Is there an omni-channel opportunity here?

Digitisation spawned a new word – omnichannel. It’s a brilliant concept as it taps into the fact that different customers like to reach you (or be reached by you )via different channels, be that email, social, online, livechat, apps, SMS, podcasts, etc. It’s gives them the choice to connect via the method they’re most comfortable with.

Think of the old days when a customer would connect via a single channel and stay locked onto that channel through to completion of an activity. But now, in our rapid-switch, multi-tasking world, we’re using multiple channels simultaneously – we hear an advertisement on a podcast, investigate online, send a request for info via social, get feedback almost instantly, and buy the product via an app before the podcast has finished.

The challenge for systems designers is that it can drastically increase complexity. It used to be relatively easy to track a user journey through a single channel and build up statistics on each journey. And the journey map used to follow a finite number of paths because they were designed around fixed process designs. But now, how would you you even start to try to piece together a user journey across the podcast scenario listed above? What are the linking keys in the data sets within each channel that would allow correlation to occur?

In theory an OSS collects more of the linking threads (eg IP addresses, location data, account details, etc) than any other solution via the comms networks that carry the messages of all those channels. Is there an opportunity here (ie providing the service of mapping of omni-channel journeys for customers for trending or personalisation purposes), or do we already have too much complexity to worry about just managing our networks?

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