There is a lot of confusion around the words “omnichannel” and “multichannel”. They sound similar and both involve chatbots that communicate on multiple channels, but there is an important difference. Omnichannel chatbots can track a user across multiple channels and keep the same conversation going, multichannel bots cannot.
How many channels do you need?
The answer to whether you need an omnichannel chatbot or a multichannel chatbot is (drum roll please): it depends. To help you make the correct choice we first need to look at what each type of bot is capable of.
The simplest chatbots can communicate on only one channel. They are often found on websites or on social media pages and work quite well for many tasks. They are by far the most common, in part because they were the first type to be developed and in part, because their simplicity makes them easier to develop.
If you are designing a FAQ bot for your website a single channel is probably what you need. However, if you are designing a more complex bot and would like to use it on more than one platform a multi-channel bot may be a better choice. You could, of course, design many single-channel bots to fit each platform, but it would result in more work to update them and a less consistent experience for users.
When to use an omnichannel bot
Multi-channel chatbots can communicate on multiple channels but lack the ability to track a user across them. This may not be a problem for many applications, especially simpler ones like marketing campaigns, but could be a serious issue in some.
Let’s take customer service as an example. In some industries like aviation, customers tend to get very stressed out when things go wrong, especially if their flight gets canceled, or they cannot find the right gate. In these situations they tend to reach out to the company on all available channels simultaneously and being able to trace back conversations on multiple channels to a single user becomes an important ability to have.
On a less dramatic note, a customer may start a conversation with a chatbot on the company’s website and then leave the computer. An omnichannel chatbot may be able to continue that conversation on a mobile messaging app and give the company a much better chance of closing the business.
What to choose?
The opportunities and contexts in which each type of chatbot could be used are endless. Making a good decision depends on having a good understanding of both the technology and the company. To help you make these important decisions we have decided to make our team of experts available to you. Reach out to them using the link below. They will be happy to analyze your company and help you make the best choice.