From Multi-channel to Omni-channel

In the last decades, many companies have created a strategy where one of the objectives was to have some type of presence in many channels, such as physical, call-centers, Internet and Social Networks. This strategy is called Multi-channel and today we see that most companies are using this strategy.

However Multi-channel has one big disadvantage, and it is that this cannels usually operate independently without common policies and other common elements. I’m sure you’ve seen companies that offer support through Social Networks, which are very different to the support offered via traditional channels, such as a call-center. In the call-center, it is usual that your requests are attended but frequently you don’t find the answer you’re asking for. However when you take the same request to Social Networks, the response is quite different and the company works hard to keep you happy.

The previous example is very frequent and it shows a Multi-channel mentality. Each channel is different and many times, different teams with different objectives operate them. Is not strange that the traditional client service team operates the call-center and a different team, such as the Internet o Ecommerce Team, manages other non-traditional support channels including the Social Networks. The second team usually has a different perspective of the business and that’s why their response is so different.

This difference can also been seen in other aspects of the business, such as the selling process. Although there are obvious differences between buying a product or physical product via the Internet or in a store, the experience should be similar. In the Internet you can leave aside the negative aspects, such as the long lines, but they should be quite similar. For example, the prices should be the same and this also applies to the offerings, discounts and much more.

Nowadays a company has to have one unique face and not to appear as being several companies, that doesn’t know how to operate across the different channels. In the case of the support, if a client sees better results through Social Networks they will pick them from now on, which is not a good idea. Policies and coordination must be present to show clients that no matter what channel he uses next, the experience will be the same.

This change, to become an Omni-channel company will require many changes and time to make them a reality. However if it’s done properly, the company will be in the correct path and clients will be the first ones to acknowledge this, by becoming faithful users.

Image taken from Flickr.com

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