In today’s digital age, your customers want flexibility, choices and convenience when contacting your business.
Customers have high expectations, and they expect to be able to reach your brand via social media, SMS, chat, and even video.
However, it’s not enough to just set up these different channels.
Siloed communication channels will only lead to a frustrating and disjointed customer experience. Enter the omnichannel contact center – a powerful way to integrate your communication channels.
This article will explore everything you need to know about omnichannel contact centers. Is it different from multi-channel? How can it benefit your business? And finally, we’ll cover what features you should look for when investing in a contact center solution and the cost.
What Is An Omnichannel Contact Center?
An omnichannel contact center solution is a platform that allows customers to reach out to a business through multiple communication channels. The communication channels are all integrated and can be managed from one centralized platform. Channels include phone, email, chat, social media and more.
An omnichannel approach allows organizations to provide a consistent customer experience no matter how your clients reach out. It's all about making it convenient for customers to interact with you and providing excellent customer support.
With omnichannel contact centers, you can:
- Have context for interactions: Enable agents to see customer history and previous interactions, no matter the channel.
- Provide consistent service: Deliver a uniform experience across all communication channels.
- Get a 360-degree view: Collect data across all communication channels. Gain a complete picture of customer information, preferences and needs.
- Route interactions more effectively: Route calls to the best-skilled agent or correct department for the query.
- Gain performance insights: Monitor and track interactions across channels and identify trends and areas for improvement.
Omnichannel vs. Multi-Channel: What’s The Difference?
Imagine a customer starts a conversation with an agent via Facebook Messenger. Later they follow up on the inquiry via email.
In a multichannel contact center, the agent handling the query over email wouldn't see the previous messenger conversation. The customer would need to restart and give the same information again. This type of disjointed experience is among the top frustrations that customers have today.
With an omnichannel contact center, the agent could see the customer's social media conversation and seamlessly continue the conversation over email. Omnichannel is a customer-centric approach. It focuses on delivering a personalized and consistent experience across all traditional and digital channels.
Here are some key differences between omnichannel and multichannel contact centers:
Why Is Omnichannel Important In A Contact Center?
Smart businesses recognize that customers use more communication methods than ever, and their expectations are high. 40% of consumers usethree or more communication channels to reach a company’s customer service team. Knowing this, you may consider adding new communication channels to your service strategy.
It is important to note that adding more channels isn’t automatically going to create a better customer experience. An omnichannel strategy becomes increasingly important as you add more modes of communication.
You need to ensure that the service you offer through those channels is seamless. Because the reality is that 90% of consumers expect consistent interactions across channels. Companies that fail to meet these expectations can quickly fall behind.
Features To Look For In an Omnichannel Contact Center
When implementing an omnichannel strategy, you must first understand the essential features. Here are the key features to look out for to maximize your investment:
Cloud-based contact center solutions offer many benefits. Including:
- Greater Scalability: With cloud solutions, scaling users and features up and down is quick and easy.
- Work from anywhere: Agents can work from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Cost Savings: Cloud-based contact centers require less upfront investment in hardware and infrastructure.
- Automatic updates and maintenance: Cloud-based contact center providers handle updates and maintenance for you, reducing the need for IT resources.
- Robust security: Providers monitor and update security features and protocols regularly.
- Better disaster recovery and business continuity: Operations can continue even in the event of an outage or disaster.
Multiple Integrated Communication Channels
Not only do your customers want different options when contacting you, they also want the interactions to be consistent and seamless.
Customers shouldn't experience a difference in service or information when they reach out through different methods. Thanks to integrated channels, your customer service team can have visibility over all channels and interactions. With this insight, they can provide consistent, quick and efficient service. It doesn't matter if customers reach out via telephone, email, live chat, or social media.
Part of providing a great customer experience is getting customers to the right agent quickly and efficiently. No one wants to wait on for long periods without getting their questions answered. In fact, 83% of customers expect to speak with someone from the company immediately.
Contact centers have intelligent routing options that help meet this expectation. Inquiries can be resolved quickly when you route them to agents with the necessary skills and experience.
Related: 12 Best Practices for Call Queue Management
Chatbots and Automation
Look for solutions that have integrated chatbots that can handle routine tasks for you. This includes answering common questions or scheduling appointments.
More customers also want the ability to have 24/7 self-service options. You can empower your customers to resolve their questions or issues through chatbots. It turns out that 74% of customers prefer chatbots over live agents to solve their queries. It is no surprise, then, that chatbots are the fastest-growing communication tool.
Analytics And Reporting
Use analytics tools to track key performance indicators (KPIs). Relevant KPIs include interaction volume, average handle time, first-interaction resolution, customer satisfaction and more. With this information, you can continuously drive contact center improvement.
Analytics and reporting tools also allow you to dig deeper. Suppose you notice that there’s been an increase in average handle time. These tools can help you to drill down into the data and identify the root cause.
Perhaps it’s inefficient workflows or agents taking too much time on certain types of inquiries. By identifying the underlying reason, you can make targeted improvements to improve efficiency.
Agent and Workforce Management Tools
To keep your contact center running smoothly, agent and workforce management tools are essential. Consider tools that help you organize agent schedules and coach agents to improve their performance.
Key agent and workforce management features include:
- Real-time monitoring and whisper: Listen in on conversations between agents and callers and whisper helpful tips.
- Barge: Participate in a conversation between agents and callers.
- Multi-channel Recordings: Listen or review past interactions across channels and pinpoint areas for improvement
- Scheduling: Create and manage agent schedules. View call volume, peak hours and agent availability to ensure adequate levels of staff.
Having a contact center solution that integrates with your existing systems and tools is critical. Integrations with your customer relationships management (CRM) system, marketing automation platform and other software applications can help you streamline operations and boost productivity. Choosing a contact center solution that supports the specific integrations your business relies on is essential.
The Benefits Of An Omnichannel Contact Center
The powerful capabilities of omnichannel contact centers can transform your organization. Here are some of the top benefits of an omnichannel contact center.
Meet and Exceed Customer Demands
Customer experience is all about giving your clients convenience, speed and personalization. An omnichannel contact center lets you meet customer needs and expectations. By providing multiple channels to connect on, you ensure that your customers can reach you in ways that are most convenient and comfortable for them.
Provide Seamless Customer Experiences
Customers increasingly want all their interactions with a company to tie together. And 83% of customers say they’re more loyal to companies that provide consistency across departments
With an omnichannel contact center, all of your customer's information is accessible from one place. Regardless of how clients contact your business, your team will have a complete history of their interactions. The agent will be better prepared for any interaction on any platform. This not only makes for a more personalized experience but also helps to prevent confusion or miscommunications.
Increase Customer Retention and Loyalty
With the endless choices available to consumers today, developing customer loyalty is essential. Investing in new customers can be up to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Quality service can strengthen your relationships with customers and foster greater loyalty. Three out of five customers report that good service is essential to feeling loyal to a brand.
Increased Sales And Revenue
By providing excellent service, you can increase your chances of making a sale. Additionally, satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your business to others. Companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies see a 10% year-over-year growth. Their order value increases by 10%, and they also see a 25% increase in close rates.
A Better Agent Experience
Having all communication centralized in one place makes it easier for your team to manage customer inquiries. They do not need to switch between software and applications to manage interactions. With everything in one place, your team can focus on providing the best customer service possible. Additionally, workforce management tools that help with coaching, or wrap up times make for a more positive work environment.
Better Data Collection And Analysis
An omnichannel contact center lets you capture customer data across all your communication channels. This provides a 360-degree view of the customer, allowing you to understand their needs and preferences. With this information, you can make decisions that can improve your customer service, products, and interactions.
Omnichannel Contact Centers: What Are The Costs?
Compared to traditional on-premise contact centers, cloud-based solutions can be a much more cost-effective option. Cloud-based solutions allow you to bypass the need to purchase expensive hardware, software, maintenance and upgrades. Instead, a service provider handles all of this for you.
Cloud based contact centers also typically work on a subscription model, where you pay for usage and/or users. This means it’s easy to add users and features and scale usage up an down. Expenses become more predictable this way.
Overall, while there may be an initial investment when transitioning to a cloud-based omnichannel contact center, the long-term cost savings and scalability make it a smart choice for businesses looking to improve their customer experience while reducing costs.
Adopting an omnichannel contact center approach can be a game-changing business decision. By leveraging cloud-based solutions, you can maximize resources and improve your bottom line. Omnichannel contact centers give organizations the ability to handle multiple channels and create the type of seamless customer experience that your clients want. There is no doubt that omnichannel is the way to stand out in today’s competitive environment. It is a win-win for both businesses and their customers.
Want to see how an omnichannel contact center can work for your business? Learn more about net2phone’s omnichannel contact center and discover how we can help you provide exceptional customer experiences. Take the first step towards elevating your customer service here.