It’s a common experience—you must tell a customer service rep your info moments after you inputted it into the IVR system. You have to explain to a contact center associate about the failed website self-service experience that prompted your call. You respond to a direct mail or SMS promotion, only to find a clueless representative on the other end of the line.
Every day, customers share streams of information about themselves in their interactions with companies, and they rarely use just one channel to complete an interaction, In this article, we'll explore one of the most important ways to transform a traditional call center into a fully optimized omnichannel contact center. In short, for omnichannel customer experiences to be as effective as possible, contact centers need to do a better job of utilizing the data in the customer journey to create more seamless experiences across all touchpoints.
Even for companies with already established multichannel and omnichannel contact center operations, they rarely connect customer data across the full customer journey. Customer service experience breakdowns are commonplace and it can be extremely frustrating for customers to have to repeat the nature of a support problem with a contact center associate. Or when it’s clear to a customer that the associate doesn’t know much about her, her preferred channels, or the channels she most recently visited. In order to create seamless customer engagement, it is important to first understand the channels customers most utilize.
Omnichannel mapping and channel scorecards
There are numerous ways for a company to map its channels, and one way is to create a scorecard. For example, start with a list of your top 10 channels, based on volume, types of questions asked, and average handle time.
The scorecard can also inspire ideas for further assisting your customers. Are phone calls or live chat more popular at certain times of day, or regarding certain types of customer questions? Do you have live agents who can quickly respond to a customer’s question our concern on your website or on social media?
In the race to engage customers, it is easy to get locked into focusing on just a few channels, but an attribution system can help companies obtain a more holistic view. A system for tracking and comparing the KPIs for each channel should be part of not just an omnichannel strategy, but an overall CX strategy as well.
By using customer data generated across various touchpoints, historically and in real time, contact center associates can create more personalized experiences and deliver prompt and relevant support. Voice, mobile, web, social, chat, email and other channel activity can be combined with transactional, sentiment, demographic, and other data to arm contact center associates with appropriate information. In addition, CRM data can add insight about which products a customer currently has, how valuable a particular customer is, the stage of the lifecycle a customer is in, etc. This data allows organizational leaders and customer-facing employees to deliver interactions that customers expect. It’s a necessary evolution for the contact center of the future to transform from a cost center to a superior customer experience creator. And it has real impact on the success of the business.
Getting started creating amazing omnichannel contact center experiences
What does it take to get to this advanced state of omnichannel evolution? A good starting point is to pick a particular area of support (e.g., chat) and run a pilot to determine what common channels feed into this area. It is also important to determine how processes, data integration, and support can be improved to generate better customer experiences overall.
Let’s use a hypothetical example from a consumer bank. Analysis of customer sentiment and feedback from a retail bank reveals a high share of customers are dissatisfied with support between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weeknights. A deeper dive shows that a large percentage of these customers use SMS text messaging to try to obtain information about their balance during these hours. However, associates working in the SMS channel don’t have access to account information and are unable to help them. Organizational leaders can act on these insights and take steps to ensure that associates are provided access to customer account information on a 24/7 basis. Taking these actions to improve the customer experience will also likely reduce call volumes to the contact center.
Contact center associates can also interact with customers and recognize the customer’s interaction journey across other channels (e.g., “I see that you were attempting find additional information about your account on our website. How may I assist you?”). Simple acknowledgement like this will go a long way in showing customers that you value their time and understand their issues.
Evolving the use of data in your omnichannel contact center solutions
Of course, data is critical for these advancements in service quality to occur. There are numerous ways that organizations can use customer data to gain deeper insights into customer behaviors and customer sentiment to drive improved outcomes.
CX analytics help determine the reasons why people use the channel of their choice. Executives can act on these insights to craft the best intra- and inter-channel experiences. Customer data and predictive analytics can also enable customer experience leaders to identify the aspects of a product that customers need support for. Our research finds that 20 percent of all calls made by customers occur in the first month after purchasing a product or service. Associates should be provided with insights on the type of support these customers are likely to reach out for. Armed with these insights, associates can be prepared to address customer inquiries immediately. Having this knowledge can help contact centers reduce the number of repeat calls on a particular issue while improving NPS.
When associates can deliver these types of experiences it demonstrates to the customer that the company knows who they are and is able to provide them with intelligent support to address his needs and preferences. And this level of advanced knowledge and relevant support can help to strengthen trust and loyalty and increase customer lifetime value.
Make Your CX Efforts Sing with Channel Orchestration
Providing multiple support channels is one thing - it’s another to operate those channels with a coherent, optimized approach. A successful omnichannel contact center solutions requires true channel orchestration that aligns the best channels to the right interactions. In our White paper, Make Your CX Efforts Sing with Channel Orchestration, our digital consulting and technology services team outline 4 keys to successfully integrating traditional and digital channels to create a successful omnichannel contact center solution.