Multichannel communication is an objective that any company must pursue in the short and medium term to be competitive and above all to meet the expectations and needs of customers.
After all, multichannel isn’t just a communication feature. It is in fact a way of imagining and building the company and the services, which also reflects on the relationship to be established with your customers, present or future. However, before we look at what multichannel communication means and how to achieve it in practice, let’s take a step back to understand the context in which we operate today.
How communication evolves: the characteristics of a strategic lever
In a previous article, we saw how customer communication is evolving under certain trends, all of which aim to put the customer at the center of business marketing strategies, for businesses of all types. To support this transformation, we can identify some specific characteristics that business communication must be effective.
First of all, the first trend on which the new communication with customers is based is mobile: mobile devices, in fact, are increasingly used by people both as a hobby and as tools to perform a wide range of actions (buying goods or services, seeking information, asking for advice , etc.). This means that when a business decides to communicate with its customers, it must do so knowing that the message will be visualized using a tool that however follows people everywhere (with all that that implies in terms of timing. ).
The second characteristic is that communications must be engaging, that is to say, it must be able to capture the user’s attention in an efficient and prolonged manner. This is not at all easy considering the number of messages each user is submitted to each day. Therefore, every business must find creative and original ways to approach the customer, perhaps by capturing their curiosity.
In this sense, it is possible to intervene on the content or on the vehicle of the message. Here, create personalized communications: addressed directly to the customer (current or potential) at the most appropriate time, and taking into account their specific needs and tastes.
Finally, the third characteristic of this new customer communication is to be “consumer centric”, that is to say, centered on the customer as a person and not on the characteristics or functionalities of the product or service that you are promoting. promotion. To do this, you obviously need to know your customers well and understand their main daily habits, especially those related to the way they interact with the company.
The importance of customer experience
In this sense, the customer experience becomes central in the company itself: not just in the purchase, but all the way that leads to the purchase itself.
On the other hand, customers are no longer just looking for a functional product. Today’s customer has a wide variety of choices, most of which are capable of effectively meeting the same needs. Rather, what makes the difference is how consumers arrive at the purchase, in other words, the client experience that every brand is able to offer.
Above all, people are looking for a memorable experience, one that doesn’t just revolve around the product, but rather around the customers themselves. An experience that can interest and involve them, so that the time spent interacting with the company is useful and relevant. Among other things, from the point of view of business development and market competitiveness, companies should invest in the development of customer experience, as this allows them to create a strong and stable relationship with consumers.
An efficient and well-constructed customer experience guarantees a very high level of consumer loyalty, reducing retention costs (and at the same time the number of consumers who migrate to competing brands) and improving business performance. After all, it is well known that a loyal customer tends to buy more often than a casual customer, or in general, to spend more than anyone else.
This means that developing a high quality customer experience paying, at all levels.
A composite customer experience
However, as always, while things are simple in theory, they may not be in practice.
While over 80% of businesses say they want to be leaders in developing and delivering a great customer experience, only 1 in 5 consumers are truly satisfied with their experience. Indeed, the customer experience is a composite “object” made up of different elements that must work perfectly together, such as Customer service, customer support, and particularly Communication.
These activities have in common the fact that they are aspects of the business where there is a direct relationship between the business and the consumer, who is the center of attention of these services.
On the other hand, the only difference is that customer service is “responsive”, so it is the customer who contacts the company to ask for something. On the contrary, in communication – which is in any case a central element of the proposed customer experience – the path is reversed, since it is the company that wants to get in touch with the consumer and this opens a key question: how can a business effectively approach customers?
There is only one channel left: multi-channel communication
There isn’t just one way to answer this question, which is why the best way to communicate is to build a multichannel ecosystem.
We have seen this in the trends described above – the ever increasing use of mobile devices, the need for personalized communications that adapt to the way they navigate and move in general. One way to meet these expectations is to use communications that can be deployed across multiple touchpoints.
But what is multichannel communication?
Multi-channel is the term used to indicate the use of different touchpoints, channels or tools (online and / or offline) to interact with consumers.
All these channels are activated by the company in parallel with the same or different timing, depending on the company’s strategy and the type of customer to be reached. Do not confuse multichannel and omnichannel, because multichannel does not necessarily imply an interconnection between the different contact points available. On the contrary, the different channels are managed and optimized independently of each other.
Thus, consumers have “different experiences” when they interact with different channels and depending on the point of contact they decide to “activate” (the website, the point of sale, the smartphone application, etc.) .
Instead, the omnichannel strategy provides for the simultaneous activation of multiple channels and their seamless integration, so that each customer can start their experience from one channel, continue it on another and, finally, conclude it using one. third channel, without unnecessary repetition. and overlapping.
A multichannel strategy for a “multichannel” customer
As we have said, the multi-channel approach is not the only option, but it is certainly one of the most effective because it corresponds to the expectations of consumers, who are increasingly “multi-channel”.
According to the 2020 data from the Multichannel Observatory, Italians are increasingly inclined to use the network and digital tools when deciding to buy a product or service or in the phase immediately preceding the purchase to carry out research what they want to buy.
In this sense, let’s consider that there are more than 46 million, or 88% of the Italian population over the age of 14, who are multichannel consumers. And that number, by the way, also increased by 2.6 million or 6%, compared to 2019.
This is why it is not surprising to see that multichannel is the new digital standard, characterized by hybrid buying journey where the different points of contact, whether online or offline, coexist perfectly within a single strategy.
There is no strategy without tools: the key role of the CCM
However, making your communication strategy multichannel is not as easy as it seems.
Multiplying the channels represents a considerable challenge for the company in terms of management and use of the necessary resources. This is why it is important to use all the possibilities offered by the digital transformation and to build an effective strategy based on these possibilities, according to the specific needs of your business.
This is why it is essential for any company that wishes to build an effective multi-channel communication strategy to implement Customer communication management (CCM).
By the most common definition, CCM is a strategy to improve the creation, delivery, archiving and retrieval of outbound communications, including those for marketing, new product introductions, renewal notifications, correspondence and documentation of complaints, and notifications of invoices and payments.
Essentially, having a CCM system in-house allows for better coordination of all the different touchpoints without necessarily integrating them with each other. collection and notification process.
Doxee has moved in this direction as well, creating a series of VSCustomer communication management platforms capable of integrating seamlessly with back-end systems and collecting data securely, so that communication can be better organized.
Customer communications management platforms as the basis for personalization
But customer communication management systems are not just useful at the operational level, so to speak: one of the main advantages offered by CCM platforms is that they improve the client experience.
As we mentioned, consumers now use the Internet and mobile devices for many things; in doing so, they leave behind long trails of information, which represent an important resource for companies that are able to collect and use it properly. In this sense, a CCM platform is useful because it is able to collect all of this The data and use it to centralize and standardize communication process aimed at customers, adding an element of customization.
For example, you can organize your mailings according to the type of audience you are targeting, depending on the stage of the customer journey you want to follow, while modifying both the timing and the actual content to be transmitted.
In this way, the benefit is twofold: the user sees a communication delivered at the most appropriate time and with the most relevant content for him, and the company thus increases its efficiency and at the same time makes its communication more effective and improves its relationship with customers.
There are other benefits as well, especially those related to personalization through CCM platforms, but for that we refer you to our next article. Stay tuned!.