Omnichannel Messaging in 2024: What is it? Benefits, & Deploying Guide
Omnichannel communication software providers claim that marketers that use three or more channels earned 494%1 higher order rate than those using a single channel. That underlies the importance of using all the messaging channels at your disposal for connecting to your target audience and providing a seamless customer experience.
Omnichannel messaging transcends the traditional multichannel communication, which focuses on maximizing presence across platforms, but lacks interconnectivity. Omnichannel messaging, on the other hand, leverages technology and data to track and understand customer interactions across all platforms. This creates a conversation flow across different channels.
This article explores:
- What omnichannel messaging is
- How omnichannel messaging differs from multichannel messaging
- What the benefits of omnichannel messaging are
- How companies can create an omnichannel messaging platform
- What the use cases of omnichannel messaging are
What is omnichannel messaging?
Omnichannel messaging is the communication dimension of omnichannel marketing. It is specifically focused on creating a continuous and integrated communication flow across multiple channels, including:
- Social media
- Messaging apps
Implementing an omnichannel messaging strategy requires a chatbot that can be integrated into the identified customer touchpoints, and connected to a CRM system for a continuous and harmonized data exchange for engaging in context-rich and personalized interactions with customers.
What’s the difference between omnichannel messaging vs multichannel messaging?
Both omnichannel and multichannel messaging allow company-customer interaction on multiple channels. But whereas on multichannel messaging the conversation is isolated and unintegrated, on omnichannel messaging there’s a continuous flow across all channels.
For example, on multichannel messaging a customer would begin a conversation on live chat, but if they later switch to email, they might have to start their interaction from scratch. But on omnichannel messaging, they can switch channels and continue their conversation, by stating their identity or email address, from where they left off without losing conversation history or context.
What are the benefits of omnichannel messaging?
The following are the benefits of omnichannel messaging for companies:
1. Increased efficiency
An omnichannel strategy increases communication efficiency by eliminating the need for customers to repeat what they’ve said whilst changing channels, and allowing the company to automatically answer queries.
1.1. Reduced repetition
Deploying an omnichannel messaging platform eliminates the need for customers to repeat information, if they change their messaging channel. This is achieved by businesses storing customer data from all touchpoints in a CRM and then feeding it into the chatbot.
For example, a customer might start asking questions about a product on the company’s website and continue the conversation on Facebook Messenger after some hours. At this point, the customer mentioning their name, or inputting their email address, should be enough for the chatbot to continue the conversation from where it was left off.
1.2. Automation opportunities
Omnichannel messaging opens the door to automation. For instance, while chatbots are answering questions or creating personalized messages, customer service reps are freed to focus on more complex tasks, like handling escalated complaints or assisting customers with complex transactions.
2. Customer retention
Companies with a “strong” commitment to omnichannel customer service maintain, on average, 89%2 of their customers, compared to 33% with a “weak” commitment.
By using omnichannel strategies, businesses can ensure that their messaging conversations with customers stay the same and flow smoothly across all platforms. Customers will be more loyal and stay with the company longer if they know they’ll get the same level of service, regardless of the channel they use.
3. Increased sales
Whilst previous benefits could indirectly lead to sales (i.e. an enhanced customer experience that over time drives loyalty, repeat business, and referrals), the following benefits are explicitly and directly tied to higher sales:
3.1. Selling from anywhere
Omnichannel messaging allows businesses to be where their customers are, providing various platforms for interaction. This translates to the company selling across all messaging channels and devices. So, if a customer needs help purchasing something, it won’t matter where and on what device they are on. They can expect to receive the same consistent and timely service.
3.2. Abandoned cart recovery
Because data is captured from different channels, if a customer abandons their cart on the website, they could receive an SMS, push notification, or email to remind them to check out.
3.3. Timely customer engagement
- With customers’ consent, their geolocation can be used to send them a notification or promotional offer whenever they are near a physical store
- Consumer behavior and preferences can be tracked across all channels to estimate when they are the most active/receptive. One metric, for example, is app engagement. This can help businesses schedule their interactions with them accordingly.
- App and website purchasing and behavioral data can predict customer needs. The chatbot can then send an ideal reminder/offer.
How to create an omnichannel messaging strategy?
The best practices for creating an omnichannel messaging strategy include:
1. Understand your customers’ journey & their preferred channels
Map out the different touch points of your customers’ journey across all channels. This could include visiting your website, engaging on social media, calling customer support, or visiting a physical store. Understand how they transition between these channels.
Next, identify the channels they use the most. Those are where the chatbot will be deployed.
2. Choose the right chatbot provider
Selecting the right chatbot that supports integration with as many channels as possible is the most crucial step in the omnichannel strategy. That’s because the whole premise of the approach lies in the ability of your conversational AI tool to support multiple messaging channels.
3. Build your chatbot
Design your bot’s conversational flow, like the questions it will ask and the answers it can give. Your chatbot’s sophistication can range from rule-based to leveraging generative AI capabilities based on your needs and your chatbot’s provider capabilities.
4. Develop a consistent brand voice
The chatbot should use a consistent tone, style, language, and visuals across all channels. This consistency helps in creating a seamless and familiar experience for the customers, regardless of their used channel.
5. Integrate it with all the messaging channels
Most no-code chatbots have have pre-built API connectivity with the most popular messaging platforms. So you can add that functionality to your chatbot with a few clicks. And if an API isn’t pre-built, you could build it by entering the API’s URL, configuring it, and testing it. There would likely be detailed documentation on this.
6. Connect with your CRM or database
A CRM, or a central database, is crucial to building an effective omnichannel platform. That’s because they:
- Eliminate information silos, unifying all customer data
- Track customer preferences, enabling the chatbot to use the data for personalized messaging, marketing campaigns, product recommendations, or custom content
- Allow seamless communication continuity between channels
7. Test and optimize
Test your chatbot on all the channels to ensure it works as expected. Collect data on its performance, customer interactions, and feedback. Use this information to continuously optimize the chatbot’s responses and overall performance.
8. Launch and monitor
Once testing is complete, you can launch your chatbot, all the while monitoring and updating it based on customer feedback and changing needs.
What are some of the use cases of omnichannel messaging?
In retail, omnichannel strategies can provide customers with a unified shopping experience, whether they are shopping online from a mobile device, a laptop, or in a physical store. Retailers can use different channels, like SMS, email, mobile apps, and social media, to send personalized offers, product recommendations, and shopping cart reminders.
In healthcare, a multichannel messaging platform can streamline the patient journey by integrating appointment scheduling, reminders, health advice, and telemedicine services across multiple communication channels.
In banking, an omnichannel approach allows customers to seamlessly transition between online banking, mobile apps, and physical branches. Customers can receive account updates through SMS, start a loan application process online, and complete it at a branch.
A successful case study in Bank of America’s Erica chatbot that allows customers to schedule appointments, answers their questions, executes demands, and provides financial tips on Bank of America’s website and mobile app.
4. Customer support
Customer care departments can use omnichannel messaging to provide real-time support to customers across multiple platforms. Customers can initiate a chat with customer service on a website, then transition to a phone call, or even social media without losing context or having to repeat their issue.
For more on chatbots and marketing
To learn more about how chatbots are used in marketing, read:
- Chatbot Marketing: Boost Customer Interaction & Sales
- Conversational Commerce: Benefits & Best Practices
- Chatbot Lead Generation: Top 8 Benefits
If you want to invest in a chatbot solution, visit our data-driven list of chatbot providers.
And if you have any questions, reach out to us:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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