Omnichannel – What You Need to Know

14 Jan 2019

“Customer Experience” is the latest rallying cry for contact centers around the world, as organizations become more customer centric. As companies focus on enhancing customer engagement and the customer experience in order to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, they’re turning to a range of technologies to help meet their goals. One of the key technologies being deployed by companies of all sizes is omnichannel.

In the contact center world, omnichannel is all about giving customers choices, and meeting customers in the channel they prefer. Here’s how I define omnichannel: Designed to support customers in their channel of choice, omnichannel contact centers unify and integrate multiple channels of interaction. Ideally, omnichannel systems should be able to monitor and track customers as they navigate from one channel to another throughout their customer journey. The goal is to provide a seamless experience, where the context from one channel carriers over to the next.

While it’s relatively easy to understand omnichannel, what it does, and the value it provides, there are a lot of misconceptions out there in the market. Different vendors define it differently, based on their products and offerings. Many vendors, consultants, and end user organizations use the terms “multichannel” and “omnichannel” interchangeably, causing confusion in the market. Yes, omnichannel is based on using multiple channels, but there’s so much more to it. The channels need to be integrated in order to provide consolidated routing, queueing, reporting, and more.

Why Omnichannel

With a multitude of options available, consumers today use anywhere from 3-9 interaction channels when reaching out for customer care. Often starting in one channel, such as web chat, interactions may need to transfer to another channel, such as a voice call with an agent. When transferred to a different agent, inevitably the customer has to start all over and re-explain the problem they’re calling about in order to get the agent up to speed on the situation. This is frustrating and time consuming for the customer, while ineffective for the agent and contact center.

Omnichannel contact centers eliminate this problem, as they provide the agent with information about everything that took place during the interaction. In addition, using CRM data, the agent has context and information on the customer and their previous interactions and buying history, making the agent more efficient. Being able to seamlessly pivot from one channel to another, while carrying over content and context as customers move from one channel and agent to another, is the key value proposition of omnichannel.

Learn More About Omnichannel

Providing a range of benefits for customers, contact centers, and business, omnichannel contact centers are a must-have for organizations. But as with any new technology, there’s some confusion about omnichannel – what it does and doesn’t do, and the value it provides.

On Thursday, January 17, at 1:00 p.m. (ET) / 10:00 a.m. (PT), I’ll be presenting  a webinar with Leslie Blanke, SVP, Product at Serenova, entitled,Omnichannel: Myth vs. Reality.” We’ll be discussing some of the common myths and misconceptions about omnichannel, the benefits and value it provides, and how companies should get started on the path to omnichannel customer care. You can register here. I hope you can join us to learn more about omnichannel and how it can benefit your organization.

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