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Multi-Channel communications: are they enough?

September 24

Multi-Channel communications: are they enough?
Do you use the multi-channel communications model? This approach toward communication with customers and prospects is very important, but are you recognizing the limitations that this model has for today’s digital users? This blog will outline what is meant by the term “multi-channel communications” and discuss the limitations of this model for encouraging effective and responsive communications with your customers.
Multi-channel communications means that you have more than one channel available for communications with your customers. At its root, it is a model that creates extra channels for customers to communicate with the organization so that they can meet you on the channel that is most convenient for them. For instance, you may have an 800 number that they can use to ask product questions or place an order. The multi-channel communications model develops when you add an online order form, or perhaps a chat box for questions. Today, the use of multi-communications is standard. Customers can communicate via chat box, text, voice, email, etc. The goal is to meet the customers where they are.
However, as it is commonly defined, that is as far as the multi-channel goes. Customers can meet you on several channels, but that doesn't mean there is any integration of the data communicated on each of the channels. In this older channel model, each of the channels are silos; it is this lack of integration that is the critical limitation of the multi channel model.
Today, organizations have to take the next step and integrate these different channels. Known as the omni-channel communications model, data is transferred or communicated among all of the channels in real-time. Instead of silos, the users experience a single roadway and it doesn't matter which lane they choose to use. The goal is that whenever a customer connects on any touchpoint, they pick up right where they left off at the last interaction. Ideally, the channels could be used simultaneously; for example, I talk to customer service while reviewing my order status online, or check my shopping cart for an in-stock size or color.
The multi-channel communication model was a necessary step in reaching customers where they were, but it no longer is sufficient. To learn more, contact a managed services provider to learn how you can fully integrate all of your channels, so you can meet the expectations of today’s customers.