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What is an OMO Strategy? Tools and Reference Cases for Successful Customer Support

OMO (Online Merges with Offline) is a measure that combines both online and offline services for a superior customer experience. The term is often discussed as a marketing measure.

In this article, we will explain how to successfully implement an OMO strategy at the customer support level. We’ll also introduce some useful tools for OMO strategy and successful case studies that you can refer to.

Communication Business Avenue has been helping some of the world’s largest companies to integrate call center systems and digital communication tools for the past 16 years.

 

What is OMO Strategy?

OMO strategy means a strategy to improve customer experience by leveraging the benefits of online services and offline services.
For example, let’s consider a service that allows customers to try cosmetics offline (physical stores) and purchase them online (E-comm sites). Although it may seem like a traditional measure to utilize physical stores and E-comm sites, the OMO strategy takes customer support one step further.

Chatbots, video communication, and digital humans can be used to provide customer support when physical stores are low on staff; e-commerce sites can provide remote support using chat, video communication, and mixed reality (MR) technology.

 

The OMO strategy is effective for products that cannot be used without trying them out, such as furniture, PC equipment, and climbing gear.
The above are just a few examples. Other OMO strategies include directing customers from websites (online) to physical stores (offline), and using real services (offline) after they have applied for an application (online).
The OMO strategy is a strategy that requires a seamless way of thinking that no longer distinguishes between online and offline.

Glossary of Terms Related to OMO

Understand the terms commonly used when talking about OMO strategies.

Before Digital: Before Digital refers to an era in which offline services are the focus. The idea is to provide services primarily in physical stores, with the occasional use of digital online services. Before Digital refers to an era in which offline services are the focus. The idea is to provide services primarily in physical stores, with the occasional use of digital online services.

After Digital: OMO is a term that is emblematic of the after-digital era.

Of course, there are many definitions of the term, but a simple explanation would be as above.

Online to Offline: refers to measures to guide customers from the Web to physical stores. The idea is centered on human support in physical stores.

Multi-channel: refers to a situation in which a company’s sales channels and customer support channels are operated in parallel.A multichannel is a situation in which each sales channel (physical stores, e-commerce site, catalog mail order) and each customer support channel (telephone, website inquiry form, e-mail, chat, SNS) are operated without being linked.

Omnichannel: a state in which multiple channels mentioned in the multi-channel section are linked and operated together. Customer data and inquiry history are managed centrally.

OMO: In OMO, we do not consider sales channels and inquiry channels separately. We consider physical stores and e-commerce sites as one service and think about how to improve the customer experience.

OMO is characterized by the fact that customers can use both online and offline channels without being aware of the difference in the experience of buying a single product or making a single inquiry.

Five tools for your OMO strategy

What tools are necessary for a successful OMO strategy as customer support?

Chatbots

Chatbots have traditionally been installed on the web. Recently, more and more companies are installing chatbots in their physical stores.With chatbots available in physical stores, customers can get immediate answers to their questions about products, regardless of whether a store employee is nearby or not.
In the U.S., QR codes are placed on each product, which customers can scan with their smartphones to ask questions to the chatbot.
In the retail industry, chatbots are part of conversational commerce refers to sales and marketing initiatives centered on messaging.

Mobile Apps

The key to an OMO strategy is how to utilize customers’ smartphones. In particular, measures that allow customers to place orders, make payments, and complete inquiries using mobile apps are particularly effective.
Today customers use mobile apps to purchase products even when they are in physical stores, or to make reservations online to try out actual products.
Furthermore, VIVR (Visual IVR) can be employed for inquiries from smartphones to support customer self-resolution.

Digital Signage

More and more companies are using digital signage in their OMO strategies, sometimes combining AI chatbots and digital humans with signage.

Data Management Tools

Data management tools are essential to an OMO strategy. This is because data needs to be linked offline (physical stores, call centers) and online (websites, chat).
Omni-channel call center systems and web analytics tools for call centers have proven successfull. Use tools that can be easily integrated with the CRM already in place.

Channel Management Tools

As discussed in the previous section on data management tools, an OMO strategy requires seamless management across channels. Customer support is easier if you use a call center system that specializes in omnichannel or an inquiry management system.
What can you do with a modern call center system that specializes in omni-channel? For example, a customer can start a chat from a laptop at home and continue the same inquiry on the go using whatsapp or facebook messenger. It’s also possible to switch to the phone to speak with the customer in the middle of the conversation.
The inquiry management system should also be a tool that can contribute to your OMO strategy. It is useful to have a tool that can consolidate all channels into a single inbox, including chat, video communication, screen sharing, apps, and phone calls, rather than one that specializes only in email correspondence.
China, the birthplace of OMO, has the most advanced OMO strategy. Below are some examples of Chinese companies that have successfully implemented OMO

The Case of Ping An Insurance (PING AN)

As an example of a successful OMO strategy, let us look at Ping An Insurance Group, one of China’s leading insurance companies. Ping An Insurance Group’s OMO success story is explained in four key points.

Vehicle Insurance

Ping An Insurance is pushing OMO in the area of car insurance. It has set up a video call center to ensure prompt accident investigation and claims filing.
Let’s look at an example: in May 2022, an insured resident of Shanghai was involved in a fender bender. However, using Ping An Insurance’s video call service, the damage investigation and claim processing was completed in just 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
In the past, an investigator would have to travel to the scene of the accident to take pictures or the subscriber would have to take the pictures himself, which would have taken time. With the video call, however, the damage assessment and claim were done simultaneously in a single call.

Medical Services

Ping An Insurance provides medical services through a mobile app. Users can easily look up reputable medical institutions using the app, and even make reservations via the app. The service is highly regarded in China, where the quality of diagnosis varies greatly from hospital to hospital.
The Ping An Insurance app also allows patients to ask questions and consult with doctors via chat.
Additional information: Mixed reality (MR) remote support tools have recently been used in the medical field. Doctors in remote locations can check on patients and their conditions and provide medical guidance.

Marketing Measures 

Ping An Insurance manages customer data in a segmented manner. Rather than using the big data method, which analyzes data by grouping customers into broad categories such as age and gender, the company uses a method called “individual data.
With personalized data, each customer’s information is analyzed in detail. As a result, personalized services can be provided, and customer satisfaction will increase.

Enhanced human services

In OMO strategies, attention tends to focus on online measures. However, Ping An Insurance also focuses on enhancing real-life services.
It has increased the number of sales representatives so that they can communicate closely with customers in real-life situations. Individual data collected online is used by human representatives to ensure excellent customer service.

Why Should You Engage in OMO Now?

Why are so many companies pushing forward with OMO strategies, even at the cost? Because consumer values are changing dramatically.
With the spread of high-speed Internet and smartphones, it has become commonplace for consumers to be able to purchase products wherever they want and whenever it is convenient for them. What consumers value is not how convenient it is, but the experience from purchase to consumption. They find value in the absence of stress and in personalized offers that are perfectly suited to their preferences during the purchase and consumption process.
By promoting an OMO strategy, companies can prevent opportunity loss. In addition, it not only improves short-term sales, but also increases LTV.

Final thoughts

An OMO strategy is about leveraging the benefits of online and offline to improve the customer experience. The tools that customer support needs to advance the OMO strategy are chatbots, digital signage, mobile apps, data management tools, and channel management tools. More recently, remote support tools with mixed reality (MR) capabilities are also being used.
To implement an OMO strategy, first identify customer support channels. Then, the channels will be coordinated. After the channels are linked, implement measures to improve the customer experience of receiving support.
OMOs can create new customer experiences. Even in the area of customer support, it can help improve the customer experience and bring steady sales to the company.
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