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What does “Omnichannel” mean?

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I often get asked what is your definition of omnichannel? Well, here is how I usually respond; Omnichannel (also spelled omni-channel) is a cross-channel approach to sales and service that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless interaction experience whether the customer is online from a desktop, on a mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store. Omni-channel takes all the channels our customers desire to interact (voice, web, video, sms, social…) and provides those, in an integrated technology & process platform. Sometimes people get multi-channel and omni-channel confused. Multi-channel just means you have various channels for your customers to shop or get service, however in a multi-channel environment they are silos with little to know integration and thus the customer has varying experiences across these channel types and reporting is fractured. When we deploy an omni-channel strategy we are integrating these channels and augmenting customer data, for example an online customer has an issue at check out and can chat or collaborate real time with a contact center agent. Or, a customer calls and we see they were just on our website or recently at a storefront. We then know this customer and have a premonition of their purpose for contact and route accordingly. In an Omni-channel strategy we institute a common experience across these channels, and even more importantly feed information to provide cross channel analytics and intelligence about our customers. Customers are 67% more likely to do business with a company that has an omni-channel strategy in place, and 77% of customers would prefer to resolve their own issues leveraging other channels than voice and storefront.

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