The Omnichannel Contact Center: Everything You Need to Know
Disclaimer: Implementing an omnichannel contact center significantly optimizes the workload of the employees and improves customer satisfaction, leading to increased sales and a perfect brand image.
Customers value speedy service and high-quality products. If all business processes are well coordinated, the competence of the agents is flawless, and the response time is short, clients will return to such a provider over and over again, no matter what kind of services they deal with. Besides, an impeccable reputation brings organic traffic, and the brand name starts working for itself. In this piece, we will focus on the essence of an omnichannel contact center, its characteristic features, and its benefits for businesses.
What is an omnichannel contact center?
In the previous post, we mentioned the difference between a call center and a contact center and described the importance of various types of analytical data. Call centers deal mostly with voice calls; therefore, we will talk further about contact centers, as they imply interaction with the target market through all possible channels and devices.
Omnichannel contact centers presuppose that all imaginable channels of communication with customers are synchronized. For instance, a person first contacts a company through a Facebook link and then switches to a more convenient WhatsApp messenger. However, there is no need to repeat the request in the messenger, as the agent can view the history of communication with this particular client in any channel that was used.
Modern omnichannel contact centers synchronize the following communication ways:
- social media sites
- phone calls
- video calls
- live website chats
- mobile apps
In other words, customers choose the most convenient way to contact a company for themselves at a given time without worrying about possible misunderstandings from the agents’ side.
How do omnichannel contact centers work?
Imagine you received a cold call from a company and became interested in their product. After some days, you found a newsletter and followed a link to the website. You asked a couple of questions in the live chat on the site and, after a few more days, decided to order a product via a messenger app on your smartphone. Assume you had to tell each new agent how you found the company or write your contact information several times in each new messenger. How likely are you to place an order, then? All you get in such a situation is frustration and irritation. On the other hand, if every new agent addresses you by name and starts the conversation right where it left off a couple of days ago, the impression will be much better.
Therefore, the history of interactions with every lead is kept in one place, and agents know exactly what information was already discussed, which issues arose, and how a person prefers to be addressed. This is what omnichannel contact centers deliver for any type of business.
What are the benefits of omnichannel contact centers?
Omnichannel contact centers increase sales, develop better customer service, and improve the job satisfaction of their employees.
📌Detailed customer profiles
Omnichannel contact centers allow managers to identify the most popular communication channels to better understand the target market. It is possible to conduct various types of research and gain insights. For instance, requests connected with the technical side of the product more often appear on the live chat. Then, more agents should be assigned those duties to make sure the clients get competent assistance. If new subscriptions appear mostly through social networks, then this channel should be better developed for creative and catchy landing pages. Customer surveys will help understand which channels are preferable for the target audience and improve the service quality there. Besides, the omnichannel approach allows for careful examination of the speed of closing requests, call abandonment rates, or the agents’ performance evaluation. It shows the level of customer satisfaction and helps keep it high, as clients do not have to repeat themselves. Therefore, a perfect brand image is created.
📌Improved working processes
Synchronized channels allow employees to work more efficiently. They do not have to ask each other questions regarding each new request that reaches them or juggle several queries at the same time. The information about each customer request is spread and shared easily, and all the involved parties have access to it. Such a well-organized system ensures competent and quality service for the customers and low stress levels for the team. Implementing an IVR system or other tools for automating common requests lets clients cope on their own. Most people prefer to cope with issues with few interactions and operations, so IVR is a perfect solution for them to resolve their issues without distracting agents from more challenging tasks. However, a well-designed IVR menu should always include the option of a live conversation.
📌Remote work possibilities
Remote work delivers many opportunities for employees. Omnichannel contact centers store the data in the cloud, so it is available for the agents from any location, allowing them to work from a convenient place. The team members may work from home and easily follow all the working processes. It will improve job satisfaction and lead to better productivity. Assigning local virtual phone numbers to advertising campaigns will make your business closer to the target audience. Local numbers always promote credibility, and people are more likely to answer such calls or to dial a number themselves.
The omnichannel contact service guarantees each client receives individualized attention. It increases the level of customer satisfaction and leads to client retention and repetitive purchases. Besides, the history of interactions allows marketers to divide the target audience into segments and develop independent strategies for each of them. They can be offered special offers, bonuses, or referral programs. Customer surveys will demonstrate the best interaction channels for each segment; as a result, marketing campaigns will not seem intrusive and irritating, carefully guiding your clients through the marketing funnel.
What is the difference between a multichannel and an omnichannel contact center?
When businesses start adding more communication channels to their contact center, it does not mean the center becomes omnichannel. If a company offers its customers the possibility to contact it via email, social networks, and phone calls, but the data across those channels is not synchronized, i.e., the contact center is multichannel. In other words, if you made a request in a live chat and the next day sent a clarifying message as an SMS, you would once again have to explain the whole issue and introduce yourself. In the situation of an omnichannel contact center, you can continue the conversation with a new agent and any available method of interaction. All the data regarding your request is stored in one place.
Omnichannel contact center: features
We have covered the benefits of implementing an omnichannel contact center. Now let’s describe in detail the features of this software that are worth paying attention to when choosing a robust solution.
✔️ Smart inbound routing
The routing feature of an omnichannel center is similar to voice call automated routing. If there is a request regarding the delivery conditions, it will be automatically transmitted to the sales department. IT experts will deal with customization issues. Routing rules can be based on agents’ availability or expertise, as well as depend on their working time shifts. Automated features, such as IVR menus, can also be included in the routing possibilities. Customers may be given an approximate wait time or equipped with various guides and instructions on how to deal with their issues. Therefore, people who contact your business will be armed with all necessary information on the request that may arise.
✔️ Analytics and reporting
Contact centers are treasure troves of essential data about potential and current customers. That is why analytical algorithms should be fast and effective in gathering information and making reports on it. The list of available metrics should include the basic ones to provide instant information for the marketing department. Analytical data should be transmitted among managers and team leaders to organize required soft skills training for the staff or make decisions on relevant optimization of the advertising campaigns, delivery service, and other issues.
✔️ Business software integration
If all the data regarding each customer is kept safely in one place, it implies easy sharing and the absence of dozens of applications and tools on your agents’ desktops. Such an approach guarantees smooth interaction between team members, easy reporting, and, as a result, an effective decision-making process. Coordination between the marketing and sales teams leads to increased revenue and overall company performance. Besides, if a solution is seamlessly integrated into the existing environment, the learning curve is considerably shorter, and positive outcomes will appear in no time. Thus, new software should be well integrated into the corporate system.
What is the omnichannel strategy and how to create it?
Implementing an omnichannel contact center is more than just uploading an appropriate application. It is a long process that should be divided into several steps and carefully guided.
❓ What is the omnichannel strategy?
The omnichannel strategy includes the steps that should be taken before and during the integration process.
❗️ Omnichannel strategy steps
- Conduct research.
Before implementing any new solution, examine the necessity and advantages of this tool for the business. Conduct customer surveys to find out what your clients expect from you. Talk to your employees to know if they would like to improve their current working conditions or what kind of improvements they envision. Analyze your customers’ journeys to understand how they come to a decision to buy from you.
- Decide on the number of communication channels.
More does not always mean better. After a careful examination of your customers’ journeys, their expectations, and their preferred channels of communication, it may turn out that your contact center needs only a few of these channels. You may end up with email, voice calls, and social media messengers, but all those channels are well maintained, responsive, and able to increase sales.
- Deal with the internal issues.
Streamline all other internal issues before turning to a new task. There is no universal remedy. If there are issues with logistics or staff turnover, implementing new software may make things worse. Make sure your business is ready for modernization.
- Choose the software.
Examine the market and choose the tool that matches your expectations in terms of functionality, price, and costs for training staff. Study the reviews and consult experts if necessary.
Omnichannel contact centers are not easy to integrate, and it takes time to adjust the whole business to a new tool. The learning curve should also be taken into account. However, the omnichannel approach significantly improves performance. It leads to better communication with the target market, high customer satisfaction, and increased conversions. With the speed of the appearance of new devices and technologies on the market, customers have a wide choice of options to contact a business they wish to deal with. Do not limit their choice.
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