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Building Customer Relationships through Omnichannel Communication

Would you rather fly or drive to your vacation destination? How does taking a boat sound? Not everyone enjoys getting around the same way, but car, bus, plane, boat, or train, they’re all available for everyone to choose the experience that’s right for them. 

Providing options and facilitating a positive experience is what omnichannel communication is all about - using seamless communication to enhance customer experience and maximize team capabilities.

What is Omnichannel Communication? 

Omnichannel Definition: An integrated communication strategy where a business offers multiple channels for customers to reach their business with the ability to seamlessly switch between channels.

Omnichannel communication is using multi-channel approach to connect with customers in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out.3 A businesses using an omnichannel technique provides channels for the customer to reach them and aligns their messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device.3

Omnichannel vs Multichannel - Wait... what's the difference between multichannel and omnichannel?
The difference is depth of integration. Simply offering multiple ways to reach your business isn’t always enough to meet the customer’s needs.

In a truly omnichannel experience, the customer can be interacting online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or be present in the physical store and the experience would feel synchronized and connected.

Omnichannel Communication in Agriculture 

How can I be more efficient? How can I do this better? These are the questions farmers are asking as they strive to increase productivity within their operations. Communicating efficiently and effectively with them can increase their up time to help them meet their productivity goals. That’s exactly why 45 percent of farmers prefer pure digital interactions to phone or face-to-face engagement for easy tasks.2

Multichannel communication is already prevalent, but interoperability challenges lead to re-strategizing. In most cases, farmers are currently offered to connect with ag businesses through a physical retail store, in-person representatives, and online channels.2 The problem is that most agriculture-product providers aren’t meeting farmers’ needs over any of these channels, much less managing the transitions between them.2 Making customers feel comfortable across these channels is key to a positive experience and precisely why ag businesses are converting to omnichannel.

Omnichannel vs Multichannel - Just because a business has multichannel communication, doesn’t mean it is omnichannel, too.
Just because a cow has black hair does that make it an angus? No. The same goes for multichannel and omnichannel communication. You can have multichannel communication that is also omnichannel, but just because it’s multichannel, doesn’t mean it’s omnichannel.

Businesses do need to be careful about how they approach communicating digitally especially as they implement multiple new channels into their strategy. Ensuring a seamless experience and consistent messaging across each channel is what makes it an “omnichannel” strategy and positive experience.

Why Use an Omnichannel Strategy? 

Strong communication is essential to serving customers and maintaining an effective workplace. Using an omnichannel strategy adds value to current communication tactics rather than making a full shift and completely innovating communication with technology upfront. This eases the implementation process by building upon and integrating new practices and systems into what customers and employees are already using and enhances customer experience as well as increases team efficiency.

Enhance Customer Experience

Quality communication is key in any relationship, but it can make or break relationships with customers. All it takes is one terrible experience or a few small repeat bad interactions for a customer to stop using your services or buying your products. Omnichannel communication strategies ensure a consistent experience by aligning goals across all interactions. This can also lead to brand loyalty because customers have come to expect the same quality of service across multiple channels.

 

Maximize Team Capabilities

Imagine a football team without plays or any form of communication. Would the center know when to snap the ball? Would the quarter back know when players are open? How would they score? If the team had a communication plan, they would be more efficient in getting to that goal line. The team would be much more efficient, and well calculated if they had a strategy in place. Make communication seamless between not only the channels, but also departments and employees as well by planning your strategy to ensure quality communication.

Omnichannel vs Multichannel - What makes an omnichannel experience so much better?
You’re on the phone with customer John and he is trying to explain a part he needs but is just having a hard time. Rather than having the customer hang up, take a picture, send it to you, then call back or bring the part into the shop, transition right into a video call while you’re on the phone or offer customers a way to submit a part request by simply sending a photo with a text message.

How Can Companies Pivot to Omnichannel Communication?  

So, how can your business communicate in a way that provides customer with a positive experience? Use these two easy steps to make the change in your business.

1. Asses what channels you already use and determine new channels you want to add.
  • How are customers currently reaching you?
  • Are you providing an option for them to reach you digitally?
  • Can customers easily switch between channels?
  • Are there other channels your customers prefer to use? In-person, texting, phone?
  • How can you implement these channels into your business? AgriSync? Manually?
Omnichannel vs Multichannel - Why not just add channels to what we currently offer? Why take the extra step?
Just adding a new channel doesn’t mean it’s easy for customers to use. Channel satisfaction drives customer outcomes more than access to multiple channels does.1 So, ensuring your goals, messaging, and design are conveyed across that platform is essential to providing a consistently positive experience.
2. Implement practices to execute new communication strategy.
  • Consider new technology such as a call management system or other tools to provide the best omnichannel experience. For more tips, use our guide to implementing new technology.
#ProTip: Start small and talk it through. Decide a team or location to implement the practice first and hold meetings during roll out to learn about the tech, set processes, expectations, workflow, and identify anything that needs adjustment to meet expectations.
  • Other ideas: Host events to introduce customers to the new system.
#ProTip: Be honest. Point out our current challenges and inefficiencies then show how the new processes combined with any technology will benefit your customers.

AgriSync offers communication services through channels including text messaging, video, WhatsApp messaging, and phone to allow your customers to reach you digitally, making a customized customer experience possible. Schedule a demo to find out more about how you can facilitate an omnichannel communication strategy with AgriSync. 

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Sources:

  1. Jeff Durr and David Leonard, B2B: Secrets to Big Customer Partnerships, Gallup, https://www.gallup.com/workplace/231686/b2b-secrets-big-customer-partnerships.aspx
  2. David Fiocco, Liz Harrison, and Candace Lun Plotkin, Cultivating the omnichannel farmer, McKinsey, (February 7, 2019), https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/cultivating-the-omnichannel-farmer
  3. Clint Fontanella, 15 Examples of Brands With Brilliant Omni-Channel Experiences, HubSpot, (November 19, 2020), https://blog.hubspot.com/service/omni-channel-experience