Why omni-channel is still important

I have been seeing a lot of fud going around on LinkedIn and other places downplaying the importance of omni-channel and touting things like AI is here and eliminates the need for an omni-channel focus. The problem is, if your goal is to “move beyond omni-channel and focus on customer centricity” you simply can not do it properly without omni-channel.

Let’s start by defining what omni-channel even is. Omni-chanel is having a consistent brand experience for a customer across all channels. The customer is “known” across all channels, and this means all channels are accessing the same data – either through micro-services (API’s) or through feeds (hopefully the latter). A platform like Watson Customer Engagement enables this diagram to come to life:

Omni-channel data

This means that each channel is accessing the most up to date data in a consistent way so the customer is “known’ to each channel. Whether they are on the web or mobile device shopping, calling into the call center, or speaking with a store associate – they are “known” by each of these channels so they can be intelligently marketed to and referenced (like order history, current orders, etc).

I highlight this exact story in the recently published “a Watson Customer Engagement Story: Omni-channel” video I published on my channel. It’s a quick 12 minute story but well work the time to watch.

a Watson Customer Engagement Story: Omni-channel

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