October 22, 2015
We’ve all heard the terms and even bandied them about ourselves on occasion, but do you really know the difference between ‘multichannel’ and ‘omnichannel’, as they pertain to technology today?
Not many people do, but now there’s help at hand.
Gerald Sinclair, Workforce Optimization Practice Manager with Uptivity, an inContact Company, recently posted a blog on inContact’s homepage where he took a look at the related but different technologies, and clarified their differences.
“The term multichannel defines the various channels that are made available to connect with an organization,” Sinclair said. “If you ever shopped online or ordered something via a mobile app, you have already participated in a multichannel customer interaction.”
He went on to note that companies may offer several ways for a customer to interact with their organization, but the experience is not always consistent. As an example he said that he might be able to purchase items online in half the time it would take to call the organization and place the order by phone.
But it’s also worth noting that while ‘multichannel’ is the term in vogue, it’s been around for a while in various forms.
“Consumer shopping via TV, catalogs, contact centers, in-store, [and] door-to-door were all available prior to the technology explosion, allowing even more ways to engage,” Sinclair says.
Omnichannel, on the other hand, refers to a more consistent relationship and message across all channels.
“Omnichannel connects the dots between each available channel. In addition, it also explains the simultaneous use of two or more channels,” Sinclair says. “If you have ever logged on to a rewards or coupon site on your mobile phone and displayed the discount during checkout in a retail store, you have experienced an omnichannel interaction.”
He notes that whichever technology a company chooses to use, they can benefit from either.
“Organizations that are not investing in multichannel customer engagement strategies are at a high risk of missed profit opportunity and falling to their competition. Furthermore, organizations that are implementing an omnichannel strategy will experience a 3.4 percent increase (on average) in customer lifetime value,” Sinclair says. “As businesses become more customer-centric, it is vital for them to evolve and adapt to an omnichannel experience management program to create a holistic, positive and efficient customer service experience.”