Omni-channel among top items on contact centre transformation agenda for the next few quarters
Omni-channel contact centres are rapidly becoming a must-have business priority. A recent Cisco survey found omni-channel to be among the top items on the contact centre transformation agenda for the next few quarters, prioritised by 91% of organisations. However, as Deloitte notes, true omni-channel is yet to be fully achieved, as most organisations are merely spread across multiple channels without sufficient integration or harmonisation. At only 11% of organisations is the omni-channel experience integrated and cohesive. For 54%, the CX differed across channels., even as they try to close the gap.
So, what does a successful 100% omni-channel contact centre look like? What are its defining features and capabilities? You can distil the answer down to:
It’s not enough to be available across multiple channels, offering service via email, chat, social media, web, and telephonically. The channels need backend integration so that they feed into the same CRM, a centralised customer data platform, and a single source of truth. This will ensure that CX started on one channel can be picked up on another without the customer having to repeat information, which is what defines omni-channel.
Just as your backend systems are integrated, incoming queries at the front end must also be routed via a singular omni-channel routing engine. It should be able to take queries and interactions from a variety of channels and automatically distribute them across the agent workforce, depending on skill sets, personality match, and predicted availability. Unlike multi-channel, omni-channel contact centres do not have a separate routing system for each channel.
A universal queuing mechanism entails that customers from various channels are placed on the same queue, where they will wait for their turn to be addressed by a live agent. Universal queuing does not prioritise one channel over another and ensures that resources are distributed equally to prevent congestion on any one channel. Intelligent routing and universal queuing typically go hand-in-hand.
In an omni-channel contact centre agents are more likely to be better trained and technically savvy on average. In terms of soft skills, they are well-versed in multi-tasking, written as well as spoken communication, and different forms of online interaction etiquette. For hard skills, they will know how to operate cross-channel data connectors, personalisation processes across channels, and script adherence.
True omni-channel contact centres usually have either inbound or outbound capabilities in addition to their primary mode of operations. For example, if you are primarily an outbound debt collection contact centre, you should also have some inbound capabilities to resolve queries over email, accept complaints, and take proactive payments over the phone. Similarly, inbound contact centres need an outbound channel presence to follow up, make callbacks, and more.
Finally, the success of an omni-channel contact centre hinges on how well it can use customer data to finetune CX, drive personalisation, and cross-sell/up-sell. Data enrichment through third-party and social listening is central to this objective.