According to McKinsey, customers use anywhere from three to five communication channels on their path to resolving a customer service request.
Businesses need to offer multiple ways for their customers to reach them for help, or else customers might become frustrated and turn to competitors who offer their preferred channels.
Today, we’ll help you understand what an omnichannel contact center is, why it’s so effective, how it differs from multichannel, and how to use this approach to customer service to improve your customer experience.
An omnichannel contact center is a business division where agents manage inbound and outbound customer interactions across a variety of integrated channels and guide customers to the most efficient resolution.
The most typical channels include phone call, video call, email, text, live chat, and self-service options like interactive voice response (IVR) or FAQ pages.
Below are some of the defining elements of an omnichannel contact center:
To reduce the legwork that comes with doing the above manually, most businesses power their omnichannel contact centers on the internet with a cloud contact center solution.
Equipped with software, contact center agents can access all channels and swiftly switch between them on one interface. Agents can also view customer data, such as past interactions, which allows them to quickly get up to speed on the customer’s situation and provide fast and personalized resolutions.
Overall, customer service departments that use an omnichannel contact center are better positioned to meet the ever-evolving demands of their customers.
An omnichannel contact center works to improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction by bringing each communication channel and its respective data into one easy-to-navigate online dashboard.
So customers can reach out to agents in whichever manner they prefer, and when they do, the agent can easily view the customer’s personal details (name, job title, product tier, etc.), a transcript of their past interactions with the brand, and even relevant touch points along their customer journey, from e-books the customer downloaded to their recent purchases.
For example, if an agent receives a call from a customer named Sophia, the agent can quickly pull up her information and see that, a week ago, she chatted with another agent about her issue with a feature of her newly purchased water filter.
Because the agent can review the past interaction and pick up where they left off, Sophia doesn’t have to repeat herself. Because the channels are integrated, the agent can also do things like recommend they switch to a video call where they can visually demonstrate how to use the product’s feature.
Cases like this illustrate how an omnichannel contact center’s characteristics of channel flexibility and unified customer data greatly enhance the customer experience.
Multichannel and omnichannel contact centers are similar in that they both offer multiple ways for agents and customers to communicate.
The major difference between the two is that multichannel contact centers do not have unified, integrated channels, whereas omnichannel contact centers do.
An agent working within a multichannel contact center who answers a phone call would not be able to see the customer’s past email messages. That data is siloed off in the email system and not visible in the call software.
If the agent worked at an omnichannel contact center, they would be able to see all relevant interactions and historical data that’s been collected across all channels because each system shares its information with every other system.
For more on the differences between the two types of contact centers, check out our guide on omnichannel and multichannel contact centers.
From happier customer service agents to decreased customer churn, businesses receive numerous benefits from implementing omnichannel contact centers.
Below are some of the advantages your business will see:
And here are some of the major benefits your customers will experience:
That said, if you want to take your customer service department to the next level, creating an omnichannel contact center is an excellent first step.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a large or small business, product-based or service-based, B2C or B2B. An omnichannel contact center is likely a smart choice for your customer service team.
This form of contact center streamlines and personalizes the customer support process, thereby giving customers a seamless experience with your brand, even during contentious situations like product malfunctions or incorrect charges.
A few of the industries that are embracing omnichannel contact centers include retail, e-commerce, tourism and travel, logistics and supply chain, and real estate.
Some use cases include companies wanting to decrease churn, improve customer behavior analytics, and foster better working environments for their agents.
Compared to call center or multichannel contact center software, omnichannel contact center solutions also provide far more customer-satisfying features, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Omnichannel contact center software gives you access to multiple, integrated communication channels, data analytics tools, and various other features designed to help your team provide exceptional customer experiences.
Below are features to look for when evaluating omnichannel contact center software:
Because it’s hosted by a third-party and designed for nontechies, omnichannel contact center software like Contacto makes it impressively easy and affordable to implement an omnichannel approach.
When you have an omnichannel contact center, you can deploy many strategies to improve the overall customer experience in a cost-effective manner.
One of the most impactful strategies is enabling agents with real-time collaboration via software. Contact center software often comes with features that help agents find answers and get help during their conversations with customers.
For example, many offer call whispering, where an agent can ask for someone on their team to hop in the call and provide support. The assisting agent can hear the customer and talk to the agent, but the customer cannot hear the assisting agent.
An omnichannel contact center solution will also typically enable you to create templated answers or automated suggestions that reps can access during chat or email conversations. That way agents always provide a great response that is based on your team’s best practices.
But agent-enablement is just scratching the surface. Here are some other strategies you can use to enhance the customer experience:
An omnichannel contact center is a powerful tool when it comes to helping your customers. If you implement the above strategies, you’ll certainly receive an outstanding response from them, whether that’s in the form of positive online reviews or increases in retention rates.
As the adage goes, with great power comes great responsibility. Here are some best practices to follow when running an omnichannel contact center that will help you get the most out of this approach and its technology.
It’s also crucial that you never let technology get in the way of human-to-human interactions, which, more than anything else, have the power to connect your customers with your brand on an emotional level.
Omnichannel contact centers can help you improve your customer experience, increase agent productivity, and use data to consistently work toward optimizing your company’s customer service performance.
Of course, adopting a new approach to customer service can be difficult, especially if you’ve been doing it another way for a long time. Fortunately, certain tools out there make it easy to change.
Designed with agents in mind, simple-to-use cloud contact center software like Contacto can be rolled out in a matter of days so that your agents can start impressing customers across multiple channels as soon as possible.