Omnichannel is currently a widespread, recognizable buzzword but surprisingly, very few outside the tech world understand what it fully means or the concept behind it. While the rise of omnichannel popularity cuts across diverse industries such as e-commerce, healthcare, finance and even government, the solution it offers at root is identical. Put simply, omnichannel integrates the various physical and digital channels necessary to create a unified customer experience.
For contact centers in particular, omnichannel is a key strategy for offering customers the same high-level experience across all means of communication while providing the customer service team with a simple interface and a rich, holistic set of data for each customer they care for. For that very reason, omnichannel has overtaken multichannel as the industry standard as the next evolution in contact center productivity.
The Challenges of a Multichannel Contact Center
During the digital communications revolution of the past decade, contact centers have added an increasing number of ways through which to interact with customers. What started simply with phone and email now includes SMS, web chat, social media and more.
While many businesses are already implementing each of those communication channels, they are typically structured in a patchwork of silos, each with their own technologies. Typically, there are separate departments or teams within a department to handle calls, emails and social media. Each group works on a completely different, or poorly connected platform, which creates a number of inefficiencies in how internal information is shared and ultimately, a disjointed experience for the customer.
In traditional multichannel environments, a customer who reaches out via webchat will often receive generalized “tier 1” support aimed at solving common problems. If that is not sufficient to solve their problem, the service agent has the option to transfer the call to a different representative where the conversation starts over since none of the previous information transfers.
This not only frustrates customers having to repeat themselves, but it also results in longer wait times and wasted labor costs.
The Benefits of a True Omnichannel Environment
In an Omnichannel contact center, all communication channels (such as phone, SMS, webchat, and email) are connected and integrated to provide a seamless experience. That example above would see the same customer enter a webchat with an initial agent, who would have the option to switch the chat to a phone call, video chat or other means of communication. And if the call still needed to be escalated, the next agent would have those chat logs and other information available in real-time.
This solves multiple problems simultaneously-
Unified customer histories are built across all channels, giving each agent far more insight before even answering a call.
With all customer interactions on a single unified platform, calls can be routed to the ideal agents more efficiently through IVR’s- regardless of channel. This drastically increases efficiency across the entire department.
When calls do need to be transferred to another agent or a supervisor, the entire chat history and the original agent’s notes transfer with the caller. Again, efficiency increases, and processes are streamlined to benefit the customer.
Omnichannel is a Customer-Focused Technology
The future of the contact center will be almost entirely based on the omnichannel with more features, app integrations and analytical tools being added to elevate customer interactions and streamline how relevant information is shared. Combined with the plethora of analytics it provides IT leaders and contact center managers to more efficiently deploy their teams, it is fair to say that this is also a cost-saving technology as well.
To learn more about the omnichannel contact center and how it’s transforming modern consumer interactions, contact Converged Technology Professionals today!
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