The complete guide to omnichannel contact centers

by Andy Nguyen
omnichannel contact center

Today customers value convenience. They want to interact with companies using their preferred channels, such as social media, phone calls, email, or live chat.

And that’s where an omnichannel contact center comes into the picture. 

An omnichannel contact center can integrate multiple communication channels into a single platform for efficient customer service. With features like quality management and omnichannel routing, you can streamline the customer experience with ease.

In this article, we’ll discuss what an omnichannel contact center is and highlight its top five features. We’ll also cover its key benefits and provide three simple tips for operating an omnichannel contact center.

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What is an omnichannel contact center?

An omnichannel contact center helps connect customers to a company across various channels, merging and organizing communication under a single platform. For this, it uses cloud-based solutions to handle and store customer conversations.

In the past, customers couldn’t switch between various channels to address their concerns. But with the help of contact center technology, customer support has now become more convenient and streamlined. 

Your business can get actionable insights into customers’ needs and expectations by accessing all available data from various channels like social media, email, web chat, calls, etc. 

Why is this important?

A contact center agent can use an omnichannel solution to move between different channels effortlessly and respond to customers in the contact channel they prefer. 

An omnichannel strategy will help you create a path for a smooth customer journey and move ahead of the competition when done correctly. 

Multichannel vs. omnichannel contact centers

While they share some similarities, some fundamental differences exist between a multichannel approach and omnichannel contact centers. 

Here are some of the ways they differ:

Multichannel Contact CenterOmnichannel Contact Center
Supports digital channels like chat, SMS, and social media, but  you have to manage each channel independently. Offers various digital channels but unifies communication across all channels and devices.
Each communication channel functions in isolation.Integrates all the communication channels.
Customers might have to repeat everything if the digital channel resets.Records the customer’s previous interaction even if the point of contact breaks.
Agents have access to only a single channel of customer interaction. 

For example, if an agent connects to a customer through email, they are usually unaware of their previous communication through other channels.
Agents have access to all the touchpoints in the customer’s journey. 

For example, if a customer calls in, the support agent can access previous emails, inbound and outbound calls, etc. 

Top 5 features of an omnichannel contact center  

It’s no surprise that customers and agents prefer an omnichannel approach. 

However, omnichannel contact centers rely on software solutions to function. Its technology makes it possible to combine all communication channels into one platform. 

Here are some of the top features your omnichannel contact center should have:

1. Centralized data management 

To be successful, an omnichannel contact center needs a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution to centralize data management

Not only will this save your agent from information overload, but it’ll also equip them to solve customer’s problems better because they can easily access all the information they need. 

Ultimately, making customer data easily accessible will result in a better agent experience, improve customer service, and increase agent productivity. 

Having a CRM platform that compiles all the customer interaction data on a single screen enables your team to provide an improved customer experience with less effort.

2. Quality and performance management

You can’t improve the customer experience without investing in the performance of your customer support team. For that, you need to track and measure individual metrics of your support team frequently.

Quality and performance management tools give you access to the data you need to train and improve your agents’ productivity. 

With an omni channel customer service platform, you can monitor scorecards, call transcripts, and track agent performance. By gaining insight into an agent’s daily performance and history, supervisors can see where customer service agents need to improve. 

With an omnichannel contact center, you get a good idea of your support team’s performance. An exceptional contact center monitors data across all channels for easy reporting.

You just have to pick what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you want to measure. It can be CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) scores, FCR (First Call Resolution), etc. You can set a benchmark for these and generate reports for your entire workforce regularly. 

This way, you can analyze an agent’s productivity, rate of improvement, whether they need more training, etc. 

By gathering all the intel from a single omnichannel platform, you can make informed decisions on streamlining operations and improving agent productivity.

3. Cloud architecture

Work from home culture was relatively uncommon in the customer service sector before the Coronavirus outbreak. Since then, it has become the norm.

Companies had to abandon the hard-wired system fixed to office desks for a more flexible approach. Cloud-based services met the need for flexibility by enabling agents to connect to the omnichannel contact center from anywhere. 

If you’re interested in an omnichannel platform, a cloud-based omnichannel contact center is the best solution. 

Moving your contact center to an omnichannel cloud platform will make it easy for you to manage data and applications across multiple channels. You can also integrate customer relationships and management teams on the cloud quite easily.

Additionally, you can quickly scale a cloud contact center to handle higher volume interactions if required.

4. Omnichannel routing

Omnichannel routing is a method of cleverly directing customer queries across a diverse range of service channels. 

When your business operates on an omnichannel platform, your agents will interact with customers in multiple ways. Omnichannel routing assures that the interaction goes to the right agent with the help of AI-powered automatic contact distributors. 

The query can be routed through email, text messaging, social media, video calls, and webchat. 

After all, if a customer gets transferred repeatedly, they may leave the platform altogether feeling frustrated and dissatisfied. An omnichannel solution ensures that they are assigned correctly at the first attempt.

5. Social media communication

Social media can be a hassle or an opportunity for your organization, depending on how you use it. 

Today, customers have started using it to contact companies because it’s a channel of communication that they’re very comfortable with. 

An omnichannel contact center solution will help by integrating all your social media channels into a single dashboard. Your agents can then track every customer’s social media message or post regarding your company and solve their issues quickly.

5 key benefits of an omnichannel contact center

An omnichannel customer service approach is beneficial for your company, customers, and contact center agents.

Here are some of the advantages:

1. Reduce agent effort and improve productivity

Contact centers can experience issues like low job satisfaction, excessive stress, lack of recognition, and reduced productivity.

Here’s how an omnichannel customer experience can alleviate these:

  • Omnichannel communication is integrated into one platform, so agents only need to access one program, and they can view all information needed for a specific customer. 
  • Because this method is more convenient and streamlined than a traditional contact center, agents can resolve customer queries quickly and effectively. This improves employee productivity and reduces customer frustration. 
  • If you keep your customers happy, they won’t respond aggressively towards your company and customer experience professionals.
  • Happier customers mean employees won’t have to constantly deal with negative calls. This will reduce employee stress and increase job satisfaction.

2. Manage social media presence

An omnichannel contact center solution can help you identify and respond to posts (and mentions) on social media platforms. 

A contact center with an omnichannel experience can also route social media posts directly from your company’s profile page.

Connecting social media with your omnichannel contact center and making it accessible via phone, email, and SMS communications will ensure a seamless customer experience across the board. 

It will also allow you to quickly address comments that may hurt your company image by alerting you when a customer mentions your company name online.

3. Improved analytics

Modern businesses in almost every industry understand the importance of AI (Artificial Intelligence), and data is crucial for AI.

An omnichannel experience can help you delve deep into customer data (for example, email address, contact numbers, physical address, previous interactions, etc.) because all data is available in one place. 

Most omnichannel contact center software, like Genesys Cloud, also offers predictive analytics to help you anticipate customer needs. 

All these improved analytics will help your business to identify patterns in customer’s behavior. You can use these patterns to provide better customer service and increase customer engagement.

4. Cost-effective and efficient

With an omnichannel contact center, you don’t need to hire dedicated employees for each communication channel; you just need one team to handle all your communication. 

For example, in the traditional contact center, you’d need agents dedicated to incoming calls, others handling emails, others handling web chat, etc. Agents in an omnichannel contact center can access and handle any of these incoming communications.

This way, you can avoid hiring multiple agents for each communication channel and save money. 

5. Streamlined customer experience

A significant benefit of an omnichannel contact center is that it provides a superior customer experience that’s smooth and streamlined. 

Your omnichannel contact center does this by providing a seamless, all-in-one contact center solution.

Because agents have all the necessary information at their fingertips, they can resolve customer issues on the spot. This improves customer satisfaction by limiting call hold times and practically eliminating repeat queries. 

Using an omnichannel contact center also puts your agents in a more informed position as they have access to customer profiles and previous interactions (phone calls, video chat, etc.). This way, agents can provide each customer with a personalized experience and improve your company’s customer retention rates. 

3 simple tips For successful omnichannel contact center operations

Here are some tips to help make your omnichannel contact center successful:

1. Maintain consistency across channels

Regardless of the number of channels you offer to your customers, they expect a consistent experience across channels. 

However, many businesses struggle to provide the same speed of service on multiple platforms.

Although sometimes the issues might differ in complexity and take more time than usual, you should respond to customers quickly, regardless of the platform. 

For example, each time a customer contacts, you could send out a standard automated response, no matter what communication channel they use. You could commit to getting back to each customer within a certain amount of time, like 24 hours.

Providing a consistent experience will foster positive customer opinions about the company. It will also help improve customer loyalty and build a positive brand image.

2. Track customer’s journey across all channels

The course a customer takes through a website or an app reveals a lot about their intentions. With these details in hand, your agent can provide superior customer service and meaningful customer experience solutions.

For example, if your agent is aware of the product the customer was browsing before coming on the chat or call, the agent can help with product information or upsell some of your products.

Additionally, with the latest screen share features available on most omnichannel platforms, agents can guide customers through self-service features. 

3. Evaluate customer feedback and adjust processes 

With time, technology changes, and so do customer preferences. To keep pace with such changes, a contact center must collect customer feedback. 

You could ask customers to complete a survey or rate your service at the end of each interaction. You can then use this information to adjust and improve your processes. 

Final thoughts

An omnichannel contact center can help cater to the changing needs of the modern customer. 

You’ll be able to handle customer interactions across the channels they prefer — be it social media, emails, chatbots, or traditional phone calls. 
And while adopting an omnichannel approach can seem challenging, you can use the tips we covered here to navigate the terrain with ease. Paired with the right software like CRMs and analytics tools, you’ll be able to streamline your contact center processes quickly.

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