Omnichannel is an overloaded term in the SaaS industry, and therefore a term used in every company’s marketing with a new meaning. This blog pulls apart and outlines some of the nuance of the term to clarify the general principles of omnichannel in a practical setting, and is educational for readers on what they should look for when qualifying solutions.
Omnichannel of the Past
“Omnichannel” is a term that’s been adopted by the software and SaaS industry, but has past usage in fields like retail where it defined the handoff between people who shopped online, and then transitioned in their shopping to brick and mortar; or vice versa.
The information inherent to the handoff as people transitioned from physical shopping to digital was key to identifying consumer behavior patterns, and so the advent of omnichannel retail marketing became a gold mine for customer data. It was because of omnichannel marketing’s inherent utility that it became an experience laden with value that other companies strove to achieve. The principle of easy handoff between channels of engagement is a key component that persisted into the SaaS space.
Omnichannel in SaaS
Many SaaS companies have built solutions that let people text their contact center and can also let them call into a support line, but the experiences are vastly different between each. That’s a part of the reason customers still call into contact centers and enterprises struggle to reduce the costs of overstrained support lines.
Simply offering multiple channels with differing experiences is not the same thing as building omnichannel solutions. While an omnichannel solution is multi-channel, a multi-channel offering is not necessary omnichannel. This is an important distinction that is sometimes confused and leaves SaaS customers disappointed with an omnichannel implementation. The experience between calls, text, and emails needs to be of comparable ease and value. One channel like email can’t be the only one where users can accomplish key tasks like changing address while text messages only check for status of claims and loan applications. To have a claims system where users can only check claims status by calling their support center or open a new claim by emailing their support agent is to have a claims system that is not truly omnichannel.
Besides the open-door policy of receiving any communication from any channel, omnichannel offerings are also those where vendors “maintain state” in communication with their customers as they transition between channels. The idea of maintaining state is not as complex as it sounds. It implies that when customers call into a contact center and then decide to engage with a brand digitally, the customer and support center should both be able to pick up where they left off. What does that look like in reality?
Consider a scenario where a customer calls into a contact center and authorizes themselves with the automated support line and then their boss tells them they need to meet right away. The customer should be able to hang up the support call and text their insurer or bank without losing the progress they’ve already made towards resolving their question, and still be able to tend to their pressing matters. When seeking a SaaS solution to provide customers with an omnichannel experience, testing this type of scenario will avoid the multi-channel versus omnichannel misunderstanding.
Ushur is Omnichannel
Ushur makes the deployment easy, but also the process for building flows. The Ushur drag-and-drop builder has pre-built modules to make eliciting customer feedback, conversing with customers, and resolving their queries by providing information in backend systems simple. Pre-trained machine learning models make interacting easy, while enterprise-grade integrations through Ushur’s integration portal make retrieving data a breeze.
For example, a health plan member may have been in the midst of looking for an in-network doctor while on their phone, when they had to step away. Later they could return to that conversation, from their laptop, and Ushur would return them to the same point in the conversation where they’d stopped earlier.
With a more specific definition of what goes into omnichannel solutions, instead of looking at a brand’s marketing and not knowing what to expect, we hope readers will feel empowered to dissect what each capability means. We also hope that everyone now has the language to ask for the functionality they deserve to support their plans for growth in customer experience and future-proof their own investments in communication