Managing The Contact Center Across All Channels
Once upon a time, there were inbound telephone agents. There were outbound telephone agents. There were dedicated email agents, and there may have been chat-oriented agents. This was long ago, in a world in which customers tolerated being transferred, put on hold and repeating themselves to multiple agents. We now live in an omnichannel world, where a customer expects that whatever channel he or she chooses will be fast and effective as well as integrated with other channels.
“Customers today are tech savvy and want everything with ease,” wrote Shaista Haque blogging for Ameyo. “They expect more and seek for seamless and consistent experience across all touch points. Organizations are therefore swiftly making a move from multichannel to omnichannel interaction to better serve customers.”
The truth is that customers have been living in Omnichannel World for a long time, but companies are only starting to do business there. In the contact center, many organizations are still conducting their workforce optimization and workforce management like it’s 1999, keeping track of separate communications channels and attempting to fit them together into one multichannel mess.
“In a multichannel environment, every communication option is a separate one, and the objective is to deliver consistent, quality service across the entire spectrum,” said Monet Software’s (News - Alert) Chuck Ciarlo. “Omnichannel introduces an additional option, of moving a customer from one channel to another within the same engagement. Of course, it's important to not just provide the capability of switching from email to phone or from phone to web chat, but to also be able to track quality throughout these interactions through recording and agent performance managements.”
When you can track the performance of agents across channels, you can get a better picture of the agent’s performance and the customers’ needs, and plan for them better in the future.
“If you are ready for omnichannel, one place to start is with an analysis of your current customer base,” said Ciarlo. “Which multichannel options do your customers use most often? What are the most likely transitions from these channels based on the reason for their contact?”
Workforce optimization that has been optimized for omnichannel engagement is critical to ensure your organization is delivering a consistent customer experience from one channel to another.
“Unlike the multichannel communication mode, omnichannel customer engagement model helps in tracking the entire customer journey and thereby, creating a consistent and optimized experience,” wrote Haque. “Customers have the freedom to switch between different channels without any hassles such as loss of information, or the need to repeat existing information.”
Unless the contact center is prepared to meet customers in the omnichannel customer engagement model, however, it will be a lonely place for customers, and businesses may continue to watch the effectiveness of their contact center operations decline.