What is the difference between cross-channel & multichannel communications?
Apr 16, 2019
In this digital decade new channels see the light of day all the time. Although this opens a world of possibilities for modern businesses in terms ofcustomer engagement, all that actually customers want is to be contacted via their channel of choice. That’s why, as a business, you should have as many communication channels in your arsenal as possible. But how do you juggle all these channels? Let’s start by pointing out the difference between cross-channel andmultichannel communications.
Multichannel customer communications are about reaching out to your audience via multiple channels such as mail, SMS, push notifications etc. This doesn't mean you should communicate through all of them at once. No, it’s important you understand your individual customers’ needs and preferences so you can reach out via that specific channel they prefer.
For example, some people might prefer print invoices so they can leave them on the table as a reminder or to file them more easily after making the deposit. Others prefer digital invoices so they can be directed to a digital payment method more fluently. Also, different channels lend themselves better to various situations. If you are travelling abroad you are notified immediately via SMS about the higher roaming rates in that country. Imagine you receive an email instead but, because you’re on holiday, you don’t check your inbox until you’re back home.
Harmonize your customer communications and channels
Furthermore, multichannel communications require you to adapt customer communications depending on the channel through which you will send them. Print communicationsare considered static and are more rigid thandigital communications in terms of interactivity or personalization. Copying a print communication one on one to a digital communication such as a newsletter, would mean the customer experience will not live up to customer expectations as you fail to use the possibilities that this channel provides.
Cross-channel communications take things one step further as they enable customers to go from one channel to another as the customer journey progresses. Usually this shift is made because the characteristics of that channel are more suited for the following actions required of the customer. As a result, the customer will experience less friction and the customer experience will improve.
A customer journey can start with a print communication to meet individual customer preferences, but by adding a QR code, you can enable the customer to continue his customer journey digitally if he feels like it.
But whether digital or analog, it’s crucial to ensure that the customer journey remains consistent with the same look and feel for all channels, all of which perfectly tuned to one another. This enables the customer to continue his customer journey without being hindered when making the shift from one channel to the other. Finally, make sure you work with a communication toolthat allows you to maintain a 360 overview of your customer communications, manage all channels and monitor where your customers reside in their customer journey and which channels are used to provide them with personalized communications.