There are a lot of terms that get thrown around when it comes to marketing and customer communications. Data-centric. 360 degree campaigns. Omni-channel. It’s that last one that seems to be coming up more and more, which raises the obvious question—what is omni-channel and how is toll-free the foundation of a great omni-channel strategy?
So what is “omni-channel”?
Omni-channel is best thought of when compared alongside single and multi-channel.
With single-channel, customers have a single touchpoint to interact with; say a brick & mortar store or a phone number. Multi-channel presents multiple touchpoints for a customer to choose from (brick & mortar, phone, email, social media, etc), but each one is a unique experience for the customer.
Omni-channel, on the other hand, gives customers a unified experience across all channels, allowing them to seamlessly move between channels without losing the overall experience of interacting with the brand.
What are the benefits of omni-channel for my customers?
So why should you move to an omni-channel strategy? What benefit does it have for your customers and you?
A better, unified customer experience
Customer experience is everything these days, and an omni-channel strategy allows your customers to have the same experience no matter what channel they’re using to connect with you.
By enabling customers to seamlessly move between channels and continue conversations and have the same experience, you eliminate confusion on both their end and yours, creating a trail that allows for accountability.
It’s not always convenient to jump on a phone call, type out an email, or fill out a form on a website. Allowing customers to contact you the way that’s most convenient for them increases the chances of them reaching out and gives you the opportunity to engage with them.
Solve problems faster
By maximizing convenience, and allowing customers to reach out to you how they prefer, you can solve their problems faster, giving them a better experience, and keep them coming back to you in the future.
So where does the toll-free come in?
There are a lot of touchpoints for customers these days; contact centers can utilize call centers, email, and online chat; retail marketing can rely on push notifications, SMS deals of the day, and email marketing; Sales may use a combo of email, phone calls, and texting to nurture leads and contact customers. For all of these, toll-free can be the foundation of their omni-channel strategy.
Every one of these industries (and plenty of others) rely on 1-800 numbers every day. They rely on toll-free voice to receive calls from their customers. They rely on toll-free SMS to send high-volume messages to customers.
Your toll-free number is the foundation of your omni-channel strategy. Don’t believe me?
You love bananas. Your customers love bananas. They want to order bananas (because who has time to go to the store?). So how can a simple toll-free number create an omni-channel experience for our fictitious banana stand?
Getting the facts straight
Surprised that toll-free is the basis for your omni-channel strategy? It’s probably because of some misinformation that’s gotten out there about toll-free and what it can do. Let’s clear up some of the facts from fiction.
Toll-free voice is dead
FALSE! Toll-free voice is alive and well. Every day millions of toll-free calls are made every day, and are the expected channel for enterprise support and sales calls. Some brands like 1-800-CONTACTS and 1-800-FLOWERS even include them in their company names.
You can only use short codes for high volumes messages
FALSE! Toll-free numbers can be text enabled and support high volume messaging. Companies like BoomTown, Square, and Kipsu are using toll-free messaging to communicate with customers on a number that their customers can recognize and call back.
Every toll-free provider is the same
FALSE! Toll-free numbers may have been around for a while, but that doesn’t mean every provider is the same. At Bandwidth we own our own multi-threaded toll-free network, which makes it reliable and redundant, eliminating downtime while giving you the throughput you need for both voice and messaging.
Ready to get started?
Ready to learn more about toll-free and how it can power your omni-channel strategy? Give us a call, or check out our webinar on this very topic.