Delivering the Omnichannel Experience, for Real
The omnichannel contact center doesn't have to be a pipe dream.
As millions of people do every year, I recently lost a credit card.
I went to my bank's website to search for a phone number to call. As I was navigating through the website a chat screen popped up... "My name is Jason. How can I help you?"
I spent seven minutes with Jason, providing my name, email address, and scrambling through old credit card statements for the account number (because I had lost the card) before we finally got down to the issue, which was to cancel the card and reverse any fraudulent charges.
To my surprise, Jason wrote: "Sir, you are going to have to call our call center and select the option for the fraud department."
I asked Jason, being an agent in the call center, if he could simply call me, so I would not have to start all over again with a different agent. He said he couldn't call me, because he was using the bank's chat application and could not take or make phone calls. So, I reluctantly called the 1-800 number and navigated the bank's IVR. Once again, I provided my account information, answered verification questions, and spent another 5 minutes waiting so I could simply speak to someone who was probably sitting within 10 feet of Jason.
What a waste of time and money to give me what, ultimately, was a poor customer experience.
Poor MultiChannel Experiences Multiplied a Billion Times
Unfortunately, my experience, in one form or another, is played out millions, maybe even billions, of times a year across the globe. It is a sad state when different agents have to ask the same questions and customers have to repeat themselves. Such inefficiency not only destroys customer satisfaction, but also drives up the costs of contact centers. This world in which we live needs fixing.
The majority of contact centers are in their omnichannel infancies, as 87% of executives say they are struggling to provide efficient and effective service across channels. And, every time a contact center adds another channel to the mix, whether email, chat, SMS, or social, inevitably its customer satisfaction declines, while average handle time (AHT) and costs increase. Meantime, contact center leaders are scratching their heads, asking themselves, "Why?"
Why Is Creating a Seamless Omnichannel Customer Experience So Difficult?
That omnichannel is so difficult stems from most contact centers' reliance on disparate customer relationship management (CRM) and communications platforms. Communications platform providers such as Genesys, Cisco, Avaya, Interactive Intelligence and others are fantastic at optimizing the telephony infrastructure, ACD/PBX, IVR, outbound dialers, workforce management, and so on. The CRM platform, be that from Oracle, Salesforce.com, or another provider, sits on the other side of the contact center and is critical to creating one view of the customer, knowledge, incident and workflow management, and integrating digital interactions.
These disparate platforms implicitly drive not only channel technology silos, but also operational silos, with the vast majority of contact centers organized into pooled channel teams (the chat team, email team, phone team, etc.). These technology and operational silos are really the main challenge to enabling an omnichannel experience for customers.
To create a true omnichannel experience, contact centers need to integrate these two platforms on the front and back ends. Once such integration is in place, context can transfer along with a customer from one channel to the next.
Continue to Page 2 for more on solving the omnichannel challenge