This approach requires attention to your whole business simultaneously, so it's a different, broader challenge than the organization and marketing approaches used today. Yet it can be done incrementally. Use customer-experience objectives across channels of interaction to unlock the best results.
Five Steps to Get Started
1. Check your business strategy. Who are your target customers? What problems do you solve for them? What makes you truly different to them?
2. Define an ideal customer experience—the way customers should learn about your company, try your products or services, purchase, get help and share ideas. Think about it as a conversation: What triggers customers to find you? What's the first thing you'd say to them? What are the key interactions in these conversations?