Omnichannel or Multichannel Platform: What’s the Difference?

omnichannel

Omnichannel. Multichannel. Two of the biggest buzzwords in any industry today. Both provide your company with ways to communicate with your customers. While some businesses throw the words around as though they’re interchangeable, they’re not. In order to get the most out of your customer communications management software, your company needs to know the difference between a multichannel and an omnichannel platform.

It can be confusing, trying to figure out the differences between the two since they are so similar. It’s like vanilla ice cream and vanilla bean ice cream. Sure, they’re both kind of the same, but one is a little different than the other. The same can be said for a multichannel or omnichannel platform.

Multichannel: The Wagon Wheel Platform

omnichannel strategyMany companies use a multichannel platform, thinking it’s an omnichannel platform. Multichannel communications allow your company to deliver information to your customers based on their preferences. If they prefer to receive an invoice or bill in the mail, multichannel communications can do that. If they’d rather get that invoice/bill via email, a multichannel approach can do that, too.

The best way to think about multichannel communications is to think of it as a wagon wheel. The outer band of the wheel is your customer, while the inner band is your company. Each spoke in the wheel represents a way your company can provide information to your customers. Mail, email, social media, SMS/text messaging, even phone calls – the wheel is your multichannel hub for communications.

This is where multichannel and omnichannel differ. With multichannel communications, you can connect with your customers through any of the spokes – whichever they prefer – but your customers can’t go back and forth between channels.

For example, if your customer receives an email from you inviting them to upgrade a service, chances are there’s a link for them to follow so they can upgrade online. However, if they wanted to contact your call center, or if they wanted to chat with someone on social media, those people in your company might not know the details of the email your customer received. It’s frustrating for your customers, and it’s frustrating for your staff.

That’s not to say multichannel communications is bad. If your company, and your customers, are content communicating through one channel at a time, certainly a multichannel platform would work. There is, however, another way.

Omnichannel: The Swimming Pool Platform

omnichannel evolutionThe omnichannel platform provides your company with a lot more flexibility, and ultimately better customer communications. Whereas we can compare multichannel communications to a wagon wheel, it’s easy to compare an omnichannel platform to an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The swimming pool is filled with every communications platform – from email to social media and more. Since all of the channels are connected, it’s easy for your customer to start on one channel and jump to another without missing a beat.

Let’s look at the example we mentioned earlier. Your customer receives the services upgrade email with the link. Instead of using the link, your customer decides they’d like to know more about the upgrade before agreeing, so they dial your call center.

This is where an omnichannel platform kicks in. Once on the phone, a representative can pull up all of the information about your customer, including the email they were sent, and answer any questions they might have before agreeing to upgrade.

It’s also important to point out that 89 percent of customers are retained by companies with omnichannel engagement strategies.1

An Omnichannel Platform is the Better Solution

Omnichannel engagement is at the heart of any good customer communications management software. Giving your customers the option of how they’d like for you to contact them leads to a better customer experience, which leads to a better customer relationship and, over time, a steady increase in revenue.

One of the staples of Ecrion software is an omnichannel platform. Using Ecrion software, your company will be able to improve engagement, increase revenue, reduce costs, and even streamline operations. Our software is custom built from the ground up to help your company follow along the customer journey and succeed.

If you have questions about our software, how it works, and how it will work for your company, email us at sales@ecrion.com, or fill out our contact form. We look forward to helping you on the path to better customer communications.