Since multichannel and omnichannel contact centers both mean answering customer requests through various communication channels, it's natural to mistake them for the same thing. Although some people may use these concepts interchangeably, they’re actually quite different.
What Are Multichannel Contact Centers?
The word ‘multi' means ‘multiple’, so multichannel contact centers provide the means for agents to interact with customers through various mediums, such as phone, social media, web chat, and email. But, unlike omnichannel contact centers, these aren't connected in one software and are managed separately by using distinct platforms. This means that an agent answering a customer through web chat can’t see previous support interactions via phone or social media.
What Are Omnichannel Contact Centers?
On the other hand, the literal translation of ‘omni' is ‘all'. Though this doesn’t necessarily imply you’re managing all communication channels available, it means that omnichannel contact centers keep all your channels in one place. This offers a more seamless customer experience, as support agents can see a client's full history even if they contact through different mediums.
Multichannel vs Omnichannel Contact Centers
It's possible to transform a multichannel contact center into an omnichannel one by using a CRM platform that ties everything together. However, this is far from perfect as not only will agents need training for each software, but overall it’s a more expensive solution and one that’s more prone to human error as well. Meanwhile, omnichannel contact center software already comes with everything necessary to provide a more affordable, seamless, and straightforward customer support experience.
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