Last month, our CEO Warren Levitan did a webinar with Clarabridge founder and executive chairman Sid Banerjee to talk about omnichannel customer experiences driving brand loyalty. They covered a range of topics, including the proliferation of business messaging, the meaning of omnichannel, and how to prevent conversation silos within the enterprise.

You can find the full webinar here, but you can read on for some key insights.

What does omnichannel actually mean?

The way we communicate has changed. Warren said:

“Omnichannel is engagement wherever is most convenient for you at any given point in time.”

The problem is that when people throw around the word “omnichannel,” what they actually mean is “multichannel.”

What’s the difference?

A multichannel CX strategy involves creating multiple points of contact for your customer. This means being available over email, phone and social media. Maybe even in the real world! 😉

The problem with this is that the information drawn from these different conversations falls into a silo. Should a customer choose to contact your business through a different channel, they’re forced to repeat themselves and start over.

smooch-omnichannel

A truly omnichannel messaging experience carries the context from channel to channel. No need for repetition.

“Omnichannel insight is holistic,” Warren explained. “Omnichannel is about being where your customers are. It’s about reducing customer friction.”

Sid and Warren touched on the 2019 State of Messaging report we published in January. Topics discussed include the dominance of WhatsApp outside of North America, and the oft cited Gartner stat that says by 2020, the average person will have more conversations with chatbots than with their spouse. When well-oiled chatbots automate processes and redirect conversations to the appropriate agents or departments, companies can provide personalized messaging experiences to their customers at scale.

“Forrester Research indicates that 77% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.”

Engagement wherever it’s convenient for you at any point in time.

“Messaging is a conversation. Like a relationship, these conversations are persistent, evolve over time and have no defined end,” Warren said. “When the customer has a follow-up request or an entirely new question, they can effortlessly pick-up the conversation from where they left off.”

Messaging allows businesses to have asynchronous conversations with their customers, meaning that a customer can shoot a quick text, put the phone in their pocket, and be notified when they receive a response. Live, session-based chat, where a customers are forced to wait for an agent to respond lest they close the chat and lose the conversation, is disruptive in an economy where peoples' time matters.

Messaging enables us to listen to our customers and create personalized experiences at scale. According to Sid:

“Right now it’s important to recognize that more and more people, typically younger consumers are finding messaging to be a more practical way of interacting with brands. You can get responses in an asynchronous way. It’s a high CX driver.”

Leveraging conversational data

Sid explained that 65% of customers cut ties with brands with which they have bad experiences. Customer journeys are growing more sophisticated. Messaging allows brands to tap into vital information present in conversations that are otherwise routed into data warehouses and forgotten. This conversational data, leveraged across all the channels a customer can access, contains insight about the customer journey from awareness to purchase to support.

“I don’t think in today’s world we can underestimate the value in actually listening to the words our customers tell us. We’re obsessed with their clicks, their transactions, and their profile data. We’re missing the most right and valuable information we have at our fingertips, which is the words they say.”

For more insights from Sid Banerjee and to learn more about how Smooch works with Clarabridge to power customer conversations, you can watch the webinar here.