There is a plethora of channels retailers can sell through today: mobile, social media, web, email, in-person, etc. But one channel is generally overlooked: partners.
Although the above is not a direct quote, that information comes from this article from Customer Think. When the author of the article refers to “Partners,” she is referring to “resellers, distributors, franchisees, licensees, etc.”
Any person who attempts to sell your product for you is now a touchpoint that is part of your omnichannel retail strategy.
The problem with these partnerships is that it can be harder to control the experience – by partnering, you add more layers of bureaucracy, which makes it harder to change the experience the partner provides. However, this touchpoint represents part of your brand experience. If you can not control that experience, you put your brand equity at risk.
The author of the same article above provides many tips to help with the partnership channel of your omnichannel experience:
- Partners are touchpoints, too. Pay attention!
- Listen to customers about the partner customer experience.
- Customers need those partner experiences to be seamless.
- Choose your partners wisely.
- Listen to partners about the partner experience.
- Listen to partners about the customer experience.
- Act on their feedback and concerns.
- You are responsible for the quality of your customers’ interactions with those partners; you chose them to be your partner, to represent your brand. (Think about how much care you take in hiring a new employee; partners need to be scrutinized for culture fit and more, too.)
- Don’t confuse customers with inconsistent language, messaging, etc., especially across partners and channels.
- Don’t confuse customers by making them figure out your discombobulated partnership arrangements.
- Train partners just like you would employees. Share customer feedback with them. Communication is key to the success of partnership arrangements.
- Educate employees (your company’s and the partner’s) about the brand experience and what that means to you – and to your customers.
- Remove policies that make the partner/omnichannel experience painful
- Develop SLAs around the customer experience.
Follow these tips and your partners will flourish.