This is the first of a series on omni-channel contact center communications in the cloud.
Omni-channel contact center communications means more than offering multiple channels. It means sharing information between those channels, and using business intelligence to offer the customer the best experience in the channel they prefer, be it email, chat, voice, SMS, or social. In this article we’ll explore who can benefit from omni-channel communications in a unified cloud environment.
Growing Companies Need Omni-Channel Contact Centers
Companies can grow so fast that the call center infrastructure they started out with just can’t keep up. Adding more hardware isn’t a silver bullet if it can’t deal with increased call volume or support newer technologies. In addition to traditional voice interactions, call centers are increasingly being asked to handle inbound web chat, email, and social media channels as well. Adding these services can be especially challenging while the business is also trying to keep up with growth. Cloud-based omni-channel contact centers are designed to be integrated with new technologies as they are developed and needed.
If you are training new agents to handle increased call volume, and at the same time training them on all the new channels they need to use, training can quickly be added to your list of challenges. This is where having a unified cloud environment can make a huge difference. Having a unified environment for your omni-channel contact center will make training so much easier for your agents, as they will have only one interface to learn. At the same time, cloud solutions are scalable, making it easy for your contact center to grow.
Companies Opening New Markets Need Omni-Channel Contact Centers
While your existing customers may have been happy with voice, mobile customers are used to interacting via text, chat, email, and social, as well as voice. Many companies can support multiple channels, but their contact center systems cannot support sharing information across these channels. Customers want a consistent experience across each channel. If they have to start over when switching between channels, it can lead to frustration for them and missed sales opportunities for your business.
In an omni-channel contact center environment, no matter what channel a customer chooses, agents can see all relevant customer data collected from every channel. For example, if a customer orders a product via the voice channel, and then later calls the service center about an issue, the agent taking that call can see information related to all previous interactions with that customer. This allows them to deliver prompt, personalized, and relevant support. Since this data is all captured in the same environment, it can be used for analytics to help your agents and overall contact center perform better.
Agent Productivity Issues? You Need an Omni-Channel Contact Center
An agent trained across multiple channels can multi-task with multiple customers at once, making them more productive. As customers trend towards less reliance on voice and move toward other channels of communication, it becomes even more necessary for agents to handle multiple channels.
An omni-channel cloud contact center solution with a universal queue or skills or performance-based distribution can ensure the agent with the most appropriate skill set or performance record gets each call. Such a system can also let you know the origin, hold time, and length of calls across all channels, so you get a better handle on which channels your customers use to contact your company over time. This allows you to adjust your resources accordingly, and reduce the number of repeat calls on particular issues.
A unified omni-channel contact center environment is also important in making your agents more productive. Without a unified environment, an agent has to jump from app to app, reducing their productivity and making it hard to multi-task effectively. This also makes it easier to train agents on new channels as they are added, because the channel is being added to an interface they are already familiar with.
Multiple Channels but Not Omni-Channel?
Often companies start out with voice, and add new channels over time as needed. This piecemeal approach can leave your business with communications channels that aren’t being used as effectively or strategically as they should be. This is where an omni-channel contact center approach comes in, as you can add an over-arching cloud solution to unify the various channels you already have. Then you can add additional channels under the same umbrella.
The call center analytics provided by a cloud-based call center can also help you understand when you need to add new channels, and what types of channels they should be. Customer interaction analytics could let you know, for example, that long average handle times might best be handled by adding a web chat channel.
The omni-channel contact center unified environment will then allow you to have uniform reporting across different systems. This will allow you to not only see how resources are being used across channels, but also how communications are improving across the enterprise.
If Good Customer Service a Priority — You Need an Omni-Channel Contact Center
Offering good customer services is key to any business. To bring your customer service to the next level, you want give to your customers the flexibility to interact with your business however they prefer. While a majority of interactions still happen over voice, most customers still prefer vendors that offer multiple channels. An omni-channel contact center solution will allow you to strategically offer the right channels to your customers, while simultaneously making it easier (via a unified experience) for your agents to handle multiple channels efficiently.
A unified experience minimizes the number of applications an agent needs to have on their desktop, while potentially providing them with more information. For example, in a cloud-based call center system that is integrated with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, CRM data can let the agent know which products a customer has, where they are at in the product lifecycle, and other relevant information about that customer. This empowers the agent to provide the best possible customer support. A cloud-based omni-channel contact center allows you to leverage all the customer information you have to provide the best possible customer experience.
In summary, a wide variety of companies need an omni-channel contact center in a unified environment. Most customers engage with companies multiple times in multiple ways. Having a cloud contact center system ensures you will be able to add and integrate these new channels as they become accepted and when you need them.
Read more about omni-channel contact centers in the cloud.
Learn more about the demand for next generation contact centers.