One of the defining aspects of the 21st century is the evolution of the digital world. People can now communicate in a variety of different ways, such as through SMS, email, webchat, and social media.
Businesses are not immune to the changing times and must adapt to keep up. In fact, a Microsoft study found that 74% of millennials expressed an improved perception of a brand that is responsive on social media. It also stated how 79% of millennials have a more favorable view of brands with a mobile-responsive customer support portal. This just goes to show how expectations have transformed along with technological innovation.
Something that brands know well at this point is the need to provide exceptional customer service. A good way to do this is through omnichannel contact centers. An omnichannel contact center incorporates the technology that customers have come to love and rely on.
What Exactly Is an Omnichannel Contact Center?
An omnichannel contact center is a platform that seamlessly blends together all forms of business communication so agents can provide customer service across multiple channels.
With omnichannel software, agents are able to have conversations and share information in real-time over the phone, webchat, email, SMS, mobile apps, and social media. Agents can easily move between channels, since all channels are synced in the platform, and efficiently help customers on any channel at any given moment.
One of the most important things about an omnichannel contact center is that it allows customers to receive service through their preferred method rather than being limited to phone calls. Research shows that Nine out of ten customers want omnichannel service with seamless service between communication methods. This provides a higher level of customer service by offering a personalized experience.
An omnichannel platform also gives agents access to customers’ conversation history, as all interactions are compiled into one accessible interface. For example, a customer may be having an issue with logging into a previously created account and turn to the AI-powered online chat to resolve the problem. When the chat fails to be able to help then the customer is given the option to talk with a live agent. The agent can then effortlessly take over, with access to the customer’s data and a record of the chat before the agent stepped in.
Omnichannel only benefits a company, as businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates in comparison to those that don’t. This means more opportunities for higher sales.
The Difference Between Multichannel and Omnichannel
Oftentimes the term multichannel pops up along with omnichannel and they may be used interchangeably, but it is important to note that the two do not mean the same thing. A multichannel contact center is very similar to an omnichannel contact center in terms of letting customers connect to a company through multiple channels, but multichannel is not integrated in the same way as an omnichannel platform is.
Agents are not able to switch as easily between channels to facilitate customer service in a multichannel contact center. Generally, an agent will be assigned to monitor and respond to communications from one channel, whereas an omnichannel contact center allows agents to interact with customers from all channels available.
This also means that agents in a multichannel contact center do not have access to customer information across channels. So, a customer may originally have sent in an email about an issue they are having, with an agent working on it behind the scene, and then the customer hops onto the online chat and starts talking to another agent. The agent on the chat will have no way to see the email and the customer will have to start over with describing their issue.
This is one way that information silos are created and an omnichannel platform helps resolve this problem, so customers are not kept waiting due to poor communication and agents are able to save time to help more customers. Overall, an omnichannel contact center is much more effective at providing excellent customer service.
The Features of an Omnichannel Contact Center
When a high-quality omnichannel contact center is in place, customers appreciate the type of service they are receiving and are much more likely to become brand loyal. Agents also become more productive and it’s a win-win for both the agent and the customer. So, what features make the omnichannel contact center what it is? Here are some listed out.
- Intelligent Routing
With multiple channels for communication, it is important that inbound requests are routed to the correct place. It is very irritating for the customer when they are connected with the wrong agent, and it’s even worse if the customer keeps getting shuffled around before finally reaching the right person.
Intelligent routing offers automatic call distribution so inbound calls are automatically routed to the right person depending on preset criteria, such as agents skills or customer profile. Automated responses can also be set up on channels, such as webchat, to let customers know their message has been received and an agent is working on the problem and will be with them shortly.
- Data Collection Across the Customer Journey
Collecting data is an essential aspect of business. Data allows a business to have a more comprehensive understanding of their customers so they can tailor their services for a better, more personalized experience. Learn information such as which channels customers connect through the most frequently and the types of issues they may be having so the company can work towards resolving the most common ones so they never become a problem in the first place.
- Performance and KPI Reporting
An omnichannel contact center also gives insight into how well agents are performing and a department as a whole. Choose from pre-made or customizable templates for reporting so you can pick which metrics you wish to track and how you want to receive this information.
KPIs that an omnichannel contact center can provide are first contact resolution rates, average call length, how many people are reaching out through a particular channel, number of contacts for a particular length of time (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), hold times, abandonment rates, and CSAT scores.
- Channel Integration and Unified Desktop
With technology constantly changing, evolving, and adapting then more channels will naturally be created in time and customers will expect businesses to use them, and this software makes it very easy to add them to the omnichannel. As a business adds new channels for customers to connect on, they will be automatically integrated into the existing system within an omnichannel contact center so there are no interruptions to the workflow.
An omnichannel platform also gives agents access to a desktop that has been optimally designed with them in mind. Instead of having to switch between multiple screens and browsers, all cross-channel communications can be seen from a single location so conversations are not disrupted.
Without a doubt, omnichannel contact centers are the way to go. So, be sure to check out LiveVox for all your contact center needs! Our omnichannel platform offers a unified customer experience to give your customers the choice of their preferred method of communication for higher customer satisfaction and increased revenue.