Multichannel communication – what does it mean?

One of the major changes that has led to the expansion of the Internet, recently assisted by the boom in mobile telephony, is the expansion of multichannel communications. This technology has been a revolution in communication with the customer and the mass call centers, achieving a fundamental change in their structures. So the call center software, the modern CRM programs or the virtual switchboard with which many of these centers operate, have had to adapt to these demands.

Many companies were realizing that they could not rely solely on voice communications to interact with customers. They needed to do it, how and when the client chose.

The multichannel. Just a fad?

Although many might think so, from the moment that this «fashion» began in the early 2000s with the emergence of mass videos and chat, it has proven to be a very long-term trend and a revolution in the conception of marketing and customer relations.

The traditional call centers have had to evolve forced by this situation. Currently a CRM, the call center software or the virtual switchboard must be able to serve customers, not only by voice. The electronic mail, the SMS, chats, social networks or interaction with web pages have become part of an industry traditionally focused on telephone communications.

The movement towards the multichannel is not only an indicator that clients need to be cared for at an individualized level. They also expect quick action. Thirty years ago, companies had at least one day to respond and customers felt that their expectations were being met, however, today these same clients are barely willing to wait a few seconds for their questions to be answered and for any means by which they decide to interact.

Thus, for many marketing experts, the multichannel movement is a new phase in the world of Internet Marketing. In the first place, we started by creating websites in a customer’s conscience, secondly, by allowing «self-service» in stores and Internet sales. the third evolution, it was assumed by mobile devices and smartphones. In this fourth phase, which is still underway, customers are allowed to communicate in the way they prefer from their mobile device, or computer through web, social network, or run with companies. This requires a real-time interaction that must be met by the companies.

Thus, it is no longer necessary just a large call center equipped with a virtual switchboard or a CRM. All this call center software and the philosophy of it, must be capable of evolving towards the new demands of customers and companies.

Any industry that continues to think that it can relate to its customers in a conventional way, should think twice before downplaying the multichannel movement. The market evolves and who does not do it with it will be condemned to its extinction. It will not be because of lack of precedents.