December 31, 2015
As contact centers continue their reach-out to make themselves all things to all customers, one idea getting a closer look is that of becoming “omni-channel.” While many call centers like to consider themselves multi-channel – that is, offering numerous options and ways for customers to reach them – they need to consider that those same customers are miles ahead of them. Hence, they need to go “omni-channel.”
In a recent blog post, U.K. Tech Writer Clare Angood took a deep dive on the issue and came up with some good point on why the move makes sense.
“At the time the term ‘omni-channel’ entered the customer service lexicon, most industry professionals were still getting to grips with its predecessor, multi-channel,” she wrote. “It should be no surprise, then, that many continue to see it as little more than an outgrowth of that. When they think omni-channel, they think multi-channel with panache. And yet it’s so much more than that.”
Angood notes that omni-channel is a new way of building a relationship between consumer and brand, and one that’s “becoming more and more important as the digital revolution gathers pace.”
She cites a recent Xerox survey that found some 54 percent of consumers would be willing to spend more if it meant getting better customer service. So the desire is there; businesses just need to step up to meet it. So what exactly is the difference between the two?
“In the multi-channel paradigm, success meant being able to deal with one problem using your call center, another through your mobile app, another in social media and so on,” Angood says. “To make the move to omni-channel, you need to stop thinking in silos about the support pages on your website or the specific call center software you use. The customer should come first, and you should recognize them as a single person regardless of channel.”
But an omni-channel contact center also needs to be seamless.
“When the customer makes the leap from one channel to another – from a community forum to a call with an agent, for example – there should be no noticeable disconnect,” she suggests. “The agent should know exactly where they are in their journey, what their query is and why it hasn’t been solved yet.”
So the work CAN be done, but it will take a commitment on the part of the contact center. The payoff will be happier, more loyal customers.