Multichannel vs. Omnichannel

Why multichannel won’t cut it in an omnichannel world. [Hint: inefficiency, frustration and wasted money]

Communication changes and companies need to stay on track to provide the service customers demand. This means adding more channels and more complexity to their operations. Often this leads to new headaches as companies are putting more money in something that creates more work for agents and a disconnected experience as customers need to repeat themselves across channels.

What if we would start putting customers first? Removing friction, improving the experience, and maybe even creating brand loyalty on the side?

And it’s actually easier than you think!

Definitions

Just to ensure everyone follows, let’s begin by defining multichannel and omnichannel as they are often mixed.

Multichannel derives from the word “many” and refers to using several channels for customer contact. A typical mix includes phone, email, and contact forms. Notable here is that the channels act as their own entities and thus the information is being siloed across channels.

Omnichannel derives from the word “all” and refers to having all the different channels part of one integrated system. Delivering the same experience through all channels. It shares data across the channels and the conversations can flow from one channel to another seamlessly.

Customers want a more cohesive experience

Customer Experience across multiple channels is one of the most important ways brands can differ from one another. Just consider the following statistics:

  • 72% of customers blame their bad customer service interaction on having to explain their problem to multiple agents.
  • Over 35% of customers expect to be able to contact the same agent on any channel.

Customers expect that companies can deliver efficient and personalized service to them on their terms. If customers want this, then why are so few companies providing it?

Combine this with the facts that:

  • 89% of consumers begin to do business with a competitor following a bad customer experience
  • Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn.

Then why are companies not focusing on giving customers what they crave and instead give competitors low hanging fruits?

Make customers your friends, not your enemies.

From my experience, most organizations seldom provide the type of customer service that makes us want to buy more from them. You know, the kind where you want to tell everyone how good they are and become a brand ambassador? Rather, the service we get is often mediocre at its best and makes us want to switch to the competitor at the worst. And while you might now and then get that exceptional experience, it differs every time depending on the time and channel. Not. Good. Enough.

And I’m not alone, in fact, 87% of customers think companies need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience.

Most of the time, we just want to solve our problem or question rapidly and effortlessly. However, in reality, we are being left to explain the same situation over and over to different agents across different channels.

You know the story; You head out to the company’s webpage, chat with someone who then asks you to fill in their contact form. Then after not hearing about it for a few days, you call and start explaining your situation again, before getting transferred to a third agent with the right speciality and find yourself explaining the whole thing once more. This is both annoying and a key reason for customer frustration.

But what if your case was automatically routed to the agent with the best skills matching your inquiry, regardless of the channel? And thus get your problem solved in the most efficient way.

Want to chat? Sure. Change to a call in the middle of the chat? Even better!

That is the experience we want; efficient, personal, and delivered on our terms in the channels of our choosing. A connected experience.

Giving agents tools to focus on their jobs

From an agent’s perspective, having a powerful omnichannel contact center solution helps to increase not just customer satisfaction, but also agent satisfaction. No need to jump from one view to another: search for old tickets or cases, log in to separate CRM systems to view customer history. Rather agents have all the information available right there. In one view.

Using powerful AC&MD (Automatic Call & Message Distribution), agents are assigned the cases where they make the biggest impact. Using skills, keywords, prioritization, and categorization, the right call or message will always find the agent with the best chance to solve it. This lets agents focus on their job rather than collect the info needed to understand the case, while solving the cases faster (because of better expertise) and not having to transfer back and forth between agents.

Consider some of the benefits you get from an omnichannel solution:

  • Instead of replying in the same channel that the customer contacted you from, reply in the channel that gets the job done the easiest.
  • Get a holistic view of the customer to provide them with a personalized service
  • Have data flowing seamlessly across channels and systems to ensure all departments have the info they need.

Agents get to focus on their expertise, while customers get a more efficient and personal experience. Talk about win-win. And the best part?

Happier employees = Better business.

Summary

As you can see, taping new channels together without having them connected doesn’t solve problems, rather just creates more of them. Adding more disconnected channels only adds more work, confusion, and lowers efficiency. Not what you wanted, right?

Luckily changing to an omnichannel contact center solution is easier than you think. Book a demo with us and let’s talk!