The only thing in today’s digital environment which changes quicker than technology, are the consumer expectations. Nowadays, the customer service industry is captured by two trending terms- “omnichannel customer service” and “multi-channel customer service”. These two terms occupy the heart of the customer service industry and are often used interchangeably. But, dwelling deep, you can find a pronounced difference between them.
The ever-growing technological advancements and the growing attention to detail have resulted in an expansion in the customer service industry. Thus, it becomes essential to understand the difference between omnichannel customer experience and multichannel customer experience.
Multi-channel customer experience
Multi-channel customer support refers to the availability of customer service across two or more channels like web, e-mail, social media, apps, calls etc. Hence, the option lies with the customers to choose how they want to interact with the company. However, in the case of multi-channel customer experience, it is not necessary that the customers get the same response across all channels. Therefore, it is highly possible that customers get different kinds of response by using different channels, although the overall messaging idea follows the corporate objective.
Various brands across the world use multi-channel but the most famous among them are Apple, Burberry, and Uniqlo. Apple, the brand that sets the trend, provides a different experience to customers in each of its channels. If you visit a brick and mortar Apple store, you can see what you might feel while using an Apple rather than seeing what the product does, visit the Apple iStore and you will get an interactive experience, you can even book an appointment with a customer service executive. It is this uniqueness of experience every time that has made people opt for Apple even though similar products are available cheaper elsewhere. Burberry, the leading apparel brand is also one of the very few brands which provides customer service through a variety of channels including Snapchat and Periscope. Each of the channels that Burberry uses, gives a unique, distinctive customer experience.
Omni-channel customer experience
The omnichannel customer service strategy refers to a customer engagement strategy which caters to the customers via all available channels of support. An omnichannel setup is undoubtedly more streamlined, more user-centric and more transparent. It makes it easier for the customers to raise and get their issues resolved. However, businesses have to make sure that the service standards remain the same across all channels so that customer do not have varied experiences in different channels. Customers have the freedom to use all evaluation channels and are free to switch between them without any loss of information or requirement of repetition/reiteration.
All businesses use multiple channels to connect with customers, but for an Omni Channel experience to work seamlessly, all these channels have to work together so that customers get a similar experience everywhere. Omni-Channel is all about delivering an integrated experience.
Customers are sensitive these days and information flow in real time. Hence, brands across the world make the best use of Omni-channel experience to ensure no misinformation is being communicated, all customer care personnel understand the business objective and speak the same language. The best example of a brand which has got the omnichannel components right is Disney. From the giant movies to small Disney goodies, everything speaks the same language, visually and delivers the same kind of experience.
A good example of how a brand in India makes the best use of the Omni-channel concept is payPLUS, the mobile POS company. It doesn’t matter if a user is using payPLUS through mobile or tablet or the website, the user experience remains exactly the same. Mahindra Comviva, the leaders of delivering superior customer experience has worked closely with payPLUS to ensure they make the most of the omnichannel piece.
Another excellent example of effective usage of omni-channel is Mahindra Comviva’s Mobilytix Suite which is set to bring a new era in customer value management. It is a big data driven mobile analytics solution which finds out hidden customer insights to drive revenue growth. The service is delivered through multiple channel, however, the customer experience remains uniform irrespective of the channel used.
Omni-channel is the way forward. Researchers show that a well-defined omnichannel customer experience management setup achieves 91% higher growth for the organization’s customer retention rate as compared to the organizations with multi-channel programs. Increasing 3.4%t on an average in the customer lifetime value, the omnichannel customer experience management programs prove to be more profitable for the service providers, giving them a vantage point of view.
As already mentioned, information flows on real time basis now. A small mistake can blow up and bring a brand down in seconds, thanks to social media. Brands need to speak the same lingo across all channels to ensure a uniform communication goes out to customers.