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The Difference Between Multichannel and Omnichannel contact and why it matters to your customers

The past few years has seen a seismic shift in the way that organisations communicate with customers.

Customer Service has become Customer Experience – and it is now a real differentiator for businesses.

Digital natives make up an ever-increasing proportion of consumers, and they want choice in the way they interact with organisations. Voice may still be king, but contact centres are increasingly looking to non-voice channels like Webchat, email and SMS to meet customer demand.

What is the difference between a “Multichannel” and “Omnichannel” contact centre?

A multichannel contact centre uses more than one method of communication, like voice, text and email. That gives customers a choice of channels, which they can switch between depending on their preference and needs. But while multichannel offers choice, it’s based on separate services that don’t work together. To that extent multichannel is an opportunity missed.

An omnichannel contact centre solution also offers a choice of channels, but with the crucial difference that converged communications are all in one place. An omnichannel contact centre is one which has full visibility of a customer journey, regardless of which channels are used. That allows agents to seamlessly switch between channels to improve customer experience.

The benefits of a converged solution

With all relevant information and contact history at their fingertips, an agent is much better equipped to resolve customer issues and find opportunities to upsell. For example, a voice agent with access to a customer’s previous email conversations and website clicks could create a personalised pitch for additional services.

True converged omnichannel can also help you look after your customers more efficiently, with multi-skilled agents handling multiple interaction types simultaneously.

An agent dealing with an unhappy customer on a web chat would be able to see the full history of interactions and seamlessly switch to a voice call to personalise the experience. In a study conducted by Epsilon Marketing, 80% of consumers said they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalised interactions.

Do I need omnichannel?

Until recently, omnichannel was seen as a ‘nice to have’, but no longer. This is an era of consumer choice. An American Express study found that more than half of respondents had cancelled a planned purchase due to bad customer service.

In addition, Zendesk research recently found that 30% of consumers now share their customer service experiences online. Reviews of your business – good and bad – quickly spread.

Giving consumers a range of communication options to suit their preferences and needs is part of providing an excellent customer experience. Omnichannel contact centre software also allows you to tailor your service to individual customers, taking into account everything you know about them from their interactions with your organisation.

It means your agents are better informed, and better prepared to offer a truly personalised service.

MaxContact is a powerful omnichannel contact centre solution offering a full range of contact options, from voice and email to SMS, webchat and even WhatsApp. This is a fully converged service that puts all customer interactions in one place for seamless communication. For more information on our omnichannel solution, please see our website and feel free to get in touch.

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