Numerous businesses have faced challenges while navigating the complexities of the omnichannel landscape. According to a survey by Multichannel Merchant, a substantial 87% of retailers and consumer brands acknowledged the significance of omnichannel strategies for their business. However, a mere 8% believed they had successfully achieved mastery in implementing this approach.
In light of expert advice urging customer experience leaders to move beyond omnichannel and adopt a multi experience approach, it becomes crucial to acknowledge the limitations associated with omnichannel and understand the necessity of exploring solutions beyond the confines of traditional channels.
What are the Challenges Associated with Omnichannel?
Frequently, the issue boils down to effective implementation.
Despite the grand promises made by omnichannel strategies over the years, the question remains: has it genuinely delivered an improved customer experience?
While the potential is undoubtedly present, research indicates that businesses encounter difficulties in fully realizing the advantages of omnichannel for various reasons.
Despite organizational efforts to seamlessly integrate channels and experiences and fulfil the potential of omnichannel, many still operate within a channel-specific mindset that proves unsustainable. A recent study by Gartner highlights that stakeholders in omnichannel often concentrate on specific channels rather than the broader user experience.
Teams dedicated to specific channels employ tools tailored to those channels, resulting in disconnected experiences for customers and employees. For instance, voice experiences are developed by one team using specific tools, web experiences by another using different tools, and employee experiences are often accumulated over time rather than purposefully designed. Predictably, this leads to an expensive and inefficient operation that lacks effective scalability.
A multi-pronged approach to omnichannel, which caters to both customers and employees, can significantly improve the user journey, particularly when touchpoints converge within the contact centre. This goes beyond the traditional omnichannel approach—it’s a multi experience strategy.
What is Multi Experience?
As per Gartner, Multi experience encompasses the diverse combinations of modalities (such as touch, voice, and gesture), devices, and applications with which users engage during their digital journeys across various touchpoints. The essence of Multi experience lies in crafting seamless and effortless interactions across digital touchpoints, apps, and modes of engagement. Recognized as a leading trend, Multi experience is poised to bring about significant disruption and opportunities in the next 5 to 10 years.
Numerous development tools are available for designing experiences that cater to multiple touchpoints and modalities. These tools may vary, with some emphasizing mobile app development, others specializing in conversational user experiences, and some being more tailored for organizations with extensive IT teams.
To assist customer experience leaders in navigating the multi experience landscape, we’ve compiled a concise decision guide. This guide aims to uncover potential blind spots that could impact customer engagement initiatives.
Seven Key Facilitators of Multi Experience
1. Crafting engagements that meet customers where they are and align with their preferred modes of interaction, regardless of the channel or modality, is essential.
Avoid making assumptions, such as associating phone calls with boomers or texting with millennials, or limiting smartphone engagement to affluent urban dwellers. Instead, design experiences that cater to any channel and modality efficiently, allowing customers the freedom to choose. This approach, executed at scale, is the key to fostering digital adoption and securing a competitive edge in the pursuit of customer intimacy.
2. Construct experiences on a unified low-code design and development platform to ensure the delivery of consistent experiences with an optimal total cost of ownership and increased business agility.
In the current landscape, having separate teams for each channel may hinder your ability to provide customers with the desired consistency, continuity, and choice. Building customer experiences in isolated silos becomes impractical as the combinations of touchpoints and modalities expand.
Empower business analysts, familiar with processes and customer personas, to design a significant portion of the multi experience journey using no-code multi experience design tools. Streamline collaboration with developers and other stakeholders to accelerate the time to market for multi experience journeys. Integrate low-code multi experience design with a mesh app and services-based architecture to effortlessly serve customers and employees across various touchpoints and modalities.
This approach doesn’t imply discarding specialized tools and teams with expertise in specific domains. These elements provide additional value in designing experiences tailored to the channels, touchpoints, and modalities they specialize in. A robust multi experience toolkit should facilitate the effective integration of such teams and tools. Instead of opting for a rip-and-replace strategy, consider harmonizing and elevating existing components for a more streamlined approach.
3. Craft experiences that leverage the strengths of each channel or modality while acknowledging their inherent limitations.
Whether your customers prefer tapping, texting, or talking, it’s crucial to recognize that each modality has its constraints. Seek ways to enhance these modalities, ensuring your customers enjoy a rich and engaging multimodal experience.
Avoid simplifying multi experience to a mere “build-once-deploy-anywhere” concept. The goal is not to replicate the same experience across every channel solely for the sake of software development efficiency.
Instead, focus on creating multimodal interactions that address and compensate for limitations unique to each modality. This approach elevates the overall customer experience, helping them achieve their desired outcomes. Achieving true multimodality, a key capability in customer experience, is a challenging task without the support of an exceptional multi experience toolkit.
4. Create experiences that harness advanced cognitive services beyond just conversational AI and computer vision.
In the contemporary landscape, consumers across diverse markets are increasingly comfortable interacting with personal assistants. Brands are extending their engagement efforts to include wearables, augmented reality, and virtual reality. The expansive multi experience domain already encompasses owned touchpoints like business websites, mobile apps, and contact centres, along with managed touchpoints on social networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), mobile platforms (e.g., Google Assistant), and messaging apps (e.g., WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat).
As the number of touchpoints and interaction modalities continues to expand, the need for real-time cognitive insight is becoming even more critical.
To meet this growing demand, organizations should adopt a best-of-breed AI approach. This ensures that the multi experience journeys they construct can leverage the most effective cognitive services available for specific tasks, whether it be natural language processing, image processing, emotion analytics, or other relevant capabilities.
5. Craft experiences that not only foster connection but also alleviate the burdens on your employees.
In the realm of customer experience, having a contingency plan (Plan B) is crucial. When self-service options fall short, how seamlessly can customers transition to assisted service? As a leader in the contact centre, you are well aware that the intricacy of customer interactions escalates with the addition of more channels to your contact centres.
Merely linking your contact center agents to a multiexperience journey isn’t adequate to lighten the load on your employees and empower them to deliver outstanding customer experiences.
In the contact center environment, the performance of agents significantly impacts the success of brand interactions. This underscores the importance of leveraging technology to support employees and enhance their efficiency in the context of a multiexperience approach. When contact center agents can operate with increased speed and effectiveness, they gain the capacity to dedicate more attention to each customer, facilitating quicker issue resolution.
6. Craft experiences that not only streamline the user experience (UX) during the current interaction but also minimize effort by automating tasks and processes that involve follow-up and manual intervention.
While simplifying the customer experience through multiexperience journeys, it’s opportune to consider strategies for preventing future issues and, when applicable, automate subsequent steps in the customer lifecycle or journey.
This intersection of Multi experience and Hyperautomation addresses the proactive automation of tasks and aligns with Gartner’s recognition of Hyperautomation as one of the top ten technology trends.
7. Develop experiences with a mindset focused on testing and iteration.
Initiate a new experience, analyze the adoption and abandonment patterns among different personas and user cohorts, and strategize methods to sustain user engagement to the extent where impactful interactions can be achieved. Integrate customer feedback directly into the experience, incorporating natural language where applicable, to ensure that continuous improvement is ingrained in the design rather than treated as a distinct initiative.
In the realm of the appropriate multi experience toolkit, today’s feedback serves as the foundation for tomorrow’s experience automation.