Comparisons6 min read

Differences Between Omnichannel and Multichannel Contact Center?

omnichannel vs multichannel contact center

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In the competitive business world, contact centers are vital for managing communication across multiple channels like phone, email, chat, and social media. There are two main types: omnichannel and multichannel contact centers.

An omnichannel contact center integrates all communication channels into a cohesive system, providing a seamless customer experience. In contrast, a multichannel contact center manages each channel separately, without integration.

This blog explores each type's key differences, functionalities, and advantages, offering insights to help you choose the right contact center for your business.

What are Omnichannel Contact Centers

An omnichannel contact center is a cloud-based software that seamlessly integrates various communication channels, like email, phone calls, social media, messaging, etc, into a single unified platform, providing a quality customer experience across all channels. It also allows customers to choose their communication channel and seamlessly switch the communication platform during a single customer interaction.

OYO uses an omnichannel marketing platform to deliver a seamless experience across their app and website. It also used Push AmplificationTM to achieve a achieve a 44% boost in push notification delivery rates

Benefits of Omnichannel Contact Centers

Omnichannel contact centers offer several benefits to business communication, including a unified view of customer data, quick response, enhanced customer experience, and more. 

1. Unified View of Customer Data

Omnichannel systems integrate all customer interactions across various channels into a single platform. It provides proactive customer service and improves the efficiency of overall business communication.

2. Quicker Responses and Resolutions

Omnichannel contact centers streamline communication by consolidating interactions from different channels. Allows agents to quickly access all necessary information and respond to customer inquiries more efficiently, leading to faster issue resolution and increased customer satisfaction.

3. Enhanced Customer Experience

Omnichannel contact centers enable customers to select their preferred communication methods and seamlessly transition between them without reiterating previously shared information. This adaptability offers a more personalized and efficient service experience, making customers feel appreciated and well-served. Consequently, it fosters brand loyalty and enhances the overall quality of customer.

4. Business Insights

Omnichannel contact centers consolidate all customer data, from purchases and support interactions to social media reactions, in a single place. It enables businesses to understand customer preferences and needs deeply. Furthermore, these systems highlight areas for improvement, allowing companies to address weaknesses effectively. By converting customer interactions into actionable insights, omnichannel solutions enhance customer satisfaction and drive business growth.

Challenges In Implementing Omnichannel Solutions

Technical integration, data synchronization, staff training, and channel conflicts must be addressed during implementation to ensure a smooth transition. It involves more than simply replacing existing systems; it requires a strategic approach.

Here are some of the challenges for businesses that  may encounter while implementing omnichannel solutions:

1. Integration With Existing System

Unifying the various communication channels (phone, email, text messages, voicemail, etc) and data resources in a single platform requires robust technologies and expertise. Omnichannel contact centers must be able to connect the customer's online and offline data seamlessly. Sometimes, this can be difficult if the business needs a unified data management strategy.

2. More Expensive

Omnichannel contact centers offer more advanced features like scalability, real-time collaboration, unified customer view, and other customer support tools. With increasing features, omnichannel contact centers are comparatively more expensive than multichannel call centers.

3. Connecting Online and Offline Data

Integrating offline and online data is a significant challenge, requiring merging disparate data systems, a complex and resource-demanding process. It involves documenting and analyzing the customer journey across various touchpoints, including in-store visits, phone calls, emails, and social media. Maintaining data privacy and security adds another layer of complexity alongside managing these integrations.

4. Challenging Learning Process

Training staff to utilize new technologies and processes effectively in omnichannel contact centers can be challenging. Advanced features, dashboards, and communication channels make omnichannel contact centers complex, potentially causing delays in implementation and requiring substantial resources to overcome. 

What are Multichannel Contact Centers?

Multichannel contact centers enable businesses to communicate with customers via various communication channels. Each channel acts independently therefore, each customer interaction is recorded separately. Due to its independent working mechanisms, it often fails to provide seamless integration and a unified view of customer interactions across the organization.

The multichannel contact center is not a unified customer service platform, which means each customer interaction is handled as an individual task. The details of customer interactions and their journey are also in the fragmented view.

Each time a customer initiates a contact request, the software creates a new task and asks the user to start over from the initial phase. In the case of channel switching, the system generates a new task and may assign it to a different agent.

Despite these challenges, many call centers are adopting multichannel contact centers for business communication. According to a survey by Zendesk, 64% of customers prefer a combination of channels in a single interaction.

Benefits of Multichannel Contact Centers

1. Quick Setup

A quick setup in multichannel contact centers enables businesses to use multiple communication channels seamlessly, enabling rapid implementation and enhanced customer service capabilities as soon as possible.

2. Cost Effective

Multichannel contact centers lower costs by unifying communication channels, simplifying training, and improving agent productivity. Due to their scalability feature and excellent customer service, they contribute to higher satisfaction and retention rates, which helps reduce the expenses associated with new customers.

3. Easy Monitoring

Multi-channel contact centers use centralized tools that enable easy monitoring. Supervisors can track the overall performance of agent and customer interactions from a single dashboard. It enhances the organization's management and contributes to operational efficiency by quickly identifying trends and addressing issues.

4. Increased Customer Reach

A multichannel contact center enhances the customer experience by providing various communication options and services according to their preferences. Increasing accessibility builds stronger customer relationships and improves business performance by increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Challenges in Implementing Multichannel Solutions

1. Slower Customer Service

Multichannel solutions may result in a slower customer service experience due to the complexity of managing multiple communication channels in an organization. This can result in customer dissatisfaction if not managed effectively. 

2. Limited Insights 

Implementing multichannel solutions results in limited insight into customer information for service providers as the data is fragmented across multiple platforms. Limited insight makes it challenging to comprehensively view customer behavior, affecting decision-making, tracking performance metrics, and overall business flow.

3. Channel Conflict

Effective communication and collaboration are crucial for optimizing customer experiences across all channels. Implementing multichannel solutions can cause channel conflict by creating competition among different communication platforms, leading to consistency in information and service quality.

4. Scalability

Scalability in multichannel contact centers is crucial for handling growth and fluctuations in customer demand. Implementing a multichannel contact center may affect the scalability of the businesses. Enhancing scalability requires additional investment in technology and experts. Without a scalable system, businesses may face service degradation and negative experiences, which can cause complications in sustainable growth.

Key Differences Between Multichannel and Omnichannel Contact Centers

Omnichannel and multichannel contact centers are both similar systems with different working mechanisms. Also, they are suitable for different sizes of business. The two have major differences regarding integration, personalization, channels, technology, and cost.


Multichannel contact center

Omnichannel contact center

Integration  It operates channels independently.It integrates channels seamlessly.
ExperienceIt provides a fragmented customer experience.The omnichannel contact center provides a unified and consistent customer experience.
PersonalizationIt has less capacity for personalization.It provides advanced personalization across all channels.
ChannelsIt works under multiple separate channels.It works under multiple integrated unified channels.
TechnologyIt used basic technologies for each channel.It uses advanced and integrated technologies.
Cost   It usually costs less and also provides few services.It costs more and provides many services.

Omnichannel or Multichannel Contact Center: Which is Right For Your Business?

Choose between omnichannel and multichannel contact centers based on your business's size, budget, scalability, and customer service goals.

Small businesses or startups relying mainly on voice communications may find a multichannel approach more cost-effective. It suits companies with straightforward service demands and limited customer interaction channels.

On the other hand, omnichannel contact centers are ideal for larger businesses aiming for high customer engagement across multiple platforms. It requires more investment but offers superior integration and customer experience, catering to a diverse customer base and supporting complex sales strategies.

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The difference between omnichannel and multichannel contact centers lies in integration: omnichannel integrates channels for a seamless customer experience, while multichannel operates them independently. 

Although both contact centers are used for the same purpose, their specific features make them different. Each system has a unique working method tailored to the company's particular needs. Choosing the right approach depends on business goals and the desired customer engagement and satisfaction level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which contact channels should be included in multichannel and omnichannel contact centers?

Here are some of the contact channels that both multichannel and omnichannel contact centers must include:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Social media
  • Video calling

How can I protect my data and ensure privacy in multichannel and omnichannel contact centers?

To protect customer data and privacy, contact centers must strictly bond to regulatory standards and compliances like:

What are some of the important omnichannel and multichannel contact center KPIs?

Some of the important KPIs in both multichannel and omnichannel contact centers include:

  • Customer satisfaction scores
  • Average handle time
  • First Contact Resolution

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