3 Building Blocks of Omnichannel Transformation
Omnichannel is a foundational piece when it comes to modernizing the contact center and adopting the technologies needed to meet today’s customer expectations. The term “omnichannel” has been with us for several years, but the concept remains poorly understood, creating a holdback for adoption.
The move to omnichannel can be transformative. According to IMD, popular retailers saw an increase of up to 195% in digital sales after adopting omnichannel capabilities.
Omnichannel provides businesses with unprecedented capabilities to become truly customer-centric, finally putting agents on a level playing field with customers. Here are three building blocks to help you get started.
1. Digital Channel Flexibility
As digital channels become more pervasive, there is a growing need for contact centers to have omnichannel capabilities. Telephony remains the dominant channel for customer engagement, but digital channels like web chat, messaging, video and social media are gaining favor. Not only are multiple channels needed to support customers today, but the mix of channels varies by demographic age groupings. As such, contact centers need flexibility across different types of channels, along with different combinations of channels based on customer preferences.
A true omnichannel engagement model drives value for both the organization and the customer. For the organization, omnichannel is easy to manage, improves efficiency and provides flexibility for IT, agents and everyone in between. For customers, omnichannel means more personalized and consistent experiences, no matter the channel that is being used.
For example, when agents shift from chat to voice during an inquiry, the context from the chat is carried forward into the call environment. This may not mean much when it’s the same agent, but if the session is being handed-off to another agent, what happened on the chat does not need to be repeated, and no reset is needed when things continue in voice mode. The same is true for interactions that may begin with an email, move to web chat, and carry over into a co-browse session. With omnichannel, the move from channel to channel is seamless for both agents and customers.
2. Enable an Organization-Wide Focus on CX
Customer experience (CX) has become strategic for many businesses. In terms of getting started with omnichannel, contact center leaders must ensure that the rationale aligns with organizational objectives around CX. The model for market leaders is to provide great CX at scale – for every customer, all the time.
That model requires a holistic view of customer service with every employee working towards your CX goals, not just agents. While agents provide the front-line interaction with customers, they often rely on information or support from employees outside the contact center, including front- and back-office operations.
Accessing this in a timely fashion makes all the difference between good and great CX, and omnichannel makes this possible by providing a common platform linking the contact center with the rest of the organization.
A major issue in the contact center is the inability to properly manage their customer data. A study by Forrester Consulting that was commissioned by DAC Group found that about 85% of B2C organizations in Canada are behind when it comes to omnichannel implementation because they are unable to gain actionable insights from their customer data.
Customer data takes many forms, and it is typically spread across many siloes that are not connected. For organizations trying to be more customer-centric, omnichannel provides a much-needed capability to connect data and information across siloes and provide agents with a more complete view of the customer.
3. Rethink What Agents Need for Success
Supporting broad organizational objectives is an important driver for omnichannel, but another starting point is more granular, namely what agents need to be successful. For agents to provide great CX, they need the right capabilities. With omnichannel, this means being able to engage with customers seamlessly as the channels change, and in a personalized manner. A key element of CX is having agents interact based on the customer’s channel(s) of choice rather than forcing them to adapt to what the contact center can support.
Another factor is enabling agents to resolve issues in real time during a single session. When an agent needs help from a colleague or if they are handing off an interaction to a subject matter expert, they need to be able to do so quickly and without missing a beat.
The key, then, is to provide agents with consistent tools for all channels along with full visibility to customer information, journeys and context data. This information will enable agents to provide personalized and meaningful engagements to every customer, regardless of how complex the issue or how many channels are used in the interaction. Ultimately, this will help the contact center increase First Contact Resolution (FCR) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores.