Expert analysis

The channel doesn’t matter: Get and keep customers with a channel-agnostic approach

  • Paul Greenburg
    Paul Greenberg
  • Feb 23, 2021

We are approaching an era where unified communications networks are possible. Customers can communicate with a company in any way they want without concerning themselves with the channel.

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We are approaching an era where unified communications networks are possible. This means moving from omnichannel to channeless (perhaps even channel-agnostic) due to the technologies that are available to create this unbroken matrix of communications media. 

What that means in practical terms, is that a customer can communicate with a company in any way they want without concerning themselves with the channel. They’re fully focused on the message and the communication. 

To give you an example of the difference, imagine looking at an email with a phone number in the email, giving you the opportunity to call from the email. Tell me which example you like and which you don’t. 

  1. You click on the phone number in the email and you’re taken out of the email and into a new window, where a new app, like Skype, opens in order to make the call.
  2. You click on the phone number in the email and it calls the number without anything else happening.  

This is a small thing, but it is a good example of the difference in convenience, as well as trusted and seamless behavior as part of a unified communications platform. 

Consider this:

The customer will always be in control of how they communicate with a company. And this is actually a good thing for the company because a company willing to accept this and build the appropriate communications infrastructure to support it can both reactively and proactively reach out to the customers with options that are useful for that individual customer.

Now consider “Corning: A Day Made of Glass.”  

You might be thinking, what does this video done in 2011 have to do with engagement or communication or anything like that?

While the theme of the video is glass and the use of Corning’s different glass products, what you see in the video—a day in the life of a family of what is still in 2019, the near future—is a family reliant on ubiquitous, unified communications systems. 

From the time they wake up in the morning using wireless internet to look at pictures on the fridge and over the air cell towers, to the use of text and phone and video and audio and images via networks, there is no use of glass that matters without the unified communications network that underlays it.

From the images moving from one platform to another to the video of models at work highlighting personalized clothing selections via video streaming and several more complex microservices underneath, to the discussions with grandma or fellow workers via varying text channels—both traditional or in the form of a conversation via commenting on work products—the unified communications platform is always working.

But what makes this most significant?

While you watched the video, for even one second did you think about the immense number of channels and media that people were communicating on and with?

No, you thought about the glass—which of course was Corning’s purpose. But what this video shows equally well is the future of communications engagement: continual interaction in what appears to be a channeless world. 

It’s not that the channels don’t exist. They do, but they are so tight-knit and so effortlessly in the background and on such a strong platform that you—as a customer or employee or just a person communicating with a brand or another person—don’t even think about them at all. 

How good is that? 

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Paul Greenburg

Paul Greenberg

Paul is the author of the best-selling book CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers. He is president of The 56 Group, LLC, a customer strategy consulting firm, and a founding partner of the CRM training company, BPT Partners, LLC, a training and consulting venture. 

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