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3 Ways Businesses Get Multichannel Wrong (and How to Fix Them)

Lucas Jones  |  April 6, 2016

Lucas Jones  |  April 6, 2016

        

There’s no escaping it. The world has gone multichannel. As customers we connect with brands in more ways than ever before, using a multitude of devices - and it’s never been easier for us to compare products and find better prices.

Yet many businesses still offer a 20th century customer experience that fails to adapt to meet the needs of today’s consumers. A recent Adobe and Econsultancy study found that only 14% of businesses deliver an integrated approach to their marketing efforts and successfully link campaigns across all of their channels.

So where is it all going wrong?

1. Customer data doesn’t add up

Customer data comes from a variety of sources, ranging from offline channels such as loyalty cards, to social media only found online. The struggle that many businesses find is that when you have inaccurate, disconnected data, you lack the ability to provide a seamless experience to your customers.

Each time a business adds a new channel, instead of centralizing the data, it multiplies its datasets. This leads to skewed communication with customers. Say, for example, a customer at a big clothing retailer buys a suit in-store, then they receive an email promoting a sale on women’s dresses: an obvious disconnect exists in their data sets. When this happened to me, my automatic reaction was to unsubscribe from the mailing list - and many other customers will have the same idea, closing a key channel for the retailer because of bad customer data.

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2. Technologies don't integrate

Technology can be the Achilles’ heel of multichannel strategies, as many businesses have technology platforms that fail to integrate with each other.

That’s not to say that investment in new technology isn’t happening - it is. The problem is the tools and platforms that help with one channel - such as social media, sales, customer service, and so on - have no impact in other departments, meaning the technologies do not benefit the business as a whole.

3. The complexity of the customer journey isn't fully appreciated

Back in the days before the internet, the customer journey was a linear progression from identifying a need, researching the options and making the decision to purchase. The customer journey of 2016 is very different: it's an intricate web of user behavior across a variety of different channels.

This means that businesses often play catch up with their customers and fail to connect the dots between different customer interactions.

Not being able to understand the entire customer journey from start to finish means that businesses struggle to offer an experience that their customers expect. According to a recent study, this could be costing businesses up to 10% of their revenue every year.

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Building a single customer view

Many businesses are unable to reap the benefits that come with having a holistic view of the customer journey. Departments have their own datasets, technologies don't integrate with other areas of the business, and marketers struggle to link the different channels that their customers use.

Customer experience has increasingly become a driver of success for businesses in today’s digital world. The importance of building a unified view of customers has never been greater.

So how do you go about stitching together customer interactions and start to build a single view of your customers?

We answered this question and explored the challenges of multichannel in more detail in a deep-dive webinar. Hit below to access it now!

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Lucas Jones

Written on April 6, 2016 by:

Lucas Jones

Lucas works in marketing at Decibel Insight.

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