Many contact centers have had a bumpy ride as they hopped on the omnichannel roller coaster. A Multichannel Merchant survey revealed that while 87% of retailers and consumer brands believed omnichannel strategies were essential to their business, only 8% thought they had fully mastered this approach.

While experts are guiding customer experience leaders to transcend omnichannel and embrace multiexperience, it is important to recognize the problem with omnichannel and why you ought to look beyond channels.

What is the Problem with Omnichannel?

Often, it comes down to execution.

Omnichannel has made some lofty promises over the years, but has it truly delivered a better customer experience? The potential is certainly there, but studies suggest that, for a variety of reasons, businesses continue to struggle to unlock all the benefits of omnichannel.

Though organizations have tried their best to integrate channels and experiences to deliver on the promise of omnichannel, they still operate in a channel-specific mindset that’s not sustainable.

A recent Gartner study found that omnichannel stakeholders often focus on specific channels rather than the broader user experience.

Channel specific teams use channel-specific tools to develop channel-specific experiences and then strive very hard to integrate disconnected experiences and journeys for customers and employees. The voice experience is built by one team using specific tools. The web experience is created by another using different tools. The employee experience is, in many cases, not exactly built for purpose, but accumulated over time like layers at an archaeological site. Not surprisingly, this results in an expensive and inefficient operation that does not scale effectively.

A multi-faceted approach to omnichannel that supports both customers and employees will help companies offer a better user journey, especially when touchpoints converge on the contact center.

It’s a step beyond omnichannel. It’s multiexperience.

What is Multiexperience?

Multiexperience is one of the top trends that will drive significant disruption and opportunity over the next 5 to 10 years. According to Gartner, Multiexperience refers to the various permutations of modalities (e.g., touch, voice, and gesture), devices, and apps that users interact with on their digital journey across the multiple touchpoints. Multiexperience is about designing and developing seamless and effortless experiences across apps, digital touchpoints, and interaction modalities.

There are many development tools in which you can design experiences that can be delivered on multiple touchpoints and modalities. Some may have a mobile app, and some specialize in conversational user experiences, some more geared toward organizations with large IT teams, and so on.

We’ve put together a short multiexperience decision guide for customer experience leaders to reveal blind spots that otherwise affect customer engagement initiatives.

7 Definitive Multiexperience Enabler

1. Experiences that engage customers where they are, how they prefer to be engaged at any point in time, on any channel, and on any modality.

Stop guessing that boomers prefer the phone channel and millennials prefer to text, or that only the affluent and urban dwellers engage on smartphones.

Design experiences for any channel and any modality at economies of scale and let your customers choose.

That is the only way to drive digital adoption and win the race for customer intimacy.

2. Experiences that are built in a unified low code design and development platform so that you can deliver a consistent experience at an optimal total cost of ownership and with greater business agility.

Today, you may have separate teams to build experiences on each channel. Your customers expect consistency, continuity, and choice. You cannot afford to deliver this to them at scale if you continue to build your customer experience in silos, not when the permutations and combinations of touchpoints and modalities explode.

Empower business analysts who are familiar with a process as well as the customer persona to design as much of the multiexperience journey as possible using no-code multiexperience design tools. Simplify collaboration with developers and other stakeholders to accelerate time to market for multiexperience journeys. Combine low-code multiexperience design with a mesh app and services-based architecture so that you can serve customers and employees across multiple touchpoints and modalities at ease.

Not to imply that you should let go of the best of breed tools and teams that have expertise in specific domains.

Indeed, they offer added value while designing experiences that run on the channels, touchpoints, and modalities in which they specialize. A good multiexperience toolkit should enable you to bring such teams and tools together effectively. Ask yourself, why rip and replace when you can harmonize and elevate?

3. Experiences that are built to exploit the strengths of a channel or modality, while recognizing its limitations

Your customers may tap, text, or talk. Every modality has its limitations, though. Find ways to complement modalities so that your customers benefit from an engaging multimodal experience.

Don’t reduce multiexperience to build-once-deploy-anywhere.

It is not about delivering the same experience on every channel for the sake of the efficiency of the software development process.

Multimodal interactions that compensate for limitations across modalities elevate the experience for customers and help them achieve desired outcomes. Multimodality, a critical CX capability, is hard to achieve unless you have an exceptional multiexperience toolkit handy.

4. Experiences that leverage the best cognitive services beyond conversational AI and computer vision

Today, consumers in various markets are comfortable speaking to their personal assistants. Brands have begun to engage consumers through wearables, augmented reality, and virtual reality. The multiexperience space is vast, already covering owned touchpoints such as a business’ web site, mobile app and contact center as well as managed touchpoints such as those on social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), mobile (e.g. Google Assistant), and messaging platforms (e.g. WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat).

The number of touchpoints and modalities of interaction is only set to grow even further, requiring more significant levels of cognitive insight in real-time.

Organizations should insist on a best of breed AI approach to ensure that the multiexperience journeys they build can benefit from the best cognitive services available for the task at hand. Be it natural language processing, image processing, or emotion analytics, to name a few.

5. Experiences that not only connect but also unburden your employees

In CX, we know that it is all about Plan B. When self-service does not work, how easily can the customer leverage assisted service? As a contact center leader, you know that the complexity of customer interactions increases as you add more channels to your contact centers.

Simply connecting your contact center agents to a multiexperience journey is not sufficient to unburden your employees and empower them to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

In the contact center, agent performance directly influences the success of brand interactions. That’s why using technology to assist employees and help them work more effectively is so crucial to a multiexperience approach. When contact center agents can work faster and more efficiently, they will be able to devote more attention to each customer and resolve issues quicker than ever.

6. Experiences that reduce effort not just with the UX of the current interaction, but also by automating tasks and processes that require follow-up and manual intervention.

As you simplify the customer experience with multiexperience journeys, it’s a great moment to think about the next issue avoidance and automate, when applicable, the next step in the customer lifecycle or customer journey.

This is where Multiexperience meets Hyperautomation, another one of the top ten technology trends, according to Gartner.

7. Experiences that are built with a test and iterate mindset.

Launch a new experience, learn the adoption and abandonment patterns for various personas and user cohorts, devise ways to keep users engaged to the point where you can drive impactful interactions. Collect feedback from customers directly as part of the experience, in natural language where applicable, so that continuous improvement is designed for, not planned for as a separate initiative.

For the right multiexperience toolkit, today’s feedback is tomorrow’s automation.

Originally published here.