Exploring the Important Differences Between Omnichannel and Multichannel Solutions

Billing & Payments Insight

As a biller, you’ve heard the terms multichannel and omnichannel used with increasing frequency when it comes to billing and payment innovations. You may have even heard them used somewhat interchangeably. But the distinction between the two approaches can make a huge difference in ensuring the long-term viability of your payment platform and that no customers are falling through the cracks when it comes to bill pay.

So what are the differences and how can those differences have such a lasting impact on both your short and long-term strategies for billing? Let’s take a look.

Understanding Payment Technology Infrastructure

The simplest way to think about the difference between omnichannel and multichannel billing and payment solutions is this: multichannel solutions are generally an a la carte approach while omnichannel is an overall umbrella network into which upgrades and innovations can be seamlessly integrated.

With a multichannel approach, billers must constantly stay on top of billing pain points, customer functionality preferences and technological advancements on both the hardware (mobile devices, wearables, contactless payments, kiosks) and software side of the equation. They must then seek out individual solutions to address these preferences as they are identified. The trouble is that even if an innovation is identified, adding it (or removing legacy software) can impact the entire platform.

But with an omnichannel approach through a trusted payments partner, businesses can be integrated into a large network through which updates, improvements and added functionality are automatically integrated into the existing, established solutions structure. Consumer payment preferences are already anticipated and addressed before a biller even discovers a need or gap in their consumer-facing bill pay offerings. And you don’t have to worry about an addition impacting the entire ecosystem.

Serving More Customers with Broader Solutions

The shortcomings of multichannel solutions is often that, with this a la carte approach, customers can fall through the cracks or feel left behind by billers.

Those who are cash preferred, unbanked/underbanked or simply prefer to make payments at times or locations most convenient for them may not be best served by billers with a multichannel approach. They must rely on whether or not billers have consciously made the decision to invest in technology that serves their needs.

An omnichannel approach best enables capabilities such as Cash Bill Pay, kiosks and pay by text into the biller’s existing platform. This kind of functionality enables billers to proactively respond to customer preferences and increase on-time payments by offering a broader range of payment options and methods.

The Easiest Bills Get Paid First

Why is making billing simpler the key to increasing digital payment adoption and on-time payments? It’s simple. Money is tight, time is precious and most consumers will naturally gravitate towards paying the bill that is “easiest” first. That doesn’t always necessarily mean the bill with the lowest monetary value or the one that is most consequential.

Bills which require less time, effort or extra steps are the ones consumers are more likely to prioritize, when dealing with limited time and resources. Using an omnichannel approach to billing solutions means that customers have more options and more flexibility in how they pay their bills.

According to a study conducted by PYMNTS.com, “(Customers) want to simplify their monthly bill pay obligations now more than ever, and see digital channels as the better, smarter, faster way to do it, as 85% of consumers already are using digital bill pay.”

With that kind of demand for advanced payment solutions, it’s easy to see why an omnichannel approach’s broader set of tools can ensure that the maximum number of customers are included under this large technological umbrella.

Now’s the time to start the conversation about what kind of approach your organization is using to increase on-time bill payments as well as customer satisfaction and retention. 

Are you ensuring that your customers have the maximum amount of options available when it comes time to pay your bill? Let our omnichannel experts help you create a roadmap to broader digital adoption and a greater customer bill pay experience.