September 21, 2017
In the contact center industry, technology has both opened doors and created obstacles. On the one hand, there are now more ways than ever for customers to connect with their favorite brands, have their questions answered, and their issues resolved. Businesses have never been more accessible to their customers. On the other hand, the contact center now needs to support a slew of distinct siloed channels with that there’s an even more strict standard for quality of service. This customer service climate requires a new strategy to unify the customer experience, and it’s called omnichannel.
Understanding the Omnichannel Approach
To help explain the concept and elaborate on some of its components, we’ve created this omnichannel infographic. It provides a quick snapshot of the ideas behind the omnichannel approach and the strategy around enacting it in your own contact center.
Check out the infographic below:
The Omnichannel Approach and the Age of the Customer
The need for an omnichannel approach is both created and solved by the advances in technology over the last ten or fifteen years. On the internet, consumers have become accustomed to instant responses, self-service options, and a variety of alternative ways to contact a business. Many consumers simply do not want to talk to a contact center agent over the phone. They would much rather tweet, send an email, or use a chat tool. Simply providing these options, however, isn’t enough.
Each of these tweets, chat conversations, and emails exist in their own distinct applications. It can be unwieldy at best or impossible at worst for a contact center agent to reference these past interactions during a future call. This leads to customers having to repeat themselves and start the customer service process all over again. The customer just wants their issue resolved and the multiple channels of communication, in this instance, are actually an impediment to that goal.
The Airport Analogy
Imagine if you called your friend on the phone to ask for a ride to the airport. The friend happily agrees, and you finalize your travel plans. Two days before your flight, you text that same friend if they can still give you a ride, and suddenly they have no recollection there was even a phone call in the first place. It would be irritating to say the least. It would seem like the friend simply did not care enough to remember that first phone call.
This is not far off from the customer’s experience without the omnichannel approach.
Omnichannel breaks down the silos between channels of communication. If call recordings, chat histories, recent tweets, and emails are all immediately accessible to the contact center agent from one interface, the agent can respond with educated, informed answers. It creates the experience of a continuing conversation regardless of the channel in which each interaction was held.
Going back to the airport analogy, the interactions would flow as expected. The friend remembers the phone call and when the confirmation text comes later in the week, your friend is ready to drive you to the airport. Customers just want to get where they are going, and omnichannel makes that possible.
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