Understanding Omni-Channel

By: Dr. Devasia Kurian, CEO, *astTECS

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Advent of modern communication and networking platforms have added numerous channels, over and above the existing voice calls and sms, to reach the customer and vice versa. Simultaneous support for the new channels has become inevitable to organisations, who strive to provide the best customer service.

What is Omni-Channel?

The word translation could mean something like ‘in all channels’. We start from olden days, where Voice was main form of peer to peer communication. Today, we have multiple possibilities like

  • SMS
  • Email
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Chat

Parallely, these channels not only are the medium for inter-personal communication, but also for corporates to keep in touch with their customers.

Yes. That’s the key to the billion dollar question. How can an organisation connect to it’s customers through these channels optimally, and also maintain an overview of the interactions?

 Before, we ponder on the HOW, let us try to reason the WHY?

Brand Building: The customers are all over the channels looking for information, enjoyment, opportunities etc. How can the corporate take a place in the customers mind? Place snippets of information, brand building ads in multiple locations and impressions.

Lead Generation: The customers are all over the channels looking for information, enjoyment, opportunities etc. How can the corporate influence and attract him to sell his agenda? That’s  the marketing question. The Omni-Channel system tries to resolve the issue that once marketing has done his job, that is to attract the customer, how can we record and process it?

Customer Support: After sales support also plays an important role in customer retention, as well as repeat business. Providing an all inclusive experience during the product life time through all possible channels is the best way to do this.

Holistic View: Customer always thinks about the brand as one. He does not differentiate between sales, accounts, support etc. Therefore, it is important for customer representatives to have an overview of all channels of communication from the organisation to the customer.

Now, that we have understood the benefits of an integrated Omni-Channel Communication, let us try to see how this can be achieved, and what the benefits are. Organisations should develop a multi-channel platform in and around their customer master repository. This should include voice, email, sms, whatsapp etc. All communications from different organisation representatives to the same customer should be archived at one place and also provided with an overview.

omni

As we see in the diagram, the organisation has multiple channels to communicate to the customer. The details of all the communication are stored in the central repository and organised under the customer record.

What are the benefits?

Holistic View: The organisation maintains a holistic view of the customer. It can treat the customer optimally based on the customer interaction history.

Response Monitor: This helps the organisation create a centralised response monitor for all types of communication from the customer.

Personalised Treatment: The organisation can tailor it’s offering to the customer profile. This would give the customer also the feeling of being treated deservedly.

Customer Filter: Let us also agree, that we at times have customers, whom we do not wish to continue with. It also helps to block customers, who have been a nuisance in the past.

Considering the above benefits, future oriented organisation need to transform their existing applications to an Omni-Channel mode and serve the customers in a holistic manner.