The Omni Channel Contact Center refers to the delivery of a fully connected customer experience across all communication channels, which include the telephone, email, Web, IVR, chat, social media, texting and mobile applications. While this is the goal for customer service, most customer support organizations still struggle to support an integrated multi-channel customer experience that does not fully connect the customer across all communication channels. Customers’ preference for non-voice channels is evident by the recent Dimension Data’s 2013/14 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report @Dimension Data 2009-2013. This report found that the phone was the channel of last resort when all else fails. However, the number of telephone customer support agents continues to grow because brands do not offer satisfactory support over self-service channels, which makes customers place a call by default.
The high growth channels of choice for consumers are smartphone applications, social media, such as Twitter or Facebook or interactive Web dialog. Frequently, brands provide support for these channels in their marketing departments and support is isolated or only partially integrated into the contact center operations. This may result in inconsistent service delivery, as customer applications and content management systems are not shared fully among support groups. When a customer cannot easily engage with a brand over preferred newer channels, they resort to the most expensive channel, live telephone support.
Moving customers to an integrated omni-channel experience requires updating legacy technology and integrating customer facing applications to support the newer channels. Cloud solutions often enable change to occur more quickly and allow brands to retain existing infrastructure, while adding new support capabilities. Creating intuitive web self-service and social media experience encourages more customers to use these channels exclusively. To transition customer to fully engage with a brand using web self-service CSRs need to encourage customers to go to the web site and walk them through the transaction. While this may be more time consuming initially, it will reduce talk time and shift customer’s behavior. Contact centers that consider the telephone as their primary channel are out of sync with what their customers want from a brand. Innovative brands already know this and the majority of other brands need to quickly catch up.
"Online Communities Offer Amazing Customer Care" by Elizabeth Herrell