3 Core Principles to Make An Omnichannel Contact Center Successful

An omnichannel contact center is defined differently by many people. My definition is when a contact center uses a unified solution to engage with customers, allowing the customers to connect with agents through the app or media channel of their choice. Further, it provides a comprehensive view of the customer journey and interaction history across all channels.

Here's some tips for how to make an omnichannel contact center, and omnichannel customer care, successful.

Reach – The goal for your technology vendor is to give you tools to allow you to talk to a customer wherever they are talking about you and via the channel or app of their choice. What are your customer's favorite means of communication or engagement? Today's smart phones make it super easy for people to utilize multiple communication channels including Voice, Video, Messengers, Apps and Social Media. Various apps are easy to download, use and everybody has their favorites. Some that your customers may be using might include SMS, Chat, WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Wall, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Twitter Direct Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram and many more. Can your agents currently engage with customers on all of these channels? If not, why?

Further, there are many places where your customer's are commenting about you or are leaving reviews. Do you have a YouTube channel where you're posting videos? Your customers are commenting/reviewing these videos. Are those comments or reviews being queued to your agents to respond and interact with these customers? If not, why not? Other places with forums where your customers may be talking about you include Amazon Reviews, Apple's App Store, Google Play, and dozens more. Since omnichannel technology solutions make queuing all of this relatively easy, why aren't you engaging with customers in all the places they are talking about you if a great customer experience is your goal?

The Super Agent – Ask most contact centers, that have been in business for a long time, if it’s feasible to have a contact center agent move from a video call to a webchat, from a webchat to handling an email, from an email to responding to someone on Twitter, and then talk to someone on the phone via voice, is that achievable for one agent? Can we get a human to flip between the communication styles as seamlessly as that? Most will say "no" and silo certain channels to a handful of agents. Social is a good example. The problem without a Super Agent is you can’t get to a single view of the customer.

A Single View of the Customer – A Super Agent needs to be able to see and respond to any channel you are offering to customers. In other words, the agent needs visibility into the entire customer journey across all channels in order to recognize the customer and respond appropriately.

Let's look at the communication frame of reference that every agent in the business has. Every agent likely has an Android or Apple smart phone. If they can pick up that device and message via WhatsApps, SMS, email and Tweets without reading a manual, that means those smart phones have gotten the UX right. So all your contact center solutions provider needs to do is to copy the UX that you get on mobile devices, right?

Bringing it all together. Here's an example of how it can work. Let's say your internet goes down. You call the toll free number on your mobile phone via the mobile network and the contact center is closed. You call back later and sit in a queue for half an hour. While you’re in the queue, the company is playing a message about how important your call is to them and that “did you know you can solve most problems by visiting our website”. You’re thinking “if only I could get to your website and if my call was important, you would have answered it already”. You hang up and later you phone again. Another 30 minute queue due to all the unhappy customers calling in. Next, you send an email via your mobile phone and get an automated response that you’ll get a response within 3 hours. You next leave an angry comment on Twitter with no response. At the end of the day, you phon