Does your organization currently have a multi-channel customer engagement strategy? How about an omni-channel strategy?  Whether you do or don’t, it is important that you understand the difference between the two. Before you can adopt best practices, you have to understand what you’re working with, as well as what you’re working toward. Multi-channel and omni-channel customer engagement help you achieve separate objectives.

Many people believe the difference between the two terms is very subtle. However, once you take a closer look, you’ll quickly notice they are, in fact, two strategies that follow two very distinct paths. Let’s explore their meanings and how they can help you to create seamless interactions with your customers.

What Is a Multi-Channel Customer Engagement Strategy?

When companies employ a multi-channel customer engagement strategy, it means they use a variety of channels to interact with customers. This approach, however, does not focus on delivering the same message across every touchpoint that each of these channels creates. Nor does a multi-channel approach take into consideration the various types of devices that customers will be using to interact with the company.

What Is an Omni-Channel Customer Engagement Strategy?

The omni-channel strategy is much like a multi-channel approach in that it uses multiple channels to enhance the customer experience. In addition, this strategy focuses on delivering a consistent message. More so, it distinguishes itself from the multi-channel approach by putting a heavy emphasis on the devices used by the customers. Take for example a company that engages with customers through a social app, mobile app, and a website. The omni-channel approach makes sure that there is a consistent feel across each of these platforms.

What Does the Research Say?

A research study conducted by Omni-Channel Customer Care discovered companies with this type of approach enjoyed a 91 percent higher rate of customer retention when compared to those that didn’t employ this type of strategy. It also found that this approach led to a 3.4 percent increase in the customer lifetime value, whereas companies without this strategy actually endured a .7 percent loss in their customer lifetime value year-over-year.

There are many organizational inefficiencies that can be resolved by employing an omni-channel experience. Take for example a customer who is having problems with an order they have made and contacts the company’s contact center.  The business can deliver status updates to the customer through email and interactive voice response phone messages. This company can also use multiple channels to relay status updates to other contact center agents or organizational employees who are involved in the customer’s case; this helps ensure everyone is on the same page.

Artificial intelligence is a great form of engagement to use in an omni-channel approach. Customers can log onto the company’s website, speak with chatbots about the status of their orders and leave the chat box feeling completely satisfied.

Creating an Experience Rather Than a Single Interaction

An omni-channel approach also aims to create an experience for the customer rather than a single interaction. As customers come into contact via various channels with the organization, they are able to notice a consistent feel from one channel to the next. From a cognitive standpoint, this makes interacting with the company easier because the customers feel comfortable and at ease from one platform to another.

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