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Chasing the Omnichannel Experience

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Everyone wants a smooth multichannel experience, but, for many reasons, getting there is difficult. Few customer experiences are more annoying than speaking to an interactive voice response (IVR) system at a call center, reciting your account number, and then getting transferred to a customer service rep who immediately asks you for that same number. From a definitional viewpoint, some industry experts say that multichannel means simply having more than one digital channel, or having both storefront and online channels, but not necessarily integrating them. Multiple channels may have been added over time and remain essentially siloed. Omni- channel can be defined as providing all existing channels, from brick-and-mortar to web and social media channels. However, omnichannel is more often taken to mean that the channels are integrated so that each channel has visibility into the others. Clearly, the most effective arrangement is an integrated omnichannel system, whether it is a marketing hub for outbound communications or an inbound hub for customer purchases or support.

According to a customer experience benchmarking report by NTT Ltd., about 30% of companies do not have a formally defined channel management strategy, and a slightly greater percent report taking a silo-based approach. Only about 11% have a full omnichannel approach, which is actually a significant drop from 2 years ago. The same report indicated that fewer than 4% of businesses believe they offer a consistent customer experience across all their customer journeys.

Nurturing an omnichannel experience can have a big payoff, though. A wide range of statistics support its value. For example, a 2020 study by Omnisend reported that customer retention rates are 90% higher for omnichannel as compared to single channel. In a study of the retail industry by Mulesoft, customers who engaged through multiple channels spent up to 30% more than customers who did not.

Improving the customer experience

Success stories about the use of omnichannel marketing and customer care are convincing. Topdanmark is the second largest insurance company in Denmark, offering auto, home, and life insurance as well as business and liability insurance. The company also manages pension funds. Its customers include more than half a million households and 100,000 corporate clients. Similar to many companies, Topdanmark has added channels over the years so that they now include traditional direct interactions such as personal meetings and phone calls as well as online interactions of numerous kinds. The associated databases were not linked, so it was not possible to achieve the integration of customer experience workflows across channels that Topdanmark desired.

The company began evaluating the SAS Customer Intelligence 360 platform as a means to improve the customer experience. After seeing demonstrations of how this solution would handle various use cases and process workflows, the omnichannel manager at Topdanmark led the digital transformation project to support a hybrid approach combining direct and digital channels. Topdanmark has been pleased with the increase in marketing capability as compared with using more limited marketing automation solutions. In addition, the SAS Customer Intelligence 360 platform has allowed evaluation of marketing management to identify where the process may be lagging or where data is missing. With the integration of channels, Topdanmark is now able to carry out real-time decision making. In addition, it will be able to achieve a better overview of marketing dynamics and prioritize spending appropriately across the channels and customers to optimize outcomes.

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