Multi-Channel vs Omnichannel Support: The New Standard in Customer Service

The way customers communicate with companies has changed a lot in the past few decades.

Convenience and consistency are now the cornerstones of customer service. Your customers want to be able to get in touch with you when they want, how they want.

If they need a solution or question answered ASAP, they can call in for live support or if the phone lines are busy, they can tweet at you instead. If they don’t feel like waiting for a response, they can live chat with one of your agents (or an AI-powered chatbot!).

With multi-channel customer support, the possibilities are endless – and the benefits are huge for both you and your customers.

Having multiple support channels available makes your customers happy because it’s more convenient for them. It also helps your company retain more customers because it allows them to easily voice concerns and find answers quickly, rather than getting frustrated and dropping their business or switching to a competitor.

But is having multiple customer service channels enough to deliver awesome customer experiences?

While adding more support channels means there are more opportunities for customer engagement, the challenge of managing multiple channels grows as you add more support lines. If the information isn’t synced across all channels, offering multi-channel support can also create friction and frustration.

For example, if Ashley explains her problem to a customer service rep on Monday, she doesn’t want to repeat the whole story to a new rep when she calls back on Tuesday. She wants and expects your business to pass information between agents at every point of contact, regardless of channel.

That’s why it’s so important to step up your customer service game from offering multi-channel support to providing omnichannel support that delivers a seamless, stress-free experience.

Multi-Channel Support vs Omnichannel Support: What’s the Difference?

Multi-channel vs Omnichannel Support

What is Multi-Channel Support?

Multi-channel support is when businesses offer more than one channel for customer communication. This usually includes things like email, phone, live chat, and social media.

Typically, the conversations that take place on these different channels are managed by different agents and kept in separate silos. The information from those conversations isn’t shared team members who handle other channels.

The upside to this model is that businesses can track which channels are being used most often and develop a clear picture of how to divide their resources among the different types of customer service. Plus, their customers have a variety of choices when they decide to reach out for support.

Multi-channel support can be a great solution for some businesses and it’s definitely a step up from the old-fashioned, single-channel model. However, multi-channel customer service is simply unable to provide the same quality experience delivered by a full-fledged omnichannel support solution.

What is Omnichannel Support – and Why Is It the Stronger Solution?

Now that most businesses have moved from a single-channel to a multi-channel support system, omnichannel support is the next evolution in customer service.

Omnichannel support is all about providing a consistent customer experience across all channels and touchpoints. It allows you to share context about the customer’s behaviors, concerns, and prior communications across all team members and channels.

Omnichannel support allows you to share context about the customer's behaviors, concerns, and prior communications across all team members and channels.

So, whether Ashley reaches out to you via email, phone, chat, or social media, she’s receiving a consistent level of support from agents who are familiar with her history. That means she’s able to carry on the same conversation rather than starting from scratch with every new interaction.

Why Your Customers and Service Agents Alike Will Love Omnichannel Support

Why Customer Service Agents Love Multichannel

An omnichannel support solution means happier agents and happier customers. Here are a few of the biggest benefits an omnichannel support system provides for your company, your team, and your customers.

  • Seamless access to contextual data: Implementing omnichannel support gives your service agents the ability to provide real-time, contextual customer service at any point on any channel. So, anyone on your team can jump on a service call or start a conversation feeling confident in their ability to provide high-quality support that meets or exceeds customer expectations.
  • Consistent customer experiences across all touchpoints: No matter who a customer speaks to or how which channel they prefer to use, they’ll receive the same level of high-quality support as well as consistent information from every service rep, every time.
  • Enhanced and unified brand reputation: Omnichannel support aligns with the customer’s perception that they’re having an ongoing conversation with your brand, rather than several different conversations with individual customer service agents.
  • Less repetition and faster resolutions: Your customers don’t want to explain their situation every single time they speak to someone on your team. They want your agents to be armed with the knowledge of their situation, so they can find relevant answers and solutions more quickly. It saves both parties time and unnecessary headaches – and your customers don’t have to sound like a broken record.

Omnichannel Support Combines Multi-Channel Support with Elevated Customer Experiences

One of the biggest challenges for your customer service agents is managing customer expectations as they swap between channels and demand consistent experiences and responses. Omnichannel support not only solves that problem for your team, but it elevates your customer service to the next level. In short, everyone wins – your customers, your team members, and your brand’s reputation.

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