What is omni-channel?
Omni-channel communications or contact center is a channel where interactions with customers are integrated seamlessly into one. This includes communication made from actual stores or outsourced channels. They may be in the form of email, SMS, calls, or chats. Agents may switch from one interface to another without losing customer details gathered from a previous interaction.
Omni-channel is often be confused with multi-channel systems in a company’s customer service interface. Omni-channel has one database for keeping customer information. When one agent receives a call from a customer, the data is saved in the same database so that when the company has to reach out to the same person, it would be easy to pick up where they left off.
This makes the customer feel like they are heard and given importance when their communications are noted. Beyond seamless customer interaction, this process makes it more convenient and efficient for both sides.
Benefits of omni-channel
1. It’s all about integration
Omnichannel is all about keeping the interaction and content flowing through different channels. Web, phone and social interactions are not siloed anymore. They are linked in the same way the pages of a book are put together to tell a story. In that same way, omnichannel connects user applications to create customer dialogues and experiences that flow naturally.
2. Nothing gets lost in translation
Because of the almighty integration, nothing is lost and consumers can pick up from where they left off. Besides saving the customer’s time, brands will also convey the feeling that every interaction matters and every customer’s problems and queries are acknowledged and kept on file for future reference.
3. Breaking down the walls between online and offline
This is generally true for brands which also have physical locations. Even as our customers leave the virtual space for face-to-face interactions, it is important to feel that, however they choose to interact with their chosen brand, they receive a personalized experience. If you purchased that nice sweater online, but you decide to return it in store, you would expect in-store staff to be able to access online channels and replace, exchange or even make recommendations.
4. Personalization, at last
As consumers, we all like that Starbucks cup of coffee with our name on it, or are more prone to open that email with our name in the subject line. That’s because we see ourselves as unique individuals with distinct needs. And we expect that same treatment from the brands we choose. Omnichannel equips organizations with the right tools to offer customers personalized experiences and, more importantly, reinforces their individuality.
5. Last but not least, it’s easier for everybody!
It takes two to tango: brands and customers. As soon as the customers choose your brand, you know you have to wow them to retain them. Everything from the systems and technology you use, to the agents who pick up the phone, all must be level pro. And providing an omnichannel experience – beyond offering customers all of the above – helps your workforce to be more effective, efficient and engaged. It’s almost like going to an exam and being prepared. You feel confident and you know you’ll do well. It’s exactly the same for your employees. No matter if they are online or offline, being equipped with the right tools that deliver information about the customer in a seamless way makes the process enjoyable for everyone involved.
Done the right way, it will improve the customer journey and it will elevate the customer experience. Omni, derived from the Latin ‘Omnis’, means all. And we can definitely say omnichannel is not an oversell. In a world constantly on the move, where most users spend less than 15 seconds on a webpage, you need to know how to interact quickly and efficiently, while making your customers feel that it is your daily mission to know them and to serve them in order to keep them.
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