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 phone again and after a 45 minute wait, you reach an agent. Here's the conversation:

Agent: “I’m very sorry because I can tell you’ve had a frustrating day. I see you called in 3 times, sent an email, and Tweeted before finally reaching me. What I’d like to do is initially is to assign all of those interactions to me so none of my colleagues responds to you while we’re talking, is that ok? Now if it’s ok with you, I know this sounds silly, but I see that we fixed the problem at 2pm today, although many people are still calling to inquire about the problem. What seems to be working is customers switching the power off and back on on their router and if I can ask you to do that for me please, that should fix the problem.”

Customer: Turns the router off and on and the problem is fixed. "It worked!"

Agent: “I know we did so very badly for you today and so I’m going to give you a $20 credit, I know it’s not much given the amount of time you spent trying to call me today, but that is the maximum that I can do. If I could do more, I would automatically do it for you. What I will do now is close out your email and you’ll get an email closed notification, which is from me closing out the email. If it’s ok with you, I’m going to reply to you on Twitter and I’m going to say I spoke to you, problem solved, really sorry for the inconvenience. As you can imagine, I’ve had a pretty terrible day here in the contact center and it would mean the world to me if you would just reply, and if you found my service to be good, to say you spoke to me and that I was amazing, which my supervisor will see and it will help make up for the bad day I've had. Would that be ok?”.

Customer: "Yes, I'll do that". The customer then comments under the agent's response to the Tweet that the agent took great care of them and helped solve the problem. The initial negative Tweet has been resolved and other customers that see this exchange will see that the business cares enough to respond to and resolve customer issues.

This should be the customer engagement businesses are aiming for and you can’t do this without the Super Agent, Single View of the Customer and the Reach.

If you're looking to create a true omnichannel customer engagement click here to request a meeting.

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