‘Po-ta-to’, ‘po-tah-to’? Omni-channel, multi-channel confusion


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What used to be the call centre has become the contact centre. It appears that as soon as we become familiar with a term, a new buzz word enters the scene to confuse and amuse the customer experience industry. And just as organisations adapted to having a multi-channel strategy, along comes omni-channel with a whole new set of challenges.

Frequently used within the industry, some might think them similar, but in reality, these are two very distinct things. And to properly execute on them, it’s important to know exactly what they mean. ‘Multi’ means ‘many’ and ‘omni’ means ‘all.’ However from the customer’s perspective, it’s the same goal – the delivery of superior customer experience.

Let’s take a closer look at each definition:

Omni-channel means supporting all channels – whilst having a holistic view of the experience from your customer’s point of view – in a seamless, integrated a consistent manner regardless of the communication method. Unlike multi-channel, omni-channel interactions are not siloed but integrated, providing for richer customer experiences. These experiences are connected, consistent across devices, channels and time, and contextual, regardless of the amount of times a customer may transition from one channel to another as they progress to a resolution.

Multi-channel incorporates the more functional aspects of interacting with a specific channel, vital as customer are increasingly dictating how they want to engage. Multi-channel includes the techniques and technologies that exist within each channel experience. A multi-channel approach can engage customers over multiple channels, however it’s not necessarily focussed on delivering consistent messages across all touch points.

To put it simply: Customers view their experiences with a company, not with discrete channels. They want an omni-channel world where they can transition seamlessly from channel to channel, picking up where they left off in their purchasing or enquiry process, with consistent support throughout their journey.

In many cases omni-channel isn’t a reality yet, but an aspiration for companies that understand the importance of customer experience with regards to customer retention and acquisition.

Why not visit the download section on our website where you can access whitepapers, infographics and guides that can offer insight for developing your customer service strategy?

The information and guides will help you:

  • Identify the key questions to ask a vendor
  • Understand the implications of ‘hidden costs’
  • Evaluate the criteria important to your organisation

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Neldi Rautenbach
Marketing is my passion, delivering great user experiences my poetry. Marketing Manager for a top web self service vendor, Synthetix - we create customer service solutions that engage audiences via the web, mobile phones and social networks - reducing inbound e-mail and voice traffic to your call-centre by at least 25%.


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