Debunking the Top Omnichannel CX Misconceptions

5 minute read, posted on 05/19/2023, by VXI Marketing

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It’s been over 20 years since the term “omnichannel” was first coined, and despite becoming the buzzword of the century, it’s a capability that most companies have claimed, but very few have achieved.

According to the CX Network, 73% of companies have already invested in omnichannel experiences, but customers have yet to reap the benefits, with only 11% citing their service interactions as excellent.

It begs the question, do companies really understand omnichannel, and more importantly, are they focused on it for the right reasons?

To address these questions, here are the top omnichannel CX misconceptions that business leaders still struggle with today:

Misconception #1: Omnichannel is the same as multichannel

Luckily, we’ve made some headway on this one in recent years, but business leaders are still misusing the term. Conceptually, omnichannel is all about meeting your customer where they are, providing the best possible experience, and ensuring the notes from that experience are readily available to personalize future engagements – regardless of the channel.

Omnichannel does not mean offering your customers help across multiple channels (no matter how positive or consistent the interaction is), it has more to do with making sure those channels are fully integrated so agents can harness meaningful, contextual data to provide frictionless and anticipatory CX.

Misconception #2: Providing all channels is necessary

With more channels, devices, and technology capabilities in play today than ever before, it’s easy to understand why being everywhere all at once in a proactive and personalized manner feels more like science fiction than reality.

Screenshot of Michelle Yeoh in a dynamic scene from the movie 'Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The truth is your customers don’t care about having more channels, but 70% of them would pay for a more convenient service experience. In fact, it’s really not about channels at all. It’s about recommending the fastest path to a resolution based on the customer’s issue, reducing their effort, and leveraging data to unlock more value for the customer.

According to Gartner, 20% of the time, customers reach out across multiple channels because they don’t know which service channel will provide the easiest resolution. Today a multichannel contact center with low containment rates results in higher volumes and higher costs. Mapping the customer journey and balancing the need for channel guidance and channel choice is equally as important as ensuring whatever mix of channels you deploy is fully integrated.

Put simply, having more channels (integrated or not) won’t build brand loyalty, but showing up for the right customers in a memorable and meaningful way will.

Misconception #3: Technology is the sole focus of omnichannel

While technology plays a crucial role in omnichannel CX, it’s only part of the equation. Your CRM can’t solve for misaligned processes, a poor understanding of the customer, or a lack of agent training and operational buy-in. It’s only an enabler, and companies have to take a customer and employee-centric approach in the implementation of omnichannel technologies to realize the full potential of their investments.

Patience, ongoing monitoring of customer feedback and behavior, and iterative improvements are essential to achieving long-term success.

Misconception #4: Omnichannel is a one-size fits all solution

It’s also important to note that a proven omnichannel strategy or use case for one organization won’t always translate well to another. Not all channels are needed for every customer or service type, and businesses should tailor their strategy to industry-specific needs (i.e., compliance/regulation), customer preferences, and organizational readiness.

It’s important to take note of your current state and plot out incremental wins, always keeping the customer top of mind. CX leaders need to ask themselves, how will having your channels integrated and capturing customer data benefit the customer? What pain points will this capability be alleviating? For example, an airline passenger can now get a flight notification update across multiple channels simultaneously, but if they can’t call in and speak with a representative who is aware that they’ve tried contacting the airline five times with no resolution – does it even matter?

Omnichannel experiences are complex, but they can be greatly simplified with a solid understanding of the customer and what they care about the most when it comes to closing the CX gap.

Omnichannel CX Tips

For organizations struggling to transition from fragmented multichannel models to true omnichannel experiences – here are a few tips:

  • Focus on the cross-channel journeys that are most important to the majority of your consumer base.
  • Ensure the experience design and process mapping are done consistently across all channels.
  • Prioritize optimizing and automating your knowledge management system, CRM, and agent onboarding experience to set up your frontline for success.
  • Help customers move from voice into digital channels from your IVR.
  • Leverage AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots across channels from messaging and social media to IVR and live chat.

Implementing an omnichannel strategy does not guarantee instant success. It requires careful planning, consistent execution, and continuous optimization. Learn how VXI and our CX Advisory team can assist.

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At VXI we are passionate about helping our partners rethink, reimagine, and revive traditional customer engagement models. It’s why we offer a team of domain experts who specialize in everything from experience design to digital transformation and program management within the contact center. Our practice leaders are pioneers of the experience economy and have helped leading Fortune 500 brands leverage CX as a competitive advantage and opportunity for ongoing value creation.

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