Customer Experience Bites #3: A BFO re Omnichannel

(Bite-sized information or inspiration, that I have time to write, and you have time to read)

This week I attended a sensational event: Remix London is one of a series of Global Summits bringing together pioneers from different industries to explore the future of culture, creative cities and the creative economy; described as “a forum where creative leaders from different sectors can exchange insights, ideas and work together towards common goals.”

Highlights of Remix London 2018 included presentations by TV historian Dan Snow (on his journey to running “a new kind of global history channel“), Tate Managing Director Kerstin Mogull (on Tate’s vision “to be the most artistically adventurous and culturally open, global art museum”) and Eden Project founder Sir Tim Smit, whose unforgettable keynote will be the subject of my next CX Bite!

So, to my BFO or Blinding Flash of the Obvious – it’s about the fundamental essence of the Customer Experience: that elusive concept, responsible for more than its fair share of vacant expressions on C-Suite-level faces, and frustrated middle managers with the words “Visitor/Customer Experience” in their job title.

Someone – it doesn’t matter who – was talking about “Omnichannel”, which of course means, creating a seamless brand or buying experience across physical, digital and telephone platforms.

In the technological tsunami that is the second decade of the 21st Century, organisations suddenly know that they need to “do something” about Omnichannel: they know they need to make sure that their website, or their social media, or their call centre, delivers a consistent brand experience.

Great! I agree! But…

As I sat there, in the darkness of London’s Almeida Theatre, stimulated by some great speakers and ideas and by too much coffee… that’s when it hit me“Omnichannel” is just another word for “touchpoints” – or “moments of truth” – or the “Customer Journey”: all the ways in which the customer experiences the organisation, and forms her impression of it. So when we talk about Omnichannel we shouldn’t think only of the digital experience. Omnichannel is the total experience – partly delivered and facilitated digitally, yes, but for most organisations, also delivered in a whole variety of “traditional” ways, in the physical world.

As I argue in my eBook “Managing Customer Experience in the Networked Age“, you mustn’t digitise a mediocre Customer Experience – if you do, you’ll end up with a mediocre, digital Customer Experience. In other words, in your organisation, Omnichannel is everyone’s business. 

There’s one more thing:

Just as I was wondering whether everyone already knew this, or alternatively whether this was too blindingly simple and obvious a concept to be true, Chief Marketing Officer of Westfield, Myf Ryan, took to the stage. She described how Westfield’s shopping malls have embraced the Experience Economy, and how closely they monitor, respond to, and anticipate, changing trends and customer buying behaviours. She talked about Omnichannel. And then she said:

“The Customer IS the channel.”

Please think about this. I honestly think it’s profoundly important for the future of your organisation. Imagine how your organisation would think differently, plan differently, behave differently, and think about Omnichannel differently, if you accepted this to be true:

“The Customer IS the channel.”

Customer Experience isn’t simply the quality or arrangement of assets. It’s their orchestration. I help organisations orchestrate their assets so that everyone plays to their full potential. Read my eBook Managing Customer Experience in the Networked Age, or contact me to find out more.

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