The Ask an Expert blog series is intended to help you answer the most critical questions related to marketing technology, customer data and customer experience with insights from industry experts. Check out our post on omnichannel analytics below.
“Omnichannel analytics” is a big buzzword among enterprise organizations at the moment — and rightfully so. Consumers are engaging with brands on new channels every day, both online and offline.
As businesses race to keep up with the growing number of channels — websites, applications, emails, call centers, text messages, social media, paid media, brick-and-mortar locations and more — the ability to track, measure and interpret consumer behaviors across these channels becomes more critical — and more difficult.
Enter omnichannel analytics and its promise of keeping up with today’s criss-crossing customer journeys.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about omnichannel analytics with expert help from ActionIQ’s Vice President of Strategic Services Tamara Gruzbarg.
What is Omnichannel Analytics?
If you ask 10 people what omnichannel analytics is, you’re likely to get 10 different answers. That’s because “analytics” is a very broad term.
Put simply, omnichannel analytics is the process of collecting data across all your channels and connecting it to understand how each channel interacts with the other to impact customer experience.
By taking an omnichannel approach to analytics, you can make sure you’re not making decisions in a silo — and more effectively connect the dots between how consumer actions in one channel may influence another.
This is helpful in many ways — such as for multi-touch attribution — but the real power of omnichannel analytics is in the customer intelligence it can help you uncover.
“It’s about what you’re doing from an insights perspective,” Gruzbarg said.
“The value of omnichannel analytics comes from understanding what the data means from the consumer behavior standpoint, implementing changes based on that and then measuring performance on the backend.”
This makes the ability to interpret data across channels, not just collect it, essential.
The goal for brands is to deliver personalized customer experiences no matter when, where or how a customer engages with them. But that can only be accomplished by analyzing customer interactions across all channels and translating that data into actionable takeaways for marketing, sales and customer service teams.
Doing this quickly and at scale means helping everyday business users access and action on omnichannel data without having to rely on technical assistance.
What Does an Omnichannel Analyst Do?
The real question, according to Gruzbarg, is what does a data analyst do, and how can that be applied to omnichannel analytics?
“A data analyst pulls data on consumer behavior,” Gruzbarg said. “That can be applied across different channels to create a holistic view and inform business strategies.”
Interestingly enough, while organizations may have analysts devoted to a single channel — such as a paid media analyst or email analyst — you’re unlikely to find someone with the job title of “omnichannel analyst.” But that may be changing.
“Channel-specific analysts do exist because a lot of companies have siloed channels,” Gruzbarg said.
“Organizations are moving to break down this siloed approach, and as they do, they’ll need an analytics function that goes across all channels.”
For example, say someone clicks on an email from a brand and then makes a purchase at one of its stores a few days later. Without access to omnichannel data, an analyst wouldn’t necessarily make the connection between how the customer flowed from one channel to the next.
As for today, data analysts often find themselves responding to ad hoc requests for common use cases.
“Without access to data, business users come to analysts and ask very straightforward questions needed to perform immediate tasks,” Gruzbarg said.
“Questions like, ‘How many people with these particular characteristics do we have in our customer base? Who responded to my marketing campaign in terms of gender and age distribution?’”
As organizations help business teams self-serve customer data for their routine activities, such as audience segmentation and journey orchestration, data analysts will find they have more time to ask deeper questions of the data they have and work on higher-impact projects.
What is an Example of Omnichannel?
To understand what an omnichannel customer experience looks like, it helps to first recognize the opposite.
“Let’s say I look for something on the website of a well-known store, like a winter coat,” Gruzbarg said. “It’s a big purchase, so I do some research. I see that they have it in stock at a location near me, and I go there and buy it. But then I start getting ads for the exact same coat, and they follow me around online for the next three months. It’s like I never made the purchase.”
Not only is the brand wasting its budget on an already-converted customer, it’s annoying the customer and showing them it doesn’t really know them or their history with the brand.
“If consumers share their data with a brand, they expect some sort of improvement in their customer experience in return,” Gruzbarg said.
“When a brand doesn’t have an omnichannel approach, when I interact with them — whether it’s their website, email or SMS — that’s where their knowledge of me and how I engage with them begins and ends.”
But customers don’t operate in silos. Omnichannel is all about providing a relevant, consistent and connected customer experience to buyers across channels and touchpoints based on the full view of their interactions with your brand. And omnichannel analytics bridge the silos.
What Does Omnichannel Service Mean?
Omnichannel goes well beyond marketing campaigns. Consumers expect the same level of care and attention when it comes to customer service.
“Let’s say I filled out a customer support form on a brand’s website, but I needed help right away, so I decided to call afterward,” Gruzbarg said. “I would expect the customer service representative to know what I’ve been up to. There should be some sort of signal in terms of my prior engagement across different touchpoints with the brand. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m starting over every time.”
Here’s where omnichannel analytics makes a big difference.
Likewise, if a customer sends a question or complaint in an email, but then resolves their issue in another channel, they shouldn’t be receiving an email asking them for more information about their problem days later.
“People don’t want a generic response five days after the issue has been solved as if nothing ever happened,” Gruzbarg said.
What is Omnichannel Technology?
Any technology whose function is tied to working across channels may be called “omnichannel technology.” But organizations don’t need just any technology.
Without the ability to take action on customer insights across channels, collecting data points from them has limited value.
“Organizations need omnichannel technology that provides access to data and insights across channels, and then gives you the ability to act on it across channels,” Gruzbarg said.
Learn More About Omnichannel Analytics
Get in touch with our experts to discover how you can drive value with omnichannel analytics using the AIQ CX Hub.