Message with Meaning Using Omnichannel Messaging

Customer needs evolve as quickly as technology, because technology drives demand. Our cell phone connects us to the Internet, email allows us to send files, text is an instant and succinct, and social networking helps us keep tabs on our friends and family.

But, as a business owner, whose focus is to deliver products and services, technology is often a distraction ? There isn’t enough time in the day to support customers through digital engagement. Calls to schedule reservations, emails to check pricing, reviews written on Facebook and Yelp, images posted to Instagram….

The list goes on ?
On average, Americans have 3 email addresses, 6.2 social media accounts, and 28 apps on their cell phone. There’s a tremendous amount of activity, and it’s bifurcated across a multitude of digital properties. Great customer service in-store is no longer enough, service needs to extend beyond the store, into their digital footprint.

Great customer service in-store is no longer enough, service needs to extend beyond the store, into their digital footprint.
Weeks ago, I sent a Facebook message to my local grocer asking about an out of stock product. A week later (after another follow up) I received a reply. Too late, I bought from another store.

Deep down, business owners want to provide customers amazing service, but the challenge of providing this service rests on their ability to use technology. Unanswered calls, emails, reviews, and social messages erode the customer experience, reducing brand loyalty.

Many successful businesses are embracing messaging. But, they have teams of employees managing their email, social accounts, and text message marketing. How does a small business follow suit, without a dedicated marketing team or person?

Enter Omnichannel Messaging ?, the ability to communicate with your customers through myriad platforms. Messaging made easy ✔

Today’s best businesses embrace technology. Those that don’t become irrelevant.

Granted, there’s always exceptions to the case. One of my favorite New York pizzerias is a cash only business. They don’t accept credit cards, and say they never will. We make exceptions for things we love (and their pizza is amazing ?! ).

But, exceptions aren’t the rule, and not every business can be an exception. What every business can be is;

✅ Easy to find online, with clear business info (address, hours of operation, phone number, email, menu of products/services)
✅ Responsive to customer comments, via; reviews, social messages, emails, texts, calls
✅ Open to new ways of servicing customers, using delivery services, digital wallets, online ordering

I know, many small businesses struggle with managing their digital footprint. They want to focus on what they do best, and stay away from responsibilities outside their comfort zone.

But, technology isn’t a trend that will suddenly disappear. Just like cell phones replaced land lines, streaming video services replaced rental stores, and how online shopping has decimated brick-and-mortar retail sales.

The takeaway: customer convenience will always prevail. And perhaps one of the most important conveniences in recent times is messaging; communicating personally and professionally.
I think we’ve all expressed, at one time or another, our personal biases toward messaging. “I don’t use text message”, “I never check my email”, or “I don’t like Facebook”.

We have our own preferences for how we communicate, and why. But, the dislikes of a few no longer get lost in the sea of many, because messaging is too bifurcated to focus on the “majority”. Instead, businesses need to embrace multiple platforms to best serve their customers.

Omnichannel Messaging ? isn’t about text vs. email. Or app notifications vs. social messages. It’s about client preference — messaging where clients message. It’s also about context.

Is the message time critical? Use text, as 87% of messages will be read within 3 mins. Maybe it contains attachments, forms or files – then email may be best.

Just like omnichannel shopping, where businesses setup online marketplaces to sell their products; their own website, eBay, Amazon, Walmart – if you’re in eCommerce, you have a diversified online presence. Customers can buy from you where and how they shop.

Omnichannel Messaging ? is communicating with customers where they message. For this to happen, the customers’ preferences must be preserved. Personalization becomes key. Knowing how they interact with messages and when, will improve open rates, and inspire the customer to take action.

Combining Omnichannel Messaging ? with deep, data driven customer profiles, and businesses will be sending personalized and automated messages through text, email, Facebook, WhatsApp – exactly where the customer prefers.
And the content will reflect the message platform. Short and succinct (text), or perhaps long and verbose (email). After all, we don’t want the same message sent repeatedly via different platforms. We want a single message sent with meaning.

If you haven’t thought about Omnichannel Messaging ?, here’s a few things to consider:

➡ How do you message your customers, and how do they message you
➡ Is it how they prefer to communicate
➡ Do your messages have meaning

The medium of how you message your clients isn’t nearly as important as why. Why are you sending the message and why is it being sent the way it is.
If you’re a personal trainer trying to get a questionnaire filled out from a new client, send a link via text. Open rate is nearly 100%, and click thru is 10-20X email.

If you’re trying to build your network on Facebook, send out a message through Facebook Messenger.

Each platform offers different advantages. But, customers chooses which one(s) they prefer, and savvy businesses are taking note.