Difference between Omni-channel and Multi-channel Customer Service


The only thing in today’s fast-paced and digital savvy environment which changes more rapidly than technology is, the terminology used for emphasis and references to technicalities and aspects of technology.

Two such terms who occupy the heart of customer service industry are “Omni-Channel customer service” and “Multi-Channel customer service”. Mostly, these two terms are used interchangeably, but if you start to dwell deep, you will find that there is a pronounced difference in them. Customer service industry is expanding, with the addition of new ever growing technological advancements and attention-to-detail parameters and tactics. In such scenarios, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage and adjust as per the norms specified – a definition by the book. So, if your organisation is engaging in Multi-Channel Customer Service or if it is providing Omni-Channel Customer Service, your customers would set their expectations accordingly. So, it becomes imperative to understand the difference in these terms and use it wisely.

Omni-Channel Customer Service

The literal meaning of ‘omni’ translates to ‘all’. So, if we say Omni-channel customer service, it means we are referring to an engagement strategy which caters to your customers via all channels or mediums of support. It is without a doubt more streamlined, more transparent, more user-centric and makes it easy for your customers to raise and get their queries addressed. Another great aspect which it offers is in terms of its consistency. The user has the freedom to use all channels of evaluation and can also easily switch between them, without any major hindrance or drawbacks, like loss of information, need to repeat or reiterate. This is one enhancement which makes Omni-channel the go-to strategy and more and more companies are adopting this strategy. It also ensures that your customers develop a deeply personalised relationship with your company’s brand and image, as your brand is available for them to review and evaluate throughout all channels of communication. The customers then start viewing your brand as one social entity and interact with you on a personal level. This gives call center reps a great window of opportunity for gaining trust and building rapport with prospects.

Multi-Channel Customer Service

The literal translation of ‘Multi’ is ‘Many’. So, Multi-channel Customer Service directly translates to – many channel customer service. The prior one being ‘all’. This is the pronounced difference among the two of them. Companies who focus on delivering Multi-Channel customer service, usually offer support via social media, web or email support. This does not necessarily mean that the service received by the user at the end of the day would be seamlessly integrated or consistent, as in the case of Omni-Channel Customer Service. And, in today’s age when the user has a lot of options to decide when and how to avail the services or seek support, it also fails to bridge the gap and cannot serve millennials using smartphones, iPads or other technology toys.

Now, that the difference is clear among these two terms, it can also be mentioned that companies who engage customers using Omni-Channel Customer Service experience higher customer retention rate of up to 90%, as compared to companies who prefer using the other option. And, it is no secret that the cost of retaining a customer is about 10X lower in comparison to the cost of attracting new leads and building up a customer database.


In a nutshell, we can say that Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel customer service have a tactical and strategical difference in terms of operation, with strategic benchmark being more profitable for organisations, giving you a vantage point of view.