Omnichannel Communication: What Is It and How Does It Differ From Multichannel?
Omnichannel communication is when a company uses multiple communication channels simultaneously and consistently. This is probably the simplest definition you will find for this topic. But with such a general definition, omnichannel can often be confused with multichannel. That's why a more elaborate and specific definition is necessary.
Nowadays, communicating on multiple channels is the norm. As competition between businesses becomes ever more intense and spaces become more and more digital, companies must adapt their and their communication channels to customer preferences.
But how can you set up omnichannel communication? Which tools are best, and what challenges will need to be overcome?
Omnichannel communication: definition and process
Omnichannel requires companies to reinvent themselves in order to offer a seamless experience to their customers:
- Find the relevant communication channels,
- Collect key information,
- Delivering engaging messages
Definition: what is omnichannel communication?
In communication, omnichannel refers to a strategy used by companies to approach and interact with their customers through all their channels simultaneously. But in concrete terms, what does it mean?
The benefits of omnichannel communication
Omnichannel communication is only possible through collection of customer data. Once this data is stored in a central database, it can be leveraged and updated for optimized omnichannel communication. By cross-referencing this data, you'll gain insights into your customers through the identification of pain points, key feedback, emerging trends, opportunities for product or service improvement, and more.
Thanks to this data, companies can adapt communication to individual customers, offering them a personalized experience. Here are some of the benefits of omnichannel communication:
- A seamless customer journey pre- and post-purchase
- Anticipate market changes
- Save time for your customers and your teams
- Increase customer satisfaction
- More transparency
- Unified communications
- Better knowledge of your customers
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: what are the differences?
Because omnichannel communication and multichannel communication are quite similar, they're often confused. Although the two concepts are alike, but they have significant differences:
- The centralization of customer data
- The unification of communication channels
- In multichannel, communication channels remain autonomous entities, whereas omnichannel connects all customer contact points together
In short, multichannel does not allow for a 100% seamless experience for customers, or even for the teams contacting these customers.
How to implement omnichannel communication?
Creating a uniform experience across channels is no easy task. But despite what you might think, omnichannel is generally easier to implement in an SMB than in a large enterprise. They tend to have a greater proximity to the customer. Plus, data tends to be thoroughly siloed in large organizations. With data wrapped up in rigid processes, it can be difficult to coordinate inputs and draw valuable customer insights.
But let's go back to our initial question: How can you gather data between diverse channels to successfully implement omnichannel communication?
Here are the 5 steps to follow:
Know your customers
Understanding your customers will allow you to respond to their needs. There are several tools within your omnichannel contact center that allow you to do get to know your clients:
- The good old follow-up call–ideally, you'll make this during the trial period. With that timing, you'll be able to get specific feedback and personalize their offer.
- Web analytics tools to identify the themes and keywords typed by your site visitors. They will help you "talk like your prospects."
- Survey tools
- Monitoring social networks, especially LinkedIn for B2B.
Switch to a customer-centric approach
Top-down communication is not the way to go. You need to put the customer at the center of your strategy, instead of your product. You must therefore identify the modes, channels, and communication types preferred by your targets to attract, convince, and eventually convert them into customers.
Equip yourself with the right communication tools
You shouldn't be choosing the right communication channels to reach your customers–they should. Analyze the communication channels used by your customers to identify where you should focus. Once you've chosen the channels, you can define a budget, recruit, write, and organize your messages according to the information collected.
Standardize your communication
Standardization must span all departments and have a consistent tone. Therefore, your teams need to coordinate in how they communicate with external contacts. This standardization process goes far beyond simple customer communication and aims to break down the silo logic that still paralyzes many organizations, even in 2023.
To remedy this, set up exchanges between your marketing teams, your support teams, and your sales teams. That way, everyone has the opportunity to share the information collected in their respective fields, helping you maintain consistency.
Build customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is definitely a key point in customer relations. Establishing lasting relationships with your customers is the only way to successfully create omnichannel communication.
To create customer loyalty, respect customer preferences and maximize personalization according to their business or sector. Concretely, you can build customer loyalty by:
- Creating a community that will serve as a platform for exchange
- Organizing or participating in local or virtual events such as webinars.
What are the challenges of Omnichannel customer communication?
To successfully deploy omnichannel communication, the client must create their own customer journey by choosing communication channels to get to know the product, obtain information, opinions, or compare prices.
The challenges of omnichannel communication include the following:
Taking the customer or prospect's interaction history and their overall profile into account will allow you to consistently communicate with them. Inconsistent communication can generate frustration or doubts.
With omnichannel, data must be centralized. Therefore, it's crucial for a company to secure the data safely to protect itself against data leaks, for example.
Customer needs and expectations are changing rapidly, so companies need to invest resources in their communication channels and analytics dashboard. Those resources will allow companies to adjust messaging in a timely manner.
Which tools for omnichannel communication?
Omnichannel communication has great commercial potential. But to exploit it fully, companies must have the right tools for communication, data collection, storage, and analysis.
Tools to centralize communication channels
Through its omnichannel functionality, the Ringover contact center solution groups different interaction channels with your customers in a single interface (SMS, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, etc.).
The omnichannel option, in addition to the features designed for customer relations and business development, allows you to personalize your and your customer's experience according to your needs and constraints.
In Ringover, you'll find tools to automatically dial through call campaigns () and otherwise optimize your . Plus Ringover with your business tools to record your customer exchanges and personalize each interaction.
Tools to collect, store and process data
One of the main advantages of omnichannel is its ability to break down silos. The goal? To empower the pre-sales and post-sales forces to collaborate on gathering and sharing information, eventually increasing sales. Here are some essential tools if you want to succeed in this approach:
The analytics available allow you to collect and analyze your website's navigation data through tools such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. Better yet, this data enables you to obtain precise insights on your visitors' behavior, including your prospects.
But not just any CRM! We're not talking about simple tools that just list contacts and have a few functionalities to organize them. To implement an omnichannel strategy, you need a tool more intuitive and complete than Excel. In addition to providing a database overview, the best software for customer relationship management offers the following benefits:
- Automates sales processes
- Facilitates the implementation of new procedures between sales, service, and marketing teams.
- Segments the database more easily
- Automated reports to facilitate decision making
- Compatible with other business tools
Omnichannel communication is gradually becoming a standard. However, it represents a real challenge for companies wishing to adopt it, regardless of their size. While omnichannel can improve the customer experience and personalize each exchange, that's not it's only advantage.
In fact, an omnichannel approach also improves internal communication within companies by offering each department the possibility to share the information gathered on their respective fields.
Companies have a variety of tools at their disposal to successfully transition to omnichannel communication, like Ringover.