Businesses today are met with new marketing concepts left, right and center. This is a process that is unlikely to end soon, seeing relationships between business and customer continue to evolve as technology advances and customer expectations rise. Sure, it’s not that hard to make the distinction between single and multichannel communications, but when the terms crosschannel communications and omnichannel communications are thrown into the mix, things get complicated and all these concepts, although distinctly different, might start to fade into each other.

Over the past few weeks, we talked specifically about multichannel communication. In today’s blog we turn our eyes to omnichannel communication and the aspects that set it apart from multichannel communication.

What is omnichannel communication?

Omnichannel communication is a multichannel approach to customer communications that is distinctive due to its focus on providing an integrated customer experience throughout each and every channel. Businesses with omnichannel strategies take into account all platforms and devices their individual customers will use to engage with them and translate these insights into an integrated experience by aligning their messaging, objectives, and design across all channels.

In other words, every communication has the same aspects in place that make up for the familiar and quality experience the customer recognizes and appreciates. No matter if it’s print, digital or physical. The purpose is to build a strong relationship with the customer and boost customer loyalty in the process.

However, most modern businesses put their efforts in multichannel communications. To engage with their customers for example, they have a blog, website, call center, a Twitter feed and they send out flyers, but many fail to ensure a seamless experience and consistent messaging across each of these channels.

Why is it important?

The omnichannel approach combines that what the customer needs with the same customer experience across all channels. This allows the customer to decide for himself via what channel he engages with the brand, while he can rest assured that the customer experience will live up to his expectations. A key ingredient in boosting customer loyalty.

This also means that the success of omnichannel communications hinges on said consistency across all channels. Check out this fancy car configurator. In terms of look and feel it’s an extension of the brand and the cars it builds. It gives the customer the quality customer experience that he would expect when engaging with this A-level car brand. Eventually it will be the push the customer needs to make his way to the closest dealer and close the deal.

Now when he visits the dealer to check out the car, chances are he will get a quote to take home and show his wife. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, this quote will look something like this.

It’s a fine example of how the customer experience can worsen as the customer shifts from one channel to another and the opposite of what to do if you want to build long term relationships with your customers.

Omnichannel vs. multichannel

The concepts of multichannel and omnichannel communications have a lot in common, yet they differ significantly. While multichannel communication simply implies using a maximum amount of channels to engage with your customers, omnichannel communication builds all channels around the customer to ensure a completely consistent, integrated experience at every touchpoint. In summary, omnichannel communications make use of multiple channels, but not all multichannel communications strategies have an integrated omnichannel effect on the customer experience.