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Blog

Jul 22, 2016

See How to Build a Rock-Solid Business Case for Omni-Channel

an empty boardroom waits for a business case for omnichannel engagement

[Estimated read time: 3 minutes]

We live in an omni-channel world, where constant switching between devices, interactions, and conversations has become commonplace. The customer experience is no exception. In fact, 74% of consumers use three or more channels to connect to customer service. Plus, 60% actually change communication channels depending on where they are and what they’re doing. 

Multi vs. omni: what's the difference?

Most brands allow customers to interact with them through multiple channels, such as phone, email, web chat, and social media. But few brands have been able to move past simply offering multi-channel communication to providing true omni-channel engagement, where a conversation or transaction that started in one channel can seamlessly transition into another. For instance, if a customer complains on Facebook and the situation escalates to a phone call, the agent does not need to ask the customer to explain their issue all over again -- she already has all the context and can skip straight to solving the problem.

Seventy-four percent of consumers use three or more channels to connect to customer service.

An omni-channel approach gives customers more control over when, where, and how they interact with companies, and puts pressure on brands to provide a consistent and satisfactory experience.

Brands have been slow to change

Despite the fact that customer expectations for omni-channel engagement have changed, many businesses have been reluctant to expand their capabilities. Brands are concerned that they will not see an adequate return on their investments. According to a recent Forrester report on the retail industry, "Many retailers who have [omnichannel] programs in place today — some for many years — are just beginning to understand the impact that offering omnichannel fulfillment has had on their business." Customer experience professionals are being called upon to build a business case for the move to omni-channel, and in order to be successful, they need to understand the value that this type engagement can provide -- not just to their customers, but to their key metrics as well.

"Many retailers who have [omnichannel] programs in place today — some for many years — are just beginning to understand the impact that offering omnichannel fulfillment has had on their business." -Forrester

The business value of omni-channel engagement

A crucial step to building any business case is defining the value of the proposed solution. Because customer engagement is such a broad area, it helps to break it down into smaller pieces. An omni-channel engagement strategy contains many different tactics, each requiring a different set of capabilities. For example, core omni-channel capabilities might include escalating social media complaints to live agents, allowing customers to purchase products through Facebook Messenger, or making online orders available for in-store pickup. 

Once you have identified the core capabilities that make the most sense for your business, the next step is to match each one with 1) a benefit to your company, and 2) a benefit to your customers. Examples are provided in the chart below. Be sure to prioritize benefits based on expected impact to your company.

chart for building business case for omni-channel customer experience

Budgeted costs and projected results are vital components of any business case. After you have outlined all the potential capabilities and benefits, assign each one to the most appropriate stakeholder. Ask every stakeholder to quantify the costs and KPI improvements they expect to see as a result of implementing each new capability. By involving stakeholders who have "skin in the game," you help ensure the success of omni-channel initiatives. 

Once you have prioritized your omni-channel needs and built a rock-solid business case, you'll be ready to evaluate solutions. Learn more about how customer engagement software can help brands deliver what today's consumers want and need.

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