Any marketing initiative has buzzwords, and sometimes those words can seem at best vague and at worst empty. Multi-channel and omni-channel are two common terms you’ll hear floating around in discussions on customer communications. To cut to the chase: There is a difference, and the difference is important.
Multi-channel communication refers to the use of different types of channels with your brand or product at the center of this communication. These channels include mail, email, websites, phone calls, social media—any means of connection between you and your customers. A multi-channel approach gives the customer a choice in how to reach your company or product. Each of these channels is distinct and (hopefully) strong, but they working toward the same end—you.
Omni-channel communication is about creating a fluid customer experience across these channels. It’s common now for a modern consumer to switch frequently between channels (Think of how often you are on your laptop and then look down at your phone.) An omni-channel approach aims to make that switch seem natural and consistent. In other words, the customer’s view and experience are central to the process, and data is used to make that experience integrated and remove the “feeling” of channels.
If multi-channel is more about availability, than omni-channel is more about consistency. While multi-channel centers your brand or product, omni-channel centers the customer.
Imagine this: Madeline Frasier, a longtime subscriber to your magazine, has just sent you a check. She’s a few days late with her payment, but it’s on its way. No one knows that, though, and because the account is still listed as outstanding in your database, a collection letter is sent to her house. Your company has now spent money to collect money that’s already in transit. If only there was a way to see that Madeline had mailed her check.
OSG MailTrekˢᴹ is the way.
This tracking application taps into USPS barcode technology to track your inbound and outbound mail. An Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is printed on each piece of outgoing mail, which gives the USPS the data it needs to get your mail delivered to the right address on time. You can also include this barcode on the return or remittance envelope to see the status of incoming payments in real-time. This, in turn, will help suppress collection letters to customers.
For some of our customers, we have been able to achieve suppression of 4 to 5 percent of their production volume, while others have achieved as high as 12 percent suppression.
With MailTrek, you’ll improve the efficiency of your collection efforts by reducing the number and frequency of your mailings, and you’ll also improve your customers’ experience. Who wants to get a letter when they’ve already paid? Your company saves money on another letter, and Madeline isn’t annoyed.
It’s all about the data when it comes to customer communication.
Data tells the story of your customers and outlines what information you should be sharing with them. This is particularly important regarding the marketing messages you include with bills and invoices. When contact is frequent, the messages must be timely and relevant.
Data also tells the story of what’s already worked in with your previous messaging. Why send a “Subscribe Today!” message to a customer who just signed up? Why push a product to a people already using it? Analyzing customer trends and history is crucial. You should also be able to make timely updates based on that information.
OSG Campaign Composer is a data-driven application that allows you to segment your customer base. It’s designed so you can filter specific data to send one-to-one marketing messages that make sense. It exists to complement your invoicing or billing packages, to enhance marketing capabilities, to and make communication specific and targeted.
Here’s how it works:
- Define the filters.
A filter is set for one or more conditions you apply to your data to identify which accounts will be targeted by a campaign.
- Create the campaign.
Build the message that will target those specific customers.
- Create the package.
The package selects a segment of your customer base to target. It also specifies which dynamic messages, envelope messages, and inserts that segment should receive.
Another crucial feature: this application is timely. You can update the messaging at any time, ridding invoices and bills of stale, tired content. You can also send an endless variety of messages and cross-sell and up-sell products more effectively.
It’s essential to be using your data in a way that makes sense and brings you the biggest return. Your customers aren’t all the same. Why not try something different with them? Read more here.