Your customers want to contact you when they want and how they want. If they can’t, they probably won’t be pleased. 64% of consumers say that they expect for companies to respond to them in real time. That’s why you have to make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with you.
The best way to make support more convenient for customers is to offer support on several different channels. If you don’t, you could lose precious buyers, which means you’ll lose sales and revenue. In fact, 52% of customers who have bad customer service experiences with a company stop buying from them. Choosing not to offer support across several channels might as well be considered a customer support sin these days.
But what are the differences between omni-channel support and multi-channel support? And which one is right for your business?
Let’s go over omni-channel support first.
What is Omni-channel Support?
With omni-channel support, customers are offered numerous ways to interact with companies. Not just one. But omni-channel connects the experiences across the channels by making the customer experience completely seamless.
Social media, live chat, email, ticketing, phone, you name it. They’re all connected in an omni-channel setting. That way, the customer experience is entirely consistent regardless of the channel or touchpoint used to get in contact with a company. Agents can share context and notes about the customer’s concerns and actions during previous interactions with all agents and channels. Then, customers don’t have to repeat their issues more than once.
One of the best examples of an effective omni-channel experience is Disney’s Disney World app. There are many different customer touchpoints on the app that are all interconnected, so the experience never ends. Once a user buys a ticket, they can download the app, scan their Fastpasses, check ride times, and look at content on the app – all before they ever get to the park.
Then, once they arrive, customers can locate Disney characters by using the interactive live map.From ticket purchase to exploring every part of the park, the app immerses every visitor.
The same goes for U.K. fashion retailer Oasis. They combine their mobile site, physical stores, and e-commerce site for a simple, quick, convenient shopping experience. Sales associates hold iPads that allow them to access accurate, live product information from across every channel. They even serve as cash registers. Talk about customer service! If an item is out of stock in the store, staff can instantly place an online order to have the item shipped to your home.
Multi-channel support works in the same way as it sounds: it includes multiple channels of support. But it’s different from omni-channel support.
Multi-channel Support Explained
When it comes to multi-channel support, customer support is given across more than two different channels. Put simply, a company offering multichannel support offers customers many different ways to interact with them. That way, businesses can meet customers on the channel that they prefer using.
An example of this is the many support options offered by brands like Samsung. They offer phone, chat, social email, and community support. Not just one channel.But multi-channel support is different than omni-channel support in the essence that context and customer history aren’t shared across channels. Every channel is separate.
Usually, the conversations on these different channels are taken on by entirely different agents, too. That doesn’t mean that multi-channel support isn’t effective, though. Think Crucial, an e-commerce store grew into an eight-figure brand by using multiple sales channels.
So how do you know whether omni-channel or multi-channel support is the right choice for your business?
Which One is Right for Your Business?
Choosing the right customer service software and approach can be tough. Most people may think that omni-channel is the obvious choice since all channels are interconnected. But multi-channel support might be better suited for businesses who are just starting out. You can always start out with a multi-channel approach and then later tie all of your channels together into an omni-channel experience. But if your company has the resources and the budget, go for the omni-channel.
No matter the option you choose, Freshdesk has you covered. In Freshdesk, all customer’s queries come into one single support tool.
- You can view email, phone, chat, social, website portals, and e-commerce support channels all from one dashboard.
- Every conversation is available in one place so that customer service reps don’t miss a thing. They can also collaborate with one another via the “Team Huddle” chat feature.
- You can easily integrate tons of customer service tools with Freshdesk for easy access, like live chat from your website or apps such as SnapEngage or HelpOnClick.
- Keep sales and support integrated by adding CRM software or add social media management tools like Hootsuite to your Freshdesk account.
Find a list of all integrations here.
By offering different support channels, you make it simple for your customers to get what they need when they need it. You’re available for them on the support platform they prefer. Both omni-channel and multi-channel support involve offering support on different channels. But they’re not the same thing.
With omni-channel support, every different customer service channel is connected. Agents can share information about interactions with one another across channels.
Multi-channel support doesn’t include connected channels, so there’s less insight into how customers have interacted with your support in the past.
To choose the best support option for you and your business, take a look at your overall budget and needs. If you have a large budget, go ahead and switch over to omni-channel support for a connected customer experience. Just getting started or don’t have the capacity to connect every channel right away? Opt for multi-channel support.
No matter the support method you choose, make sure you offer as many support options as you can across as many different channels as possible. Looking to provide great customer support?