What does it mean when a company's customer service and support functions are multi channel?
Businesses can provide customer service through several different channels. For example, customers can call, chat, email, post a comment on social media, use FAQs on a website, and more when they need help with an issue. If a company's customer service and support functions are multi channel, that simply means they offer more than one channel of support.
Multi channel customer service and support functions are a step in the right direction towards meeting consumer demands. People want options for how they interact with businesses, and multi channel support provides these options. However, the term "multi channel" has a very specific meaning in the world of customer service, and it means that the multiple channels aren't integrated with each other.
When channels aren't integrated, customers can't move across them seamlessly. For example, if a customer calls about an issue on Monday and then sends a follow-up email about the issue on Wednesday, the email agent very likely won't know about Monday's phone call or have access to its transcript. This is a major drawback when customer service and support functions are multi channel, because 93% of consumers expect a seamless omnichannel experience.
What is omnichannel customer service? It takes all an organization's support channels and integrates them so that a customer's history, including previous support contacts, is accessible and can be used for future interactions regardless of what channel a customer uses. Essentially, omnichannel takes a situation in which customer service and support functions are multi channel, and elevates it a couple of levels to meet customer expectations of seamless experience.
Transitioning from multi channel to omnichannel customer service is a significant undertaking. There are technology, process, staffing, and cultural implications. Just about every aspect of a contact center will be touched in some way, from workforce management tools to agent training to management techniques and priorities. The increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty, and the associated revenue, justify the effort and expense.