Author: Michael Brenner / Source: Marketing Insider Group For a while, multichannel was the thing, engaging with customers across a wide
For a while, multichannel was the thing, engaging with customers across a wide range of different channels and building a strong presence on each available platform.
Then, there was a shift. The days of multi-channel were ushered off into the wings as quickly as they had come. There was a new kid on the block. Her name was omni-channel, and you better get used to her; you’re going to be seeing a lot of her.
Like his big sister, omni-channel requires pluralized engagement with customers and clients. This new format also requires businesses to be everywhere, providing customers with what they need, when they need it and in the format and manner which suits them. However, there is a difference.
With multi-channel, marketers simply had to ensure that they were engaging customers in whichever key battlegrounds pertained to their particular field. This could include eCommerce, a physical presence on the high street, social media marketing, online live chat support and a telephone sales line among other things.
Omni-channel is all of this and more. It’s all of these levels of customer interaction delivered as a concerted effort, as cohesive elements of the same interactive whole.
If this sounds like it might be tricky to achieve, that’s because it is. Effective omni-channel engagement requires a vast amount of resources to get right. If we slip up, it doesn’t make us look good.
A customer may hear about a bargain item in your store through word of mouth, head online to check it out, then reserve the product for in-store collection. They may also download an app to enhance their experience of the product, and then contact your telephone helpline when the time comes for an upgrade. This translates to numerous points of contact across a range of platforms.
If a consumer feels they received poor service or low quality interaction at any point, the whole organization suffers. A comprehensive omni-channel experience is necessary, and if you can’t provide this experience, a competitor will.
This is where the omni-dilemma comes in: do I go it alone? Or do I enlist the help of automation software to lessen the load?
With so much at stake – and with such wide-ranging orchestration required to unify all your service and marketing efforts – going it alone is a big risk. Marketing automation software gives you a platform on which to build, and it gives you a fighting chance at taking on the omni-channel pioneers…