Omnichannel; Customer, Agent, Organization Benefits
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The image of an organization is more than its logo or advertising. The contact center experience is the image that customers will remember. Contact centers can create loyal customers and improve the revenue and profit of any organization. A poor contact center experience will turn away customers. Once turned away, the cost of getting them back is higher than initially acquiring them as customers. The contact center is more than just a place to connect to an organization. Think of it as a marketing image as well as a sales facility.
Contact Centers Keep Changing
Customers keep changing, how you reach them, and how you satisfy them. A number of developments have been introduced for contact center operations. The contact center has to respond and evolve of those developments. The traditional contact center capabilities are still necessary however many new capabilities have to be added to keep current and stay ahead of the market. These changes include:
- Unified communications capabilities available to customers
- Speech recognition and speech to text conversion
- Customers choice of media (voice, text, SMS, email, social media platforms)
- The development of cloud services and inexpensive platforms
- Virtual assistants
- Chat bots
- Introduction of improved analytics
- Application of artificial intelligence (AI)
Not all of these capabilities will be in any particular contact center. Those in the contact center business must adopt many of these capabilities to stay current. These changing capabilities have driven the contact center to continually advance its operations. This has fostered the development of the omnichannel contact center.
Omnichannel is a cross-channel business model and content strategy that companies use to improve their user experience. Omnichannel is an integrated way of thinking about people’s relationships with organizations. The approach has applications in any industry. Omnichannel supersedes multichannel and includes channels such as physical locations, FAQ webpages, social media, live web chats, mobile applications, and telephone communication. Companies that use omnichannel contend that a customer values the ability to be in contact with a company through multiple avenues at the same time.
I contacted Mok Bouaazzi, Executive Director at BBX Technologies www.bbxtech.com to gain some insight into how these new technologies and capabilities impact the customer, the agent, and the organization operating the contact center. His comments follow.
The contact center is there to satisfy the requirements of the customer. Customers have many complaints and issues with the contact center agents they encounter:
- Customers do not want to wait in a long queue for service. If they have a wait in a queue, they want to know for how long.
- They are willing to use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems but only if it is not confusing.
- Customers may start on the Internet then move to text or a voice conversation during their session with the contact center rather than having to re-connect using a different media.
- If the customer has an agent they prefer, they would like to contact to them directly.
- If the agent is new, the customer expects that agent to have a history of their previous sessions with the contact center.
The benefits to the customer include an easy exchange of information. Other benefits include:
- Avoiding repeating the past history of sessions with this contact center agent.
- Less stress when they are dealing with the contact center.
- First contact resolution
Customer behavior statistics include:
- 72% of adults prefer communication with companies digitally. Source: MarketingSherpa
- 86% of shoppers are regularly channel-hopping across at least two channels. Source: CommerceHub
- 62% of consumers who engage their favorite brands on 10+ channels make weekly purchases. Source: Marketing Land
Impact on the Agent Experience
Contact center agents have to continuously employ their people skills. Those agents who have been voice oriented for years will need to change their mindset. They will need to learn how to communicate in media other than voice. The goal of the agent is to develop a customer relationship that will work across multiple media. Moving between channels/media seamlessly is a capability they have to develop. The agent needs to:
- Operate more efficiently
- Have good morale
- Avoid churn
- Be happy in their job
When an agent satisfies a customer, the agent can be satisfied as well. Unhappy agents communicate their unhappiness during the session with a customer which then makes the customer avoid that contact center and organization.
A well-managed contact center produces a number of positive results.
- Omnichannel businesses achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t. Source: Aspect Software
- Campaigns integrating 4 or more digital channels will outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300%. Source: Gartner Research
- Customers will be loyal and return to do business with the contact center organization. This will produce higher profit and revenue.
- Contact center management has to a deal with agent churn. The lower the churn rate, the happy the agents, and the less investment in training required for new agents.
- The longer the agents remain, the more likely they can rapidly satisfy the customer requirements.
- Well-trained agents can also upsell the customer and on products and services thereby increasing the revenue of the organization.
- Contact centers that continually satisfy customers gain a good reputation which then translates into revenue and profits for the organization.
BBX Technologies www.bbxtech.com creates Vuesion technology that helps take customer service to another level. BBX delivers contact center software, technology add-ons, Unified Communications programs, outbound call center technology, and the Vuesion Call Recorder. Their programs run on easy-to-use interfaces, and provide intuitive, detailed reporting.