Omnichannel Customer Service vs Multi-Channel Support

Did you know that over 63% of customer service leaders globally have seen an increase in customer expectations? While 64% of consumers say that they expect companies to respond to them in real-time, approximately 72% of customers expect representatives to know their issue and order history.

That’s why you need to enable seamless omnichannel customer service or multi-channel support, making it easy for your customers to reach you whenever and wherever they need you.

So how do you know whether omnichannel or multi-channel support is the right choice for your business? Let’s start by learning more about multi-channel support.

Multi-channel Support explained

When it comes to multi-channel support, customer support is available across more than two different channels. A company offering multi-channel support activates multiple customer interaction touchpoints for a seamless experience. This approach would enable businesses to engage with customers via their preferred channel of communication.

For example, there are many support options offered by brands like Samsung. They offer assistance for query resolution via different channels like contact centers, messaging (online and offline), social media, and community support. Multi-channel support differs from omnichannel support because the context and customer history aren’t shared across channels for the former. Every channel accounts for a separate stream of conversation. 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.

If multi-channel is an effective approach, why should you consider omnichannel customer service? Let’s give you an overview of how the omnichannel approach works.

What is omnichannel customer service?

An omnichannel approach acts as an umbrella center to hold customer data across all channels so your support agents can quickly access the required customer data and metrics when they need it, across channels or touchpoints, in a single dashboard view. That way, the customer experience is entirely consistent regardless of the channel or touchpoint used to get in contact with a company. This enables agents to share context and notes about the customer’s concerns and actions during previous interactions with the support team across channels. Then, customers don’t have to repeat their issues more than once.

Why is omnichannel support important for your customers?

With omnichannel support, customers are offered numerous ways to interact with companies. Not just one. An omnichannel approach connects the experiences across the channels by making the customer experience completely seamless. Failing to do so may result in higher churn, weak customer relationships, and eventually an exponential hit in business revenue. Hence, it is imperative for brands to make a conscious choice to be present across different channels, be it their availability over phone calls, social media, messaging/ SMS, chatbots, or self-service.

Benefits of omnichannel customer service

In addition to making life easier for your support team and customers, an omnichannel approach adds value to your overall business strategy by maintaining all the tools and metrics under one umbrella, creating a better-adopted product/service. 

a. Lower Resolution Time

Customers want an effective service, regardless of their preferred channel of communication. Fortunately, an omnichannel approach unifies the various touchpoints for support into one platform, making it easier to shift customers and enable the flow of information from channel to channel. Saves time for your team and the customer.

**Note: If you opt for multi-channel support, customer support becomes viable via email, phone, and chat all for one service. However, the key struggle lies in transferring a customer from one channel to another, adding on to the resolution team. Not to forget, the context is lost and customers end up repeating themselves, lowering the NPS and CSAT scores as a result.

b. Higher NPS and CSAT

If you give customers what they want with omnichannel customer service, their happiness ratings and regard for your product will be boosted. Your customers are likely to endorse you if you make their journey as seamless as possible. So when you create omnichannel customer engagement across your support and marketing organizations, it will directly impact your NPS and CSAT scores.

c. Unified customer context

When your support team is on the battleground, trying to solve customer queries, context is all they need to help them understand customer needs better. For example, they can successfully solve the puzzle only when they have all the missing pieces in one place. This is exactly what omnichannel customer support promises to deliver.

To do their best work, a support person needs to enable the following:

  1. Tracking context of the raised query
  2. Easy flow of information across channels
  3. The transition of customers from one channel to another
  4. Integration of channels to start where you left off

d. Customer journey simplified

Journey mapping refers to the creation of the framework to analyze the path taken by a typical customer through your offered channels of communication. When you understand your average customer journey, you can cater to the needs of your customers better. You can also use Touchpoint Dashboard to store all of the different touch-points from each of your customers. Combine this with a proactive experience from customer service agents and your customers couldn’t be happier.

Example of omnichannel customer service – Lesley University

Lesley University increased its customer satisfaction score from 65% to an astonishing 100% by adopting Freshdesk Omnichannel. The Technology support services team uses Freshdesk’s intuitive abilities to automate workflow and offer omnichannel customer service. No matter which channels their customers choose to contact them via, Freshdesk’s omnichannel capabilities allowed the tickets to get populated on a single dashboard, making it easier for the team to respond to queries in no time. 

The team reported having additional benefits with Freshdesk as they were able to send emails to their customers via the raised ticket with additional resources in the form of embedded knowledge base articles or suggested solution URLs. The team also makes use of the mobile support from Freshdesk on the go. 

When on the field, the agents can pull up the information easily on their mobiles and recall any conversation or user information when needed. It doesn’t matter if nobody is around when a customer calls since each unattended call leads to a recording where the customer can leave a query. The query gets populated as a ticket on the same dashboard, which can then be easily picked up and resolved by the support team as soon as they resume work. 

With Freshdesk Omnichannel integration, all the information was available in one place irrespective of channel origin. That’s how Lesley University successfully boosted agent productivity and increased customer satisfaction.

Now that you realize the potential of multi-channel and omnichannel customer service, which one is right for you and your business?

Omnichannel vs Multi-channel

Choosing the right customer service software and approach can be tough. Most people may think that omnichannel is the obvious choice since all channels are interconnected. But multi-channel support might be better suited for businesses that 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 omnichannel experience. However establishing an omnichannel support strategy allows your team to scale, ensures consistent customer experiences, and sets you up for success from day one.

Did you know that a whopping 74% of customer service leaders observed a rise in support volumes across digital channels globally? According to CX Today, 9 out of 10 consumers want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods. Your customers want to be able to contact you when they want and how they want. 

If you don’t offer support across different channels., 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. No matter which communication channel your customers choose to interact via, an omnichannel customer service strategy ensures customer retention. Thanks to the consistent experience driven by your customer service agents, customer satisfaction is guaranteed.

Here’s a quick summary for you

By offering different support channels, you simplify the customer journey at various touchpoints. It doesn’t matter which channel your customer chooses to contact you for their queries, a message on social media is attended to with the same efficiency as a chatbot over a mobile app, the same being the case for agents at a call center. For the simplified customer interactions, self-service has also gained popularity, reducing the wait time for customers to find a solution and strengthening their customer service experience. You just need to ensure that you’re available for them on the support platform they prefer.

Both omnichannel customer service and multi-channel support offer support via different channels but they’re not the same thing. With omnichannel customer service, every different customer service channel is connected. Agents can share information about interactions with one another across channels, turning it into a seamless experience for both, the service provider and the user. Whereas multi-channel support doesn’t include connected channels, so there’s less insight into how customers have interacted with your support in the past. This might increase the wait time for the customers, impact churn due to repeated requests for customer info from your support agents.

After assessing your overall budget and needs, choose the best support option for your business. If you have a large budget, go ahead and switch over to omnichannel 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.

Freshdesk Omnichannel Customer Service

No matter which option you choose, Freshdesk has you covered. Freshdesk Omnichannel goes the extra mile to delight its customers with effortless omnichannel customer service by bringing all customer queries within one single support tool.

  • Your customers have changed and so should your customer service. You can choose from live chat to modern business messaging, from the web to mobile devices and contact centers. Your preferred mode of communication is our command. With a single dashboard, the support team gets a 360-degree view of your customers where guided resolutions help you improve call productivity. 
  • Thanks to workforce automation, Freshdesk offers powerful routing engines that slash down wait times, adding to your CSAT score, promoting customer loyalty. 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.

Team Huddle-Tickets

  • 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.
  • Watch your agent productivity shoot up with the most intuitive support across all channels. Your support team can now troubleshoot customer queries using a unified platform. The innovation of the Neo platform would accelerate your service productivity to observe visible gains in under 3 months.


Bonus: Check out this video by Freshdesk to understand omnichannel customer service strategy better.

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Q1. What do you mean by omnichannel?

Q2. Why is it important to have an Omnichannel approach to Customer Service?

Q3. What is the difference between omnichannel and multichannel customer support?

Q4. I am new to omnichannel customer support. How do I get started?

Q5. I am in retail. Is omnichannel the right strategy for me?

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