Omnichannel Contact Center: A Champion’s Guide that You’ll Ever Need
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Communication has been an imperative part of any business. Even if a business faces some ups and downs, the demand for reliable and steady communication remains constant. From internal teams to external customers, vendors, and other associates require a reliable means of communication. To meet different types of business communication needs, innovators invent different modes and channels of communication. Digitization and automation have further influenced the communication channels used in businesses.
Call centers being one of the businesses that rely heavily on communication and communication tools need to be updated with technology to keep serving clients with the right experience. An omnichannel contact center is the latest trend in this industry.
In this blog post, we have covered the following points:
- Some important statistics that you must know if you are in this industry
- What is an omnichannel contact center?
- What is an omnichannel contact center solution?
- What are the major benefits of omnichannel contact centers?
- What are the best practices to run a successful omnichannel contact center?
- Which are the top omnichannel call center providers?
- Major FAQs related to omnichannel call centers
The omnichannel contact center has become a buzzword and it becomes necessary for all businesses associated with the communication industry or using call center software to have insightful knowledge about it. To give all the required insight on this subject matter, we have compiled all the details: from omnichannel contact center definition to FAQs. Let’s take an insider look at this captivating topic.
1. Some important statistics that you must know if you are in this industry
- According to Google Research statistics, 98% of American users use multiple devices within a single day and one of the uses of these devices is to communicate with friends, brands, family, etc.
- According to Omnisend data, marketers registered a 287% high purchase rate by using more than three communication channels in
- According to the statistical result shared by Omnisend, companies achieved up to 90% of customer retention rate by using omnichannel communication tools over a single channel.
There are so many statistics results available in the market, which define the benefits of omnichannel contact centers.
2. What is an omnichannel contact center?
When we talk about the omnichannel contact center definition, there are different versions available. Each version defines one common definition, which is as below:
When a contact center adopts the power of all popular communication channels and provides customer support or runs sales campaigns through all popular communication channels, it is called an omnichannel contact center. The omnichannel contact center definition also covers the top communication channels that have to be part of an omnichannel call center. These communication channels are listed below:
- Voice calls
- Video calls
- Facebook/ Twitter/ Other social media platforms
- Instant messaging
3. What is an omnichannel contact center solution?
A contact center solution, which can be either an on-premise or cloud call center software that provides all unified communication channels within a single platform is an omnichannel contact center solution. It eliminates the need of managing independent communication channels across multiple platforms. Instead of that, a single solution is used to manage communication across channels.
All conversations will be logged regardless of the communication channel used, which makes it the best tool for call centers and customer care centers. It will also make it easier to switch to another communication channel or use more than one communication channel in parallel. The omnichannel solution supports all communication channels that are preferred by your customers to keep them delighted in terms of the selection of the communication mode. As it contributes heavily to handling customer support, it is also referred to as an omnichannel customer support solution.
4. What are the major benefits of omnichannel contact centers?
There are several advantages of using an omnichannel customer support solution. Let’s explore the top three of them.
A) Improve customer experience
One of the major advantages covered even in the omnichannel contact center definition is improved customer experience by using this software. Everyone likes to make a choice instead of falling short of choices. The selection of a communication channel is often considered a small thing, but it can be comforting to your customers. Some customers willingly use Twitter for communication and some love having a telephone conversation. It is necessary to give this freedom to your clients to choose which mode of communication they are more comfortable using.
Even if you don’t accommodate all communication channels within your software, your customers are still likely to use these channels to reach out to your customer care team. No response and the delayed response would cause major concerns and brand damaging impact, which would get difficult to cover. By incorporating omnichannel communication into your strategy, you will be able to deliver an excellent customer experience. Your agents will get notified for all messages, not considering the use of communication channels, so they can respond quickly. They will also have context as all conversations across channels would be logged into the system. This helps them serve your clients better and improve customer service standards.
Prompt responses and personalized responses will keep your customers happy and excited about your customer service. This way you can improve customer experience with omnichannel call center adoption.
B) Improve agent productivity
The productivity of agents is as important as the happiness of customers. A productive agent can deliver better and faster services and help improve the values of many more KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to increase the ultimate goal conversation. As mentioned earlier, despite the fact that you use an omnichannel solution or not, your clients will use their favorite mode of communication to reach out to your support team. Thus, at a certain point, your agents or other team members will need to check individual platforms such as Facebook messenger or Facebook page wall and respond to these clients. This will be an exhaustive and error prone job. Likewise, there are so many communication channels to manage, and handling each of them independently can cause several challenges and affect the productivity of agents negatively.
Unlike that, using an omnichannel system will give a notification for each message. The software can also put clients into queues like chat queues, WhatsApp queues, etc. to make it easy to manage the process. When you avoid the need for switching across communication channels, your agents can save time and energy to synergize them on improving customer experience. Moreover, some communication channels let agents handle more than one customer at a time with templates and other features available in the software. This further contributes to boosted productivity. As we all know, improved productivity reflects improved performance because the same headcount can deliver much better output.
C) Improve ROI (Returns over Investment)
Managing different communication channels within a single platform is cheaper than handling different communication platforms. Saving time for agents also saves a lot of resources, including expenses. A majority of providers help in saving time by adding added features such as a message scheduler, message templates, auto replies, chatbots, and more. That means using an omnichannel system, a call center can reduce expenses and otherwise get invested in infrastructure, manpower, communication platforms, and more.
The high productivity of agents directly contributes to better performance of all campaigns and call centers. Call centers can elevate their revenue generation with the same manpower. Even if they hire more agents, they can then spike up revenue by taking more work and handling more campaigns. Customer retention, on the other hand, contributes to the stable stream of generating revenue. Reference business and referral leads are a few more contributors to increase revenue.
In a nutshell, the benefits of omnichannel contact centers include improving revenue and cutting costs, so call centers can enjoy a high ROI generation rate.
5. What are the best practices to run a successful omnichannel contact center?
When you decide to leverage the advantage of technology and trend, you need to have a proper strategy in place. You cannot just win the game by getting the best omnichannel customer support solution. You also need to have a strategy in place and you must follow the best practices. You can learn with experiments, but using an omnichannel customer support strategy is quite mature. You can learn from the experiences of others. To help you lead the game and maximize the benefits of omnichannel contact centers, we have shared the top best practices for you. You must rigorously follow these best practices to run your support center like a champion:
Don’t ignore self serving options
All communication solutions, including an omnichannel customer care system offer self serving options to call center users. It is necessary to use all communication channels and let your agents handle customer calls, messages, and other forms of interactions. However, it is equally important to invest in self serving options and encourage their use among customers. Using self serving options can help customers to get responses to their concerns on an immediate basis as they don’t need to wait for agents to join the conversation. On the other hand, it keeps your staff available to handle more complicated cases of customers to deliver excellent support.
Technology tools like chatbots, AI voice analysis, smart WhatsApp web tools, self serving IVR, voice broadcasting, SMS broadcasting, and more can be used to increase effective self serving options.
Live agent has to be available for customers
Even if you have plenty of self serving options, you need to be sure that you have enough live agents to handle clients and their concerns. You also need to give the option to connect with a live agent at any point. Some customers prefer to have a conversation or interaction with humans even if it is an easy task like retrieving the total due balance. This type of client also needs to get complete attention and respect from your customers to retain a good brand image.
Identify top performing and in-demand communication channels
Even if an omnichannel customer support solution is used to blend the power of all communication channels in serving your clients, it is worth investing resources to identify popular communication channels. Different customer bases may like different communication channels. In some countries, WhatsApp is the most preferred mode of communication. In some countries, SMS is still one of the top used communication channels. These facts also vary from industry to industry. Even in the same industry, two different customer care centers may have different charts of communication channel usage.
With careful analysis, you can identify the top performing communication channels for your business. Knowing this information can help you define further strategies to serve these clients. You can also put adequate resources based on the preferred modes of communication for your clients. You don’t need to put an equal number of agents for each communication channel. Rather optimize resource allocation based on the volume of queries received for that specific mode of communication.
Focus on unified customer experience across communication channels
One of the major advantages of using an omnichannel contact center is that it provides a holistic view of all customer interactions across channels. That means agents can view all conversations between a customer and an agent that could have taken place via one or more communication channels. Having this information is very useful as agents will be aware of ongoing updates, common issues faced by customers, preferred solutions or assistance by that particular client, and other aspects. All the information can be used to provide a universal experience to clients across all communication channels. The customers can be served with the same professionalism and experience through any mode of communication he or she chooses. This not only impresses your clients, but it also helps in building an unforgettable experience for clients as a brand.
Collect feedback and suggestions from customers and agents
Guessing games can be good, but only in gambling. In fact, even there, people use experience and logic. In businesses like customer care or contact center, using metrics, data, suggestions, recommendations, etc. can be really beneficial. One of the vital sources of data is humans correlated to the system. Your customers and agents use your services, software, etc. on a day to day basis. Therefore, there is nobody better than them to give feedback on how your omnichannel customer strategy is performing. Direct interaction can give direct answers.
You can ask your agents in weekly or monthly meetings or you can use a self serving IVR to collect their feedback. You can take their opinion to scrutinize your resource allocation, strategy, and more for improvement.
Your customers are receiving customer service from your team and they can give you brutally honest opinions. You can ask them how they feel about the service they received right after the call or any other form of interaction. This data can show you the mirror and give you much needed and reliable data.
Empower your agents
The next important best practice is team empowerment. You need to empower your team of agents that interact with clients. You can give them the required training to be more professional and effective across multiple communication channels. Alternatively, you can hire experts for each communication channel. Depending on your strategy, you can define how you want to train and furnish your team with the right resources.
To empower your agents, along with training, you also need to give them adequate technical support. You must use the integration of third party tools like CRM, communication channels, AI voice analysis, chatbots, etc. All this helps them work more productively. They can also be encouraged to self learning by giving them access to some of the reports or their own call recording files.
Having a rich knowledge base is another important best practice to become a champion of customer care strategy that blends omnichannel communication in it. Agents can use this knowledge base to keep themselves updated with different best practices, procedures, tools, etc.
Invest time in report analysis and live monitoring
The call center solutions provide an extensive range of reports. You must review these reports on a regular basis. These reports will give more insight into the performance and effectiveness of different communication channels. It will also contribute to identifying strengths and weaknesses. You can also use live monitoring tools to take real time actions for improvement.
No strategy or trend is permanent. Thus, you must constantly evolve and improve. Keep fine tuning the best practices and omnichannel strategy to stay competitive and impressive for your clients.
6. Which are the top omnichannel call center providers?
There are multiple providers of this type of software. We have listed out the top 3 of them.
1) Elision Technologies Pvt. Ltd
It is one of the most affordable providers that offer omnichannel communication and has more than 15 years of industry experience. It offers omnichannel communication, speech analytics, and multiple other features at very affordable rates. You can get a licensed solution or opt for the hosted model.
2) Nice InContact
It quotes 100 USD/agent per month and has a hosted model to use its omnichannel solution. It supports omnichannel communication, but it does not have a video channel. You will need to integrate a third party video calling app and that integration would cost additional for customization.
It charges 115 to 175 USD/agent per month with unlimited call support in the USA and Canada. For other regions, you need to check for the cost of calls. It does not have a multilevel IVR as an inbuilt feature. You need to use it as an add-on. It supports omnichannel communication and a hosted model.
7. Major FAQs related to omnichannel call centers
Should I use an omnichannel call center?
It can be used by anyone that wants to implement an omnichannel customer strategy. Still, businesses with bigger clientele or diversified customer bases gain more advantages by using it compared to small scaled call centers.
Can I add omnichannel communication to my existing software?
That depends on the software. If you have access to the code and if the software is compatible with third party integration then you can add more communication channels to the software. However, compatibility still needs to be checked. It is better to get an omnichannel solution than add communication channels into it to avoid compatibility related issues or increasing cost of ownership.
How much does an omnichannel solution cost?
That depends on the provider. There is no standard cost for the software. Thus, you need to contact the provider and get a quotation for the software.
What will be the hardware requirement to use an omnichannel call center?
Usually, the software and hardware work in coordination with multiple other driving factors. You need to define what software you will use for omnichannel operations and based on that, you will learn about the required hardware. Usually, your software provider will guide you about the hardware that you will need to run your call center with an omnichannel communication mechanism.
Superior customer experience gives momentum to call centers to reach beyond the competition and stay ahead of them. An omnichannel contact center contributes to achieving exactly this. It lets customers choose their favorite communication channel to reach out to the customer care team and receive the required assistance, whether it is a self-serving option or any other mode of communication like voice, video, WhatsApp, social media, etc. Agents get empowered with a holistic view of all interactions between customers and call centers to deliver a more contextual and personalized customer experience.
The right tools, best practices, trained and skilled team, and strategic approach can help you take maximum advantage of this trend of using omni channel communication. We have been witnessing call centers growing in leaps and bounds with our DialShree: omnichannel contact center solution. This software helps them achieve a better balance between technology and human interaction and ace the game of customer care like a champion. Get in touch with us for a free demo.