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Your company’s contact center is so much more than a communication channel with your customers. It’s a powerful tool you can use to provide the best customer experience around – and help your business grow through improved customer retention. Consider that 96 percent of people believe customer service is important in shaping their loyalty to a brand, and 8 in 10 consumers are willing to switch companies due to poor customer service.
So, how do you provide excellent customer experience through your contact center? These days, customers expect a seamless omnichannel experience, so you need an omnichannel contact center. Consider this interesting stat:
“Companies with well-defined omnichannel customer experience management achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate, compared to companies without omnichannel programs.” – Aberdeen Group
The traditional contact center offered just one channel – phone calls. The omnichannel contact center lets customers communicate with your company via whichever channel they prefer. This includes phone calls, social media, email, text, video and live chat.
An omnichannel contact center is a way to offer a consistent customer experience to all customers regardless of the method or device they use to communicate with your company.
You may often hear about the “multichannel” center. This means that a company’s customers can reach out to the company via multiple channels. Pretty similar to omnichannel, right? But there’s a caveat here: with the multichannel approach, every communication channel is a silo. It works on its own, with its own team, system, and messaging.
Omnichannel, on the other hand, ensures all channels are integrated and unified. All service agents have access to the same information and customer interactions. The strategy is the same across channels. There’s usually a system that offers a unified customer view – a way to keep all important information about a customer, and their customer journey, in a single place.
Out of the two, customers and agents seem to prefer the omnichannel platform approach. Here are a few reasons why:
So, it’s a win-win: customers are more satisfied and your contact center is more efficient. Not to mention, you’ll have access to better analytics.
Luckily, the trend of customer opinions on omnichannel contact centers seems positive: 66 percent of consumers believe that customer service is getting better. However, it’s not improving on its own. It takes time and effort to build a great omnichannel experience. Here are 7 ways you can boost your omnichannel contact center’s performance.
The customer journey is the collection of interactions and touchpoints customers go through to buy your products or services – and beyond. Mapping this journey will help you understand customer behavior and needs.
For example, you’ll be able to identify which communication channels your customers prefer depending on the issue, when channels overlap, how customers feel about your website or support (e.g. via sentiment analysis), and which improvements to make when providing service across multiple channels.
This way you can better personalize your interactions with customers, as well as determine when to implement automated solutions, like chatbots, self-service support, etc.
An omnichannel contact center needs to be supported by a full-blown omnichannel approach across the whole company, e.g. marketing and sales. So, sit down with all leaders in different departments and determine:
After you have all these down, sit with your customer support agents and communicate the plan. Listen to their feedback and discuss their own personal goals.
No matter how great your contact center solutions or contact center technology are, excellent customer service still hinges on the employee who picks up the customer request ticket. They are the face of your company, the ones who have direct communication with customers, and the ones who can turn a negative customer experience on its head.
Schedule regular training to help employees navigate through software and understand the nuances of omnichannel communication. Make sure you conduct a training needs analysis, use a variety of communication methods to keep your team engaged, and measure the effects of your training efforts. You could even stage role-playing scenarios and point out the differences between each interaction. If you want more tips on customer service training, read our guide.
Cloud systems have been making their way into contact centers for several years now according to research by the Aberdeen Group. If your contact center still doesn’t use cloud technology, or only partially uses it, maybe it’s time to invest more.
The benefits include cost reduction, increased uptime, access to better technology, and more – for example, 70% of cloud contact center users cite security and compliance as a reason to invest in cloud technology.
So, talk to IT experts about what it takes to implement new technology in your omnichannel contact center. This way, all communication channels, such as social media, live chat, etc. will be unified in the cloud.
Following up on the cloud implementation, there are a number of software solutions that could help with this overhaul. But, which is best for your company? Even if you currently have cloud software, you might be missing out on others that better serve the needs of an omnichannel contact center. So, ask yourself:
Answer any other questions that are relevant to your contact center. At the very least, you’ll need software that provides a unified customer view, so you can maintain data integrity and consistency across channels. You’ll also need an omnichannel platform that supports various methods of communication, from call to web chat. Live chat is becoming more and more popular, so you certainly need tools to streamline the process of fielding chat requests and keeping track of multiple conversations.
This is relevant if you’re building up your call center to become omnichannel. You may have a great omnichannel strategy or the best software, but you still need to employ a bit of change management. Employees won’t be used to fielding multiple chats, audio calls, video calls, and social media customer service requests all at once.
So, here are few ideas:
If customers can solve basic issues on their own, it’s a win-win: customers are satisfied with continuing to use your products or services, and your team will be freed up to handle more complex requests.
An easy way to build self-service solutions is AI chatbots. These bots will be connected to your knowledge base and will provide answers to predictable customer queries. Be careful though: According to a 2019 research, companies made the mistake of implementing AI-driven technology too quickly without thinking of their customer needs or connecting the bots to other channels. That left customer satisfaction out. And of course, it didn’t offer an omnichannel experience.
So, choose a platform that offers chatbots, but make sure you listen to your customers and consider the best use cases. Use CSAT surveys (your customer success team should be on it) and check on how customers benefit from your implemented technology.
And that’s a point we need to emphasize some more. An omnichannel strategy works only if your customers think it works. Implement ways to collect customer feedback, and keep it in a centralized location where every department can benefit. NPS or other types of surveys will do the trick – just make sure you optimize your surveys by planning and analyzing properly, checking validity and reliability, and applying best practices.
Once you have a high-quality omnichannel contact center in place, you can expect that customer satisfaction line to start trending upwards.