The Omni-channel Paradigm

The Omni-channel Paradigm

Traditionally every establishment dealing with their customers, stakeholders or members chose the niche channel of communication with them. Selection of the channel(s) were based on certain factors. These include size of the establishment, geography and demography of the customer base, customer orientation, preferences of the customers and cost of communication. In the digital world, things have changed a lot. Whether they are for good or worse is entirely dependent on one’s ability to use and control them.

While initially communication was, mostly, unidirectional by way of advertisement and awareness campaigns, modern times are a lot more engaging and bidirectional. Modes of communication have diversified. They are no longer limited to radio or television broadcasting. They are also not kept to telephone reachability be it restricted to outbound for sales and surveys or more expensive inbound for lead creation and support.

In almost all walks of life and businesses; customer types like B2B, B2C, B2E and more, communication moved to mobile (devices) and diversified to become more bidirectional involving not just two multiparty engagements. Every communication requires a request and response mechanism as a basic component. Today’s customers also have convenience and so do preferences for channels of communication as all of them have become affordable. In few geographies or platforms, many of them are free to use as well. This brings higher liability on a business establishment to have made and felt their presence and connectivity on all the channels that customers would like to connect from. Why is it important for the businesses to keep all channels available? There are many reasons and factors to them. First, there could be no monopoly of the business in the industry they provide their products or services in. Second, brand loyalty is very thin due to ever so increasing options that come in the market more frequently than before. Third, technology makes availability and cost of the channels cheaper, which gives customers a wide selection ground (in other words, product offerings are not limited to local businesses any more). Putting all of them together highlights the second paradigm of omnichannel communication i.e. multi-platform communication.

Last of the omnichannel paradigms is multi-party communication. It isn’t about B2B/B2D conference calls or web-meetings or webinars. Beyond these controlled platforms, multi-party communication platforms also provide users/customers to group together and voice out their concerns, e.g. using social media platforms. Today, most of the companies have social media strategy worked out or at least keep an ear to them with their user-handles/pages/keywords. But a question arises: there are far too many platforms and there are millions of users on them speaking their mind, preferences, queries and concerns. Branches are living with uncertainty that which and when a small post will burst into millions of views and opinions, its people in favour or against them. These social media posts can be a direct message to the brands handle or page for some random update or comment. With an increasing number of posts every day, hour or minute, it is becoming more difficult and confusing. Therefore, brands not just have to register their presence on wearing platforms but they also have to employ tools and skills of social listening and web crawling. As said earlier, there are higher counts of posts / updates generated each day in complex format of text (in multiple languages), photo, audio and video that brands not just need monitoring tools, but sophisticated programs to decipher the critical ones from the commoners. There is an urgent need to employ NLP, AI, and ML to provide faster. An accurate response is to escalate within.

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