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Omni- v multi-channel communications: the difference.

October 15

Omni- vs. multi-channel communications: the difference.

Do you frequently hear references to the omni-channel communications model or the multi-communications model? Wonder if they are they just jargon terms for the same thing? Marketing lingo can be thrown around very loosely, but these two terms actually refer to very different customer communication models and they shouldn't be confused. This blog will give you a quick primer.
It is easiest to understand the two models chronologically. Multi came before omni. Multi is good, omni is better.
A communication channel is just a reference to the specific method that you use to communicate with your customer. Voice is a communication channel. 
In the multi-channel model, we create more than one channel where customers can interact with us. It is done primarily for their convenience. We create touchpoints that are helpful for them. (Of course there are other internal reasons to build multiple channels, but that is a different blog) Nonetheless, this multiple contact approach has a problem.
While each channel is a great tool for communication, the different channels don’t necessarily have anything to do with one another. They are basically several different roads to a destination. The issue is that the multi-channel approach lacks the integration of data between the different channels, and that can lead to customer frustration. As a consequence, the omni channel communications model evolved to move communications to the next level.
Instead of a focus on the quantity of channels, omni channel communications works to address the silos created by the older model. The goal of this approach is to integrate the data across all of the existing channels.