Omnichannel vs Multichannel — Why You Should Care

There is a reason why almost every help desk solution has a number of tools that will allow your buyers to contact you effortlessly. After all, if your customers want to contact you and can’t do so when they want, they will most likely never buy from you again. Unless you have no competition. It is estimated that around 60% of buyers expect companies to respond to them promptly. While expectations don’t often meet reality, said customers still wait for a prompt reply, hence why you need to provide a range of ways your customers can get in touch with you.

And it’s not just that situation alone, the more means of communication you provide, the more sales you expect. Not providing enough channels for support by today's standards means that you are offering a mediocre service at best. Hence why we decided to cover the differences between omnichannel vs multichannel so that you could have a better idea as to what you should use.

Omnichannel Support Simplified

To give you a better idea as to what kind of support system you need, we must first define what is omnichannel and what is multichannel. And to start, we will look at omnichannel as it is the most common term of the two and it is also the most marketable used one too.

So, when you hear that a help desk solution offers omnichannel functionality, the vendor typically refers to the ability to establish many ways your customers can interact with you. In other words, not just one channel but a bunch of them connected into one seamless experience. Whether it is a live chat, a ticket, a phone call, or social media, all of them are connected in one setting.

With omnichannel support on your side, you can connect your website (both desktop and mobile versions), all your physical locations, and e-commerce platforms (such as Shopify, Magento) into one system. This will allow you to serve your customers in the same fashion, regardless of the place.

Benefits of Omnichannel Support

One of the key benefits omnichannel offers is of course communication but outside of that, it is the fact that everything is super consistent across the board. Your customer will feel right at home whether they contacted you via phone or a social media platform.

Another cool benefit stems from the fact that most help desk solutions provide a sharing system within the omnichannel feature. What we mean is that when such a function is included, your agents can share valuable data about the customers internally using any type of communication as everything will be interconnected.

Multichannel Support SImplified

While similar in concept, multichannel support is quite different from omnichannel in terms of setting it up. The key idea behind multichannel support is that it allows you to provide customer support across multiple sources. In essence, when a company established a multichannel support system, the company allowed its customers to use a channel they like the most. To better understand how it works, we must put it into perspective.

So, let’s say Company A has set up a multi-channel support system. Just like omnichannel support allows, the company has a live chat, a phone system, a social media channel. But the interactions, transactions, and other types of data aren’t synchronized across other channels. In other words, when a customer first contacted Company A via social media, he will be treated as a new customer. The next time he decides to talk to Company A through other means (via live chat for instance), he will continue to be viewed as a new customer as the system doesn’t keep track of data. And frankly, the agent will most likely be someone else too.

Benefits of Multichannel Support

On paper, omnichannel is the better choice but in reality, it depends on the needs and capabilities of your brand. For instance, multichannel works better if you have a sub-brand that performs strong. That way you can easily divide the two and have a better, more modular control of your workflow. It is also easier to track down what channel performs the worst. After all, why make emphasis on things that don’t seem to pan out. Allocate those resources somewhere else.

Omnichannel vs Multichannel

While they are similar the way they do things is different. So, stacking up both omnichannel against multichannel in terms of features in a bank setting (it could have been anything, to be honest). Here’s how both means of providing support stack up against each other:

OmnichannelMultichannel
Provides a wide scopeProvides a centralized view
Allows transactions to be performed on multiple channelsThe transaction is usually redirected to one source
Allows businesses to identify what your customer needs (through analytics)Allows businesses to identify what your customers might like and want (through analytics)
Not all channels are visible to the customerCustomer is aware of all channels

 
So as you can see, even though they are similar on paper, they offer completely different benefits. While it’s true that in a different setting, certain elements will work better and provide greater results (mass retail, for instance, would benefit from knowing what their customers need), there is no denying that they offer not just communication features.

Which One Should You Use?

Some say that omnichannel is the better option as all channels are connected and synced. Others state that multi-channel is the better option for young businesses that don’t have a lot of customers and are trying to identify their key income source. In any case, you need to see what will work in your organization, with your customers, and your marketing efforts.

You might also like: 7 Must-Have Features for Your Help Desk Software

You can pick multi-channel first and gradually as time goes by, migrate to the omnichannel system. That way you get to experience both systems and not lose precious customers due to inability to provide proper support. Deciding between omnichannel or multi-channel can be tricky but if you project your business to the two systems, it becomes clear.

Lastly, before we close off, we’d also like to stress that you should always keep track of your budget. If the tool is costing you too much or does not provide the expected ROI, either find a better solution or switch to a different solution.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, having many support channels established for your install base makes sure that you deliver the best possible service. Your customers are your fuel and being there when they need your guidance is simply a necessity not a service. No matter which one you go for, make sure that you use the system to its fullest. The more service points you provide, the more your customers will value you.

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