When it comes to omni-channel, if you build it, they will come
In the era of heightened digital connectivity, going omni-channel is no longer an option.
According to research, the strongest omni-channel retailers, enjoy a customer retention rate of 89% while the weakest performers are stuck at 33%. Additionally, Cisco found that going omni-channel is now the top priority for 90% of contact centres, as they look at adopting technologies such as intelligent routing, a seamless UI, and systems integration. So, why is omnichannel yet to become the industry default? Why are there still so many businesses operating out of a single channel, even though 90% of customers use more than one device to perform a single task?
The answer boils down to four key reasons.
Companies that have been around for decades and are used to serving customers from a single channel will find it a formidable task to entirely rip-and-replace their existing systems. Integration with legacy technologies isn’t always possible, and there may not be sufficient in-house resources to guide the transition. Fortunately, the rise of SaaS-based virtual contact centres lets you transform your systems with relative ease, with minimal in-house dependencies.
Mono-channel customer service is deeply entrenched within the cultures of traditional contact centres. Agents are trained in single-channel operations, and specialisation in iterative tasks is prioritised above all. The ability to attend to one channel dedicatedly is seen as a marker of efficiency. Omni-channel, on the other hand, requires you to prepare for channel blending at your contact centre, which means setting new KPIs, retraining agents, and revisiting your scheduling approach. This challenge can be addressed through proactive and precocious change management.
Data unification and a single source of customer intelligence are at the heart of a successful omni-channel strategy. If your channel data resides in silos, along with barriers between different systems like CRM, ERP, CDP, etc., it can be extremely difficult to execute omni-channel operations effectively. To resolve this, you can leverage integration tools like APIs and SDKs, apart from native connectors.
This is probably the most common hurdle to omni-channel adoption. You’re present on a single channel only, which makes it difficult to project or forecast the level of traffic/ROI you would gain from omni-channel. Without solid RPI projections, the leadership hesitates to invest in what is admittedly an expensive endeavour. You can address this using a combination of limited pilot implementations and predictive analytics. A limited pilot for a single product line or location hub will reveal the type of market demand you could expect if you were to scale the omni-channel initiative. Modern predictive analytics can ingest the data from the pilot as well as your historical traffic records to predict the “digital footfall” you would see via your new channels.
At the end of the day, when it comes to omni-channel, if you build it, they will come – which makes it imperative to start overcoming these challenges at the earliest.