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“Omni-channel” – is this phrase “the next big trend”?

Where has this new trend “Omni” come from and why are we being confronted with these new concepts and challenges. We thought multi and Omni meant the same thing.

Is there really a difference?

Single-channel support, your company offer your clients just one method of communication. Traditionally it would have been the phone and a lot of online sellers provide e-mail support only.

Multi-Channel Support, your company is more customer orientated and interacts with your customers using a mix of phone, live chat, e-mail and SMS. The various channels should be consistent and deliver the same message but differences will be tolerated as your customers normally use the same channel of communication even though others are available.

Omni-Channel Support means that your customers can use the same device to contact you such as a smartphone by using all the channels available. Consumers are becoming more intelligent and knowledgeable and they may contact you by phone today, e-mail tomorrow and live chat the day after so all your channels need to be integrated and deliver the same message regardless of which medium is used.

Omni-channel support is exciting and it will definitely have a major impact on how contact centres operate. Up to now, each service was offered as a standalone channel with a small degree of integration. This new omnichannel approach will involve a complete integration of all channels, processes and procedures.

Consumer interactions will become more detailed, therefore the consumer’s logging history across all channels will need to be available to all team members.