OMNICHANNEL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
How to build an omnichannel customer experience through brand marketing
For just a second, think about how your business appears to your customers, both existing and potential. Think through every step of ordering with your business—the shopping, the payment and even after.
As you do, consider a couple of questions:
Is online ordering an option?
Is payment easy?
Do you know what brought them in?
Did you give them a reason to come back?
If it’s a restaurant, how quickly are diners seated?
What do customers see when they walk through your door?
What are their experiences like with your staff?
How easy is it to find what they are looking for?
Managing the customer experience is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of any business owner. You care about your business and you want your customers to see that. Ideally, you want them to feel the same way. Once you’ve brought them in initially, you also need to spend some time thinking about how to keep them.
Achieving either or both goals has historically been difficult due to the abstract nature of understanding customer needs. No two will be entirely the same, and what one may prefer another may not appreciate. For this reason, modern point of sale (POS) solutions offer a couple of solutions to create an omnichannel customer experience affecting three areas:
- While the customer is in the shop
- When the customer is at the register
- After the customer has left
In the shop
The first step to improved customer retention starts the second they walk through the door. As a business owner, you want to make sure that your customers feel confident in your establishment; this process by making sure that they feel:
- Comfortable and secure
- Properly accommodated by your staff
Experiences like this are inherently abstract and more difficult to pin down—what the owner thinks properly accommodates their customers might not resonate with the customers themselves. For this very reason, POS technology has moved to the forefront of the customer experience. By offering features to improve customer satisfaction, your POS can help make that experience a bit less abstract.
These features target a wide range of industry-specific challenges facing customer relations. These include:
For restaurants, one of the biggest challenges to ensuring a positive customer experience is bringing waitstaff to your table. Perhaps nothing is more frustrating for customers than sitting at a table forever waiting for someone to take your order. Table mapping software
Table mapping has its uses in retail as well—by mapping out your registers, for example, you can get an idea of where and how your customers like to shop. This is precisely the kind of work that corporations pay I/O psychologists thousands of dollars to find out. It can similarly be a helpful tool for new hires learning the ropes to identify important stations.
For businesses with front and back ends, it is essential that they can communicate quickly and effectively. Historically, this process was complicated by scratchy handwriting that resulted in botched orders which need to be returned and fixed. This results in:
- A dissatisfied customer
- Wasted time and energy to fix the botched order
- Financial penalty, both for wasted materials and possible discounts for the dissatisfied customer
- A longer delay for other customers
Instead, POS technology digitizes this process, eliminating the error inherent in placing orders. This paints your business as professional; you can take the customer’s order quickly and accurately.
Have you ever walked into a business that was dramatically understaffed? You can’t find what you are looking for, but the only employees are already swamped with other customers. So what do you do? You either find the item after an extended period of time walking around, or you just leave.
Either way, it’s not likely that that customer will return. It’s perhaps the most immediate sign of a business in need of further work.
Staffing is one of the classic challenges of running a business. That’s why POS systems often integrate with labor management software that streamlines the process. This keeps your business staffed and ready to interact with customers as they enter your door.
Step one in this process is arguably the most important—you need to make sure that customers have a positive experience while they are in the store, if nothing else. Your store’s omnichannel customer experience depends on it. If it fails, the other two steps likely won’t save or may not even become relevant for saving that customer. In this sense, the in-store experience provides the foundation for the technology strategy to come.
At the register
At the end of the day, customers have expectations. They want to:
- Enter your establishment
- Easily find what they are looking for
- Quickly pay and leave
A solid ordering system is paramount to the customer experience. Before businesses do anything else, they should make sure their ordering system is up to par. Traditional payment methods gave few options for customers in this regard; wait in line and pay at the register with cash, check or card. It’s perhaps no wonder that customers were so ready to flee to online retail giants like Amazon. This transition happened because they provided more options than customers had ever had before.
Luckily, modern POS systems offer a wide variety of options to simplify the process of ordering, in-store or online. These include:
|Free mobile app|
|It’s important to bring your business to where your customers are. More than ever before, the answer to how to achieve this is “on their phones.” Selecting a POS with mobile options (ideally free ones that won’t break the bank) presents businesses with gold star access to their customers, meeting them wherever they go.|
|Digital menus and online ordering|
|Online ordering has become the new standard for the modern customer. It’s more important than ever that your business offers these options. Ideally, your POS should blend with your online site. This allows customers to place orders without ever having to set foot in the store.|
|For more traditional customers, payment methods have also changed. Since the rise of COVID, contactless payment (in which money is transferred digitally while the card itself does not change hands) has become almost expected due to its role in preventing germ transfer. Providing your customers with these options makes them feel secure, no matter how they choose to make their payment.|
Creating the ideal omnichannel customer experience means streamlining your payment system. By offering different payment methods, businesses make themselves more appealing to the discerning consumer. This ensures that they are more likely to give your establishment a visit and, hopefully, a return one.
In addition, it’s important that your POS be able to adapt to an ever-growing menu of payment options. The use of digital wallets (think Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc) is becoming increasingly popular, so your system should be ready to adapt at some point. Following this strategy means that you won’t be left behind as society continues to evolve.
The customer experience doesn’t stop when they leave the shop
At this point in the cycle, the customer has already come and gone through your store. Your POS features have helped them find what they need and they have paid using one of the provided options. Now comes the all-important question:
How do you get them to come back?
This question has plagued businesses and, in some cases, has led to their eventual closing. Previously, this process was more of a “shotgun” approach—blast tons of money into creating random specials and hope that they bring in customers. Of course, this approach was very hit and miss, sometimes working but most times not.
Optimizing your omnichannel customer experience with data analytics programs transforms your advertising from “shotgun” to “surgical tool.” This includes:
Traditional registers work mostly for the purposes of making actual payments. Modern tills record this information and categorize it according to a number of preset or custom metrics.
Business owners can use these metrics to determine which of their products are garnering the most sales. From there, they can offer specials on those high-value items to bring in more
For customers willing to leave information with the company, modern POS options also give the option of creating loyalty plans. These plans offer discounts to repeat customers on the items they love.
Taking this approach encourages customers to return, where they are privy to better deals than they might get anywhere else.
Your staff is the face of your business. One of the biggest factors in customers making a decision to come back is the interaction they have with employees. You want to make sure that they are treating your business with professionalism.
Modern POS tools track staff performance, pointing out who is doing well and who may need additional training. This reduces negative experiences and presents your business in the best possible light.
The final step in creating the ideal omnichannel customer experience is making sure that customers come back. By using the tools that are now integrated into your POS system, you:
- Give yourself the tools to succeed
- Centralize your operational tools under one interface
- Increase access to this interface using any computer, tablet or smartphone
An omnichannel customer experience tailored for you
By focusing on these three areas—in-store, at the register and post-visit—businesses can appeal to the values of their customers. Doing so makes them feel catered to, and gives the best possible impression of your business. This makes them more likely to return to your establishment themselves, in addition to referring others. The result is an omnichannel customer experience that is there with them every step of the way.
talech is the premier POS solution on the market today. We offer cloud-based omnichannel tools tailored to suit any business model. We work with companies and enterprises at any scale, which means our tools grow as you do. Reach out to us about a free demo where we can discuss becoming your trusted partner.
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