How customer service is changing over time
Few things are as frustrating to a customer, when trying to contact customer support, as having to repeat details of their issue to each agent they speak with. Even today, customers can get stuck in an endless loop, being switched from agent to agent and having to recap all their previous interactions, before they are able to resolve an issue. While this might have been the common practice even a few years ago, customers expect a more seamless experience and are happy to switch loyalties if they have a bad experience.
But when you take into account the number of ways to reach a company’s customer support – across phone, email, social media like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, support tickets and chat, agents need a single point of information, where information is aggregated from across channels and presented as a complete history of each customer. That’s what omnichannel contact center software does.
What is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel is a cross-channel approach that brings together data collected from multiple data sources to provide a single view of each customer. This allows agents to provide a seamless experience to users, and create better relationships. Livechat, phone, email, social media, WhatsApp, Messenger, ticketing or any other support channel are all interconnected in omnichannel support software. Regardless of the channel, when a customer comes in contact with the company, the entire customer experience is consistent – thus saving the customers from having to repeat the issue.
How is omnichannel different from a multi-channel contact center?
In simple terms, every company that offers support on more than one channel can claim to have multi-channel support. Each of these points of contact would be regarded as a separate interaction and different agents might speak with the same customer without having any context of the conversations on other channels.
Omnichannel, on the other hand, aggregates all these different conversations so that when an agent interacts with a customer, they have complete context of that customer’s previous interactions, and can dive straight into solving the issue – no matter which channel the communication came through.
Let me put this across with a simple example – A good example of a multichannel contact center is Samsung. Support is provided through phone, email, social media and more. But each channel is separate and the history and context are not shared across the channels. So each channel is handled by different sets of agents.
Now shifting to Oasis, a UK based fashion retailer that is a good example of an omnichannel contact center. To offer a convenient shopping experience for the customers, they have integrated their physical stores, mobile site, and also e-commerce sites. Their customer service is top-notch. If the product you want is out of stock, the staff can order it online and also ship the same to your doorstep.
Why do you need an omnichannel contact center software for your business?
#1. Unified communication across channels
Mobile phones are now a quintessential part of human life and messaging is the preferred mode of communication. Millennials spend nearly 6 hours on their phone every day and they are on the lookout for different channels like chat, social media or phone for their support options.
Also, time is a very important factor when it comes to digital support. The average time a customer is likely to wait is just 2 minutes. Moreover, customer frustration will keep increasing if the support is being transferred between agents and channels and also if they have to explain the same issue every single time. Omnichannel solves all these by tuning customer interaction through unified collaboration.
#2. Integrate and collaborate with modern tools
When new technologies pop up in the market, an omnichannel software lets you expand your support by integrating these new channels within the existing system. This lets you handle all your customer data and channels from a single interface. Furthermore, this will also help your company stay on top of emerging market trends and technologies.
#3. Increased sales and cost-efficiency
Managing different channels for communications separately leads to information being missed or lost. Also, managing different support channels at a single time will get agents frustrated. Having an omnichannel support system in place will help your agents easily navigate through different channels without having to switch tabs, provide better service, and save you from the cost of maintaining different software and third-party companies.
#4. Improve your agent’s productivity
Customers are already frustrated when reaching out to a support agent. Unfortunately, agents having to handle customer issues across different channels are often overwhelmed and might only frustrate them more. But having an omnichannel support software will let the agents access all the customer data from a single interface. With the support history saved in an omnichannel software, the agents can also have a context of the issue beforehand. This will lessen the stress on the agents and let them provide better support experience to the customers.
#5. Consolidated data for better reporting
Omnichannel contact software provides comprehensive data to analyze the performance of the team so you no longer have to analyze each channel separately. You can also make use of your customer data, deliver moments of wow to your customer and also get periodic reports straight to your inbox.
Customer Service is now a top priority and customer support channels are constantly evolving to keep up with customer expectations. That’s why it’s critical for companies to future-proof their support strategy by enabling omnichannel support as soon as possible.
About the author: Hello! I am Alan and I am the marketing manager at Callbell, the first communication platform designed to help sales and support teams to collaborate and communicate with customers through direct messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and (soon) Instagram Direct