Omnichannel vs Multichannel Contact Center: What’s the Difference?

omnichannel vs multichannel contact center | inbound appointment setting

When choosing a contact center to represent your business, it’s important to understand what contact channels they support and how they are integrated. There are two primary contact center methods, omnichannel and multichannel, that offer all options to your customers. Though these are common terms in the industry, what exactly does each type of service mean for your customers? We break down the differences between omnichannel vs multichannel contact center services below.

What is a Multichannel Contact Center?

A contact center employing a multichannel model allows customers to communicate through multiple channels. On the surface, this sounds like a good thing, and it is, though the fact that these channels operate in isolation makes them less efficient than an omnichannel environment. 

For example, when a call center agent receives a call from a customer, that agent cannot seamlessly move from one contact channel to another, creating friction in the customer journey. Switching among channels is not effortless and customers may get a disjointed experience.

What is an Omnichannel Contact Center? 

An omnichannel model is one where all contact channels are unified, not independent of one another (as is the case with multichannel). This allows agents to serve customers across channels, so a customer doesn’t have to start back at ground zero when switching channels. An example is a situation where a customer begins their correspondence by phone but during the call requests to move to text because their background has become noisy, and they can’t hear well. The agent’s ability to transfer to a more desirable channel mid-stream benefits the customer (by not requiring them to begin their conversation all over again with a different agent) and saves you, the contact center’s client, money by avoiding that unnecessary step in the process.

Some benefits of an omnichannel contact center approach include: 

  • Allows agents to deal with customers efficiently regardless of how they prefer to interact with a company.
  • Consolidates communication into a single-user interface, allowing quicker and easier access to a customer’s profile and interactions. 
  • Decreases customer attrition by allowing escalation teams to assist with complex cases, without losing the customer or acquired notes, thus increasing customer satisfaction. 
  • Helps companies glean insights into what customers want by compiling records of customer interactions across different modes of communication. 
  • Links customer’s personal information and data from all sources of interactions. 
  • Offers seamless connection between communication channels so that agents have access to the entire history of customer’s interactions in one place. 

Omnichannel vs Multichannel: Which to Use?  

A survey by Aberdeen Strategy & Research found companies who offer an omnichannel customer experience had a 91% higher rate of customer retention from year to year. When comparing omnichannel vs multichannel services, while both approaches prove effective, an omnichannel setting is the more effective of the two due to the added convenience offered to customers and associated savings.

Customer Experience & Retention 

Aberdeen Research found that companies with the best omnichannel engagement strategies for customers retained 89% of their customers, whereas those with weaker strategies maintained only 33% of customers. An omnichannel approach makes it not only easy but enjoyable, for customers to communicate with your business.

Integration & Technology 

Omnichannel contact centers unify communications at the back end; agents have instant access to all information gathered in communications with customers through a single interface. Whether the contact was made through social media, telephone, email, chat, or SMS the contact center’s technology provides agents with the tools required to effectively serve customers promptly. 

As anyone who works with customers can attest to, accessing a customer’s history of engagements with other agents often provides context for the current contact and allows agents to better serve customers. The technology to do this is readily available and hiring a contact center that specializes in integrating communication systems pays dividends. For example, many frustrations can be alleviated by allowing customers to interact initially with a self-service chatbot or voice bot, which gathers information and prepares a live agent to seamlessly work with the customer.

Agent Training & Efficiency

Efficiency is a key focus of most businesses and certainly of contact centers. Omnichannel contact centers like Telecom, Inc. train agents on how to communicate with customers across all contact channels. Telecom’s agents are trained extensively on how to utilize the cross-channel technology employed in the contact center setting, improving efficiency in the process. Investments in omnichannel platforms drive efficiency, and customer satisfaction scores, and contact centers and clients benefit from the employment of the strategy offered by the technology.

Return on Investment

Omnichannel operations increase transparency and provide a better overall customer experience. In today’s digital world, businesses need to listen to and engage with their customers to grow. When it comes to accessibility and convenience, the omnichannel approach to customer service provides customers with a much better experience overall, and businesses an opportunity to connect with, and learn from, their customers while serving them in their preferred channel.

Contact the Professionals at Telecom, Inc.

When it comes to customer care, contact centers offering omnichannel support models are the superior option to all other choices. At Telecom, Inc. our omnichannel service suite offers partners cutting-edge technology and many contact channels, including voice, chat, SMS, email, and social media, that make it easy and enjoyable for customers to interact with your business through their preferred contact method. Let us help you make your program more successful – contact us today to speak with our experienced team!

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