Multichannel refers to strategy through multiple channels to engage or to impact clients. Companies with this vision are using different media to communicate new products (e.g. website, email, social media…) or different devices to sell their products (e.g. smartphones, tablets and laptops). But this strategy is not necessarily focused on delivering a consistent message in all channels. They want only to offer several possibilities for the client. Multichannel mainly arises from the Communications department.
Nevertheless, Omnichannel consists in offering a complementary experience for the customer from every company channel. This strategy is based on two concepts: consistency policy and focus on client interactions. An advertising campaign can be multichannel, but never Omnichannel. Conversely, a Customer Care department based on offering service through all channels and several languages listening to the client’s needs with the same message is Omnichannel. It’s more complex, so it arises from the Board of Direction.
So, in an Omnichannel strategy it’s not possible to have, for example, different refund policies for their channels, because clients could buy by web and refund at store, it’s not logical, Omnichannel is a matter of common sense. Common sense to offer the same customer experience wherever and whenever clients are. So, here we have another term.
What is Customer Experience? It’s created to improve the interaction with the client in order to give him a great experience during his relationship with our brand. This interaction includes customer's attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy and purchase, use of a service and post-service. And it’s global, no matter where the client is or when he is interacting with us. It’s an attitude inside the company, from CEO to Sales Assistant.
In conclusion, in all these terms the common point is the client and offering more consistent interactions improving client’s engagement. The client is global, today he lives in New York and tomorrow in Singapore. And interactions between eCommerce and Stores are imaginable: to search by Internet and to buy at store, to look at store and to buy by web, to buy at store and to ask for something by chat on line… The goal is client’s satisfaction.
So, it doesn’t work anymore:
- A CRM for eCommerce and another one for Stores.
- A different Loyalty Program for each country. I live between Madrid and Paris, and I have 2 loyalty cards from each country for a retail beauty company. That’s not possible.
- Different policies: of contact, refund… It’s true that legal aspects can personalize our strategy depending on the country or state.
- Customize by country. We should personalize by person, not by country. Why do we decide that a client who lives in London wants the communications in English? Maybe, he is from another country and he wants an email in his native language.
So, ask and listen to your clients, be consistent and offer a great experience. I strongly think it’s the key to success.