Omni-Channel vs. Multi-Channel

While similar methods of approaching customer service channels, Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel aren’t quite the same. In a Multi-Channel setup, your customers have a variety of ways to interact with your customer service team (such as by phone, social media, mobile app, etc.) so they can decide what’s most convenient for them.

Omni-Channel is similar, except that it feeds all these disparate channels into a single, cohesive customer service experience. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between these two approaches with an example scenario. (And if you’d like an overview of what Salesforce Customer Service Cloud has to offer, check out our recent article on the subject.)


In a Multi-Channel setup, a customer may chat with an agent about an issue through social media before calling back via phone for the same issue a few hours later. Unfortunately, the data gathered by the company’s social support team isn’t easily accessible to the phone support team, which means the agent on the phone needs the customer to repeat much of their information (an irritation that can try the patience of even the nicest folks).

It’s great that the company has made a number of customer service channels available to its customers in need of support. However, the benefits gained by that flexibility are negated by the frustration those customers feel when they have to walk yet another customer service rep through the same issue they just spoke to somebody about earlier.

Which of the following do you think more accurately resembles the customer’s thoughts? “Oh, wow. It sure is convenient that I can get in touch with them on social media AND on the phone!” or, “Shouldn’t you guys know this already? Why am I giving you all this information if you’re not going to do anything with it?”


The chief benefit of the Omni-Channel model is that it breaks down the behind-the-scenes barriers between different support departments that causes situations like the above. In an Omni-Channel setup, customer and issue information is easily accessible to any customer service agent currently working on the problem.

Let’s go back to our scenario again, but this time, when the customer calls the company later about the issue, the agent on the phone has more context for the situation, (thanks to the notes from said customer’s previous interactions with the company). This extra knowledge helps them not only resolve the issue more quickly, but also helps them to defuse a common customer irritant at the same time.

Deeper Dive Into Salesforce Omni-Channel

Now that we’ve explained why Omni-Channel is superior to multi-channel in general, let’s take a closer look at the Salesforce Omni-Channel product in particular. Part of the Service Cloud (and available in Classic and Lightning), Omni-Channel operates in the sweet spot between simplicity and effectiveness. Omni-Channel routes things to agents using objects (which includes stuff like cases, chats, leads, and social posts), which means it can be configured without writing code. It’s composed primarily of three parts: Omni-Channel Presence, Omni-Channel Routing, and Omni-Channel Supervisor.

Omni-Channel Presence

This feature allows customer service agents to indicate their availability, which helps to ensure that cases aren’t just “sitting around,” but are routed to people who can help.

Omni-Channel Routing

This feature (as is to be expected) allows the system to route cases to agents from a variety of channels based on a number of factors, including highest priority, oldest cases first, agent availability, and agent capacity.

Omni-Channel Supervisor

This feature is designed to give supervisors real-time information on their agents, queues, and work items, helping them to get the 30,000-foot view on the situation and make adjustments where necessary.

Is an agent having a problem? Omni-Channel Supervisor allows agents to raise flags for work items and lets supervisors send whisper messages—which are invisible to the client—to those agents to help out.

Omni-Channel is a great way for Salesforce organizations to not only make their customer service process more effective than ever, but also increase customer, agent, and supervisor satisfaction alike. And to help make you as efficient as possible, Surety Systems has a wide network of senior-level Salesforce consultants ready to fine-tune your system (or help you set it up in the first place if that’s what you need), so your company can deliver the best customer service experience possible.

If you’re looking to kick things up a notch in your customer service department, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today.