The Omni-Channel Imperative

Before the COVID-19 health crisis, the digitalization of the customer journey had already pushed brands to increase the number of touch points with their customers on new channels. As the COVID-19 crisis accelerated this trend with businesses expanding further their online activities, an omnichannel approach has become a must.

Contact centers: the epicenter of the customer experience (CX)

With most physical shops shut during lockdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, organizations have increased their online presence and multiplied digital touch points to maintain sales and conversations with their customers. Contact centers have become the key contact point between brands and customers to manage all interactions whatever the channel. With 9 out of 10 consumers looking for an omnichannel experience, with seamless service between communication methods according to UC Today, contact centers have no choice but to offer unified, agile and personalized approach across all touch points. Omnichannel finds itself at the heart of the customer experience.

Orchestrating omnichannel customer interactions from a single place

Today, when they communicate with their favorite brands, customers expect that they recognize them and know about their last conversations, whatever channel was used – phone, email, chat, instant messaging, social media or web forms. It is therefore a critical imperative to equip agents with an all-in-one, integrated omnichannel contact center platform managing all interactions from a unique interface as a single conversation – to avoid juggling from one screen to another – and offer the best customer experience. This is key as contact center agents report that the number of channels they are balancing is the second most common stressor, according to Aberdeen research. An omnichannel platform also facilitates real-time supervision and reporting across all touch points to efficiently manage workforces and workflows, and analyze customer behavior.As organizations expanded their digital lead generation activities to compensate the closure of physical shops during the pandemic or the reduced traffic after they reopened, it is equally important to provide contact centers with best-in-class outbound calling capabilities to follow-up on digital leads with automated call out campaigns – which can be managed directly from the CRM application with native integration of the contact center platform.

The urgent need for seamless experience

Despite the crucial need to enhance customer satisfaction, many organizations struggle to deliver a seamless experience across all touchpoints – as multi-channel does not necessarily mean omni-channel. A Gartner survey says that in 2022, 50% of large organizations will have still failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in the continuation of a disjoint and siloed customer experience that lacks context. Brands therefore need to urgently revisit their contact center technology and deploy full omnichannel solutions to close the gap on customer experience.Additionally, managing the right mix between different channels is key to deliver the right customer experience. According to Gartner research on customer channel preference, phone is the most popular channel for customer service interactions, and remains a significant channel of interaction for escalation purposes and for complex issues. The human touch is still a critical component of the customer service, meaning that omnichannel contact centers need to continue to embed strong inbound and outbound phone capabilities beyond digital.Before investing, companies need to think through their entire customer journey, defining on which channel a customer might engage for a given type of interaction, what transfers could happen across departments etc. so that contact centers can deliver a real omnichannel customer experience.

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