While traveling recently, I had to call my credit card company to notify them that it was actually me making those charges outside the country. After wading through their IVR, I put in the requested info to identify myself. Then I was transferred to an agent. Guess what the first thing was I had to do? Provide the exact same info I had just input. That agent couldn’t help me because I was traveling internationally, so they had to transfer me. When I reached the second agent….you guessed it, I had to start all over. All this while making an international call. Unfortunately, this type of transaction wasn’t even an option on their website.
Every day, thousands of customers and potential customers have a similar experience, and are equally as frustrated. This is a good news/bad news situation: the good news is an estimated 99% of contact centers in the US are multi-channel, meaning they can serve their customers through multiple channels – voice, email, fax, chat, etc. Customers demand that flexibility, it makes it easier to get the information they need. At least in theory. The bad news is, multi-channel contact centers are no longer good enough. If you want to optimize your customer experience, your contact center must be equipped to support omni-channel interactions.
What’s the difference? The multi-channel environment provides customers with multiple communications options, but the data that’s gathered on each communications channel is stored independently of other channels. For example, if a customer sends an email or chats with an agent, then needs to call for additional assistance, the agent they speak to is unlikely to have a historical record of the customer’s previous interactions. An omni-channel contact center also provides multiple communications options, but the difference is – and this is huge in terms of customer experience – the customer’s journey is tracked across all channels and the customer data is integrated to create a consistent and optimized experience. This means that as a customer, if I talk to a phone agent, they’ll have a record of my chats, or their company's web pages I’ve visited. Likewise, if I chat with an agent, they’ll also be able to see all previous interactions.
Besides making your customers happier, what are some benefits that your company might gain from implementing an omni-channel contact center? According to an Aberdeen report called Omni-channel Contact Center: The Smarter Way to Engage Customers, there are numerous operational benefits. Compared to a multi-channel contact center, omni-channel contact centers were found to have:
- A significantly higher customer retention rate – 89% compared to 33%
- 55% fewer customer complaints
- 24% year-over-year increase in revenue compared to multi-channel contact centers, a 72% increase over single channel contact centers
- First contact resolution rates were more than double
- Businesses that lack an omni-channel strategy are two times as likely to have increased customer service costs, compared to those with an omni-channel strategy
As experts in deploying contact center solutions, we can help you evaluate your current contact center technology, recommend areas that can be enhanced to provide better performance, and determine potential ROI. If you’re ready to start reaping the benefits of an omni-channel contact center, drop us a linel. We’d be happy to help!