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Why Omni-channel communications are the way to go

October 01

Why Omni-channel communications are the way to go
Keeping up with customer expectations is what marketing is all about: Meeting them where they are. One of the more important trends in customer communications is the omni-channel communications model. Today’s blog defines the omni-communication model and discusses why it is absolutely necessary for meeting the demands of customers in the digital world.
To provide some background, when we talk about channel communications, we are referring to the specific path of communication used to interact with a prospect or customer. For instance, voice ( a.k.a. telephone) is a traditional channel for communicating with a customer. Email is another. It is pretty much a given that businesses now offer more than one channel for communications. Most everyone now offers voice, email and text, just to name a few options. If you offer more than one channel, this is commonly referred to as a multi-communications model.
When we talk about omni-channel communications, we are adding a very specific dimension to our communications model. In the omni-channel model, we take a very significant step beyond offering several channels for communication; we offer integration among all of the channels we offer. Instead of a focus solely on the quantity of channels, the intent is to integrate so that the information and customer data accumulated on any one channel is immediately communicated to all the other channels. 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.
Why is this newer approach necessary? Our users now expect an immediate, 24/7 response.
They become impatient and frustrated if they find data provided on one channel hasn't been transferred to the alternate channels. At one time, just having more channels to provide convenience was enough. Today, to meet customer expectations you have to take the next big step and integrate all of those channels or you will leave your customers frustrated, increasing the risk of customer churn.