Multichannel vs. Omnichannel Call Center Solutions
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The contact center industry has grown ten folds in the past three to five years. This has increased inventions and innovations in this industry. Furthermore, it has increased various phrases and terms related to the call center industry, which often confuses people. Due to the growing popularity of different communication channels, two widespread terms have been confusing people. In fact, these two terms are used interchangeably sometimes. These terms are omnichannel and multichannel.
Understanding the difference between an omnichannel contact center and a multichannel contact center is very crucial as it can help you select the right call center software for your business. Moreover, it can help you make a winning call center strategy for setting up infrastructure, team, and other elements for a successful business.
To give you a better understanding of omnichannel vs. multichannel call centers, we have covered all vital facts and information in this blog post. In this blog post, we have covered the following points:
- What is a call center solution?
- What is a multichannel contact center solution?
- What is an omnichannel contact center solution?
- Omnichannel vs. multichannel call center
- Which is a better contact center?
- Can we upgrade from the existing software to omnichannel or multichannel?
Whether you are already running a call center or planning to launch one in 2023 or the upcoming years, knowing these two popular types of contact centers is really important. At the moment, these solutions are just buzzwords and are considered a luxury for call centers. However, in many countries and industry verticals using either multichannel or omnichannel customer support solutions is mandatory due to its elevated demand.
According to the statistic shared by Salesforce, 76% of consumers have admitted that they prefer using multiple communication channels to interact and engage. As call centers and contact centers heavily rely on communicating and interacting with consumers, it is necessary for them or any other business heavily focusing on customer engagement or experience to use the latest omnichannel or multichannel customer care system.
As both omnichannel and multichannel are two completely different concepts and not at all used to make one word sound fancier than another, it is worth understanding the difference.
Let’s take an insider look at this fascinating topic.
1. What is a call center solution?
A call center or a customer care center is a business or a department in a business that interacts with clients to answer their different questions or concerns. Moreover, employees working in this business, more commonly referred to as agents, in many cases also reach out to customers with different objectives such as generating business, nurturing customer relationships, etc. When a customer connects with the call center agent, it is called inbound communication. On the other hand, when an agent connects with the customer, it is called outbound communication.
A call center solution is a web based software application that provides a set of features to handle these customer calls. To make the whole operation of handling inbound and outbound calls more efficient, companies offering this software add various customary and unique features in this software.
In general, this software will have only a single communication channel, which is voice calling. It means customers and agents can connect with each other via a phone call.
As new communication channels got invented and also adopted by end users, call centers are mandated to add more modes of communication to offer customer care. This need has given birth to innovative solutions, an omnichannel call center solution and a multichannel call center solution.
2. What is a multichannel contact center solution?
When you break down the word multichannel, it has two words: multi and channel. Multi means many or multiple and channel signifies communication channels. A multichannel contact center is one that supports multiple communication channels to let customers interact with agents and vice versa. This can be any combination of communication channels along with phone calls as voice calling is a default feature in the software for call centers and customer care centers.
A multichannel call center solution is one that lets call centers use multiple communication channels within the software to set up a multichannel customer care center. However, the communication channels will not be integrated into this software. That means there will be a disjoint in all communication channels. Thus, customers will not be allowed to switch from one communication channel to another. Moreover, if a customer has used multiple communication channels to connect to the call center, the agent will not see the whole communication chain of the customer. Thus, the agent needs to manually find the customer conversations or needs to disappoint the client by not supporting other modes of communication and history of interactions.
3. What is an omnichannel contact center solution?
When you break down the word omnichannel, it refers to omni means one and all and channel again signifies communication channels. Therefore, omnichannel refers to all communication channels, which includes the following modes of communication at the moment:
- Voice calling
- Video calling
- Social media (Twitter and Facebook)
- Screen sharing
- Web forms
These are the available communication channels in an omnichannel call center solution. The benefit of this type of software over a multichannel call center solution is not just access to all communication channels, but it is also having an integrated solution. This means an omnichannel contact center can have more unified communication tools in their access to support their omnichannel customer support center. This gives more flexibility to customers to switch from one mode of communication to another and even freely use multiple communication channels to connect with agents. On the other hand, agents can review all interactions of customers with features like customer profiling to provide more personalized support to customers.
4. Omnichannel vs. multichannel call center
As now you understand what omnichannel and multichannel contact center means, let’s understand the difference between both from different perspectives and aspects.
Money is one of the major driving factors in any business and the call center or customer care industry can never be an exemption here. Thus, let’s first evaluate the cost perspective to compare these two communication tools for call centers.
Before we get into details of the cost, let us first make you understand how these communication channels are incorporated into the contact center software whether it is an omnichannel or multichannel. The companies that offer this software integrate APIs of different communication channels within the software for call centers. Moreover, the companies also need to create modules or interfaces to let agents use the features of these communication channels with a graphical user interface. Moreover, companies may also add some added features such as auto send, scheduling, broadcasting, templates, and more. This is how multiple and independent communication channels get integrated into the software.
A multichannel call center solution is cheaper than its counterpart because it will need fewer communication channels into it. Thus, the API cost to be paid on a monthly basis would be way lesser than an omnichannel system. The module cost that needs to be paid to the software provider company will also be cheaper as a customer care center uses only a few communication channels.
On the other hand, an omnichannel customer support center needs to integrate all popular communication channels and needs to pay the fee to use the APIs of these communication channels. This increases the ongoing operational cost of the solution. In addition to that, the business will also need to pay for all modules while buying the software.
Thus, the omnichannel system is more expensive than its counterpart.
The second criterion to understand and evaluate is the quality of customer services and how it affects the customer experience and satisfaction. A majority of businesses use this solution to deliver exceptional customer experience. They are ready to make this investment in multichannel or omnichannel only because they want to improve the quality of service (QoS) and engage more clients to increase retention.
As mentioned in this blog post, a multichannel solution will support multiple communication channels, but it will be disjoined. That means there are several restrictions even if a multichannel customer care center supports more than one communication channel. Directly or indirectly, customers are forced to use only a single mode of communication to avoid conflict of interest and to make it easier to refer to the previous interaction. This can degrade customer experience even if there are multiple or all popular communication channels added to the software for call centers.
On the other hand, an omnichannel system will have an integrated platform that not only supports all communication channels, but also makes switchover possible for clients. This can give a seamless experience to the customers and make them feel delighted with your services. This type of integrated system also helps in increasing first contact resolution (FCR) with the least case handling time or escalation ratio. This helps in increasing customer satisfaction and improving overall customer experience.
Agent experience is an important asset of any customer care center or call center. Call centers invest quite a lot in recruitment, training, and retaining agents. Still, in the call center industry agent attrition rate is quite high. This requires call centers to give equal emphasis on agent experience. In fact, they spend on the best cloud call center software or similar technologies to make the life of agents easier. The multichannel and omnichannel customer support centers contribute to this purpose as well. It helps in improving agent experience in one way or another.
Looking at the bright side, by adding multiple communication channels into a contact center solution, agents can actually explore more work opportunities and their own interests. For example, if an agent is more comfortable handling queries coming over Facebook compared to handling voice calls, he can be shifted to that department to improve his work life balance and agent productivity along with job satisfaction. The challenge in multichannel setup is that the channels are not connected and there is no synchronization among interactions carried out via different communication channels. This can make customers angry and make agents struggle in pacifying them. This can also put agents in the ordeal of finding interactions across different communication channels to refer to what the customer is referencing.
The omnichannel contact center has all the advantages associated with a multichannel setup. Moreover, this software has an integrated communication system. Thus, agents can see all interactions and engagements with customers across channels and via different agents within the system. This makes it easier for agents to refer to past references and give more personalized responses to clients. Agents can actually boost customer satisfaction, which helps in enhancing their morale and job satisfaction.
Analytics and decision making
One more important key personnel in the call center is management. They need to keep things and make business moving in a profit making direction. For this, management needs to make various vital and critical decisions. It is always great to make decisions based on performance, which can be evaluated through data and analytics.
Both omnichannel and multichannel contact center solutions keep logs of all conversations and interactions. Moreover, they provide reports to aid decision making of the management. However, the multichannel system will have fewer connected reports compared to the omnichannel one. The reason is the omnichannel software is tightly coupled and gives more streamlined data. Thus, a call center that uses an omnichannel setup has better and more insightful reports, unlike a multichannel one. The multichannel one usually offers disconnected reports and more like logs of interactions for all communication channels other than voice. For voice calls, it can have better reporting features, which also reflect major KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
The omnichannel solution provides more insight into performance and that indeed helps management to assess data more resourcefully. They can also make the right decisions with these reports and logs.
The flexibility of the use of the software is another concern businesses may have while using this type of solution. In fact, many businesses refrain from adding communication channels to their contact center software because they are afraid of using a big system. Thus, it is necessary to evaluate this factor.
As software provider companies design easy to use and friendly interfaces to use both omnichannel and multichannel software solutions, agents don’t find it difficult to use the software. Even for management, using these systems is quite flexible.
An omnichannel system is bigger than a multichannel system as it has more communication channels, plus, integration across channels. It can also have more reports, data, and more. Thus, the flexibility of using the omnichannel system is a bit lower than the multichannel system. The reason is agents and management may need to invest somewhat extra time in understanding multiple channels, reports generated by this software, etc. However, as mentioned due to the friendly user interface, still, the system is quite flexible to use.
Any business investing in any software always looks for scalability. All call centers constantly grow as they focus on extending their reach, business, revenue generation, and more. Thus, call center solutions also need to support the extended growth of the business.
Both, omnichannel and multichannel contact center solutions are highly scalable in nature. However, there can be some restrictions from the communication channel provider for parallel channels or scalability. At the moment, none of the communication API providers have imposed any restrictions, but if a call center grows at the fastest rate, then it can be a challenge to call centers. This applies to both omnichannel and multichannel customer care centers.
This is another concern of businesses while using software that works online. As online systems are vulnerable to security attacks, call centers similar to other businesses get concerned about security attacks. Thus, evaluating this factor is as important as exploring other elements.
An omnichannel call center solution is considered more vulnerable compared to its counterpart from a security perspective because it has more integrations and algorithms. If your software provider company has not made the required security integrations to this software, then it is likely to cause security breaches because it will give an open hand by keeping multiple backdoors. Thus, it is considered by many users that a multichannel contact center is much more secure than an omnichannel one. However, the best companies not only develop the best software with unified communication channels, but they also design security measures to ensure your system is always protected whether it is multichannel or omnichannel.
5. Which is a better contact center?
We have evaluated various factors in this blog post about both types of solutions available in the market, but the question is still standing for many of you, which is the better one?
The better choice for your business can be defined depending on your business model and how you want to take it forward in the future. An omnichannel system is better for businesses with a huge customer base because they can afford the cost and also meet the expectation of different types of customers. On the other hand, a multichannel system is recommended for small scale businesses or startup companies that are still trying to put their foot in the industry. There are also some other criteria that have to be considered while looking for an ideal choice to set up or transform your own contact center.
6. Can we upgrade from the existing software to omnichannel or multichannel?
If you already have the contact center software, then it is possible to integrate a communication channel into that software. Whether you need a multichannel or omnichannel system, you can integrate those communication channels into your system with ease by taking the help of the company offering various services and unified communication solutions. However, feasibility and other aspects need to be inspected by the software provider before making the final commitment. In many cases, buying a new system or upgrading to a better one is more convenient than adding communication channels to the existing ones.
Nowadays, setting up an omnichannel or a multichannel contact center has become a necessary investment for businesses. Both multichannel and omnichannel contact center terms are often used interchangeably, but both represent two different setups and software platforms. To make it easier for you to understand what really lies in the discussion of omnichannel vs. multichannel call center, we have covered all important information in this blog post.
If you are in this industry and still using a traditional system, then you must invest in technology to take a leap and move your business to the next level. Depending on your business needs, company vision, customer demands, future requirements, growth model, and other factors, you can choose to use an omnichannel or a multichannel call center solution. Of course, an omnichannel system is much better in multiple aspects compared to a multichannel one, but your business might need the multichannel as of now. You would always have the option to upgrade to the best version of the software.
If you are still unsure about these two solutions and wondering which one to choose for your business, then our team of experts can definitely help you. We have a team of business and technology experts that have been benefiting businesses in diversified industry verticals for many years with our excellent call center solutions and unified communication platforms. Our team can help you choose the best software for your business by understanding your business and other criteria.
We also offer multichannel and omnichannel solutions to call centers and businesses. Our DialShree: Omnichannel Contact Center Solution is renowned as an award winning software in the global market. Our team would be happy to provide more information and a free walkthrough of this powerful software to help you make a better decision. If you are interested in exploring more about different types of call center solutions that can benefit your business or DialShree, do not wait any further. Get in Touch With Us for a Free Demo!