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For nearly a decade, the contact center industry has touted omnichannel as the solution to satisfy the needs of today’s demanding customers. But in truth, many companies and their customer service providers have implemented a multichannel strategy instead, and in so doing, have hurt their brand instead of helped it.
How did this happen? It all comes down to understanding the essential differences between multichannel and omnichannel. Despite common thinking, the two are not interchangeable terms. That’s the crux of the problem and the source of the disappointment many companies have suffered.
Multichannel represents channel-centric thinking
Multichannel is simply about delivering customer care in various channels, including digital ones. Often companies implemented the channels one at a time in a mostly siloed way, with each channel getting with a separate strategy.
Now companies are starting to realize that adding multiple channels and disjointed technologies to the customer experience does not improve customer satisfaction. In fact, the opposite occurs. For customers starting in one channel, there’s no continuity of customer experience, or message, as they progress through their journey across touchpoints and channels. The result is heightened customer frustration and impatience.
Omnichannel is customer-centric
Compare that to omnichannel, where you have a holistic, integrated strategy for delivering an ideal customer experience across any and all channels you use to serve customers. An omnichannel strategy takes a customer-centric approach to engage with customers and build relationships regardless of channel.
“Omnichannel customers are more active, spend more, and are less expensive to support than single-channel customers.”
Source: Kate Leggett, “Top Trends for CRM in 2017: It’s All About Differentiated (Digital) Experiences,” Forrester, February 7, 2017.
Why it matters
When you orchestrate the omnichannel customer journey, you remove the roadblocks for effortless customer interactions. Add meaningful dialog with customers to that approach and you get an ideal customer experience.
When you deliver an end-to-end omnichannel strategy, you can maximize customer satisfaction, sales, retention and Net Promoter Scores, regardless of the channel the customer uses.
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