Today’s customers expect to be able to engage with your company across multiple platforms, whether that be live chat, phone, social media, WhatsApp or email.
When there’s an issue, they want it solved as soon as possible and for businesses, an omnichannel approach to customer service can support this.
So what’s the difference between an omnichannel and multichannel service?
A company that has multichannel support offers customers multiple routes of contact.
Support may be offered across different channels (email and phone for example) but the platforms do not work together – so you can’t move a conversation seamlessly from one to the other, or keep a log of each conversation in one single view.
Usually, the conversations on these different channels are taken on by different agents too. This doesn’t mean that multi-channel support isn’t effective, but it does mean that customers who start their journey on one platform will have to start at the beginning if they want to switch to another type of communication.
Without a complete view of the customer’s engagement, they may receive different answers to the same question or be bounced around between agents. It’s no wonder customers can become frustrated or irritated.
You may therefore experience inconsistencies between channels, such as tone and voice. The chances of miscommunication are also high, since each channel is managed separately, with its own strategy and unique customer experience.
The main goal of omnichannel is to provide a seamless customer experience regardless of channel. Whereas the goal of multichannel customer support is simply to provide as many ways as possible for customers and agents to connect, Omnichannel syncs up all customer engagements on whichever channel they occur on.
An omnichannel service means customers can get in touch with you on their preferred platform. And if they feel they want to move the conversation to phone or video call, they can. The agent can jump channels to continue the conversation. All of the customer’s data is stored and transferred, so the customer doesn’t get frustrated having to repeat their issue – there’s no passing around to other agents.
Omnichannel automatically syncs conversations, notes, files, and any additional information seamlessly across every channel. You can collect and bring together customer data such as website cookies, mailing lists, and social media, giving you a complete view of your customers. This data can be used to improve the customer experience which will ultimately improve engagement and drive sales.
It also ensures that, even if multiple agents assist customers during the support process, each agent will know exactly where the conversation left off, who the customer previously spoke to, what was discussed, and which issues still need to be fixed.
Benefits of omnichannel over multichannel
There are several reasons why an omnichannel strategy is beneficial:
Fast communication and resolution: no customer wants to wait a long time to get an answer to their query, especially when it’s urgent. Omnichannel helps you to meet customer expectations by storing data so that it's accessible and up to date, no matter the channel or team member.
Personalisation: Omnichannel communication – especially when it comes to support, makes building relationships and improving customer loyalty through personalisation simple, since it lets customers connect with agents on the channel they prefer.
Supporting self-service: this ensures customers get instant help, eliminates the back and forth between agents and customers and provides agents with more time to assist customers with more complex support issues. Automated chatbots can offer immediate assistance and answer questions using AI and natural language processing. These chatbots can collect customer data, route them to the right support documents (or live agent if needed) and gather feedback to improve the self-service process.
A modern-day cloud contact centre solution allows for a fluid transition between communication channels. Seamlessly moving a customer from an initial email or web chat to an instant messaging platform, then a voice call.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about scalable omnichannel solutions to evolve your contact centre and offer an unbeatable customer experience.