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Omnichannel? Why Should Contact Centers Care?


Presented By: SAP

Isn’t it amazing how easy it is nowadays to purchase basically anything online? Just a few clicks and you have ordered a new bike, sofa or a DVD-player. Fast, easy and convenient –or at least as long as everything goes smoothly. Recently, we bought a new digital receiver and within a week the new device had been delivered to us. Great service so far, but unfortunately the receiver did not work and that is when the difficult part started. One might thing that the company had invested everything in their online store and retired the whole contact center: it was so difficult to get any answers via email or phone. When we finally got some answers, it was clear that the employees didn’t have a clue. It is pretty annoying to explain the situation for the fifth time and get an answer saying that that the digital receiver is fine, it is just our TV which is not compatible with it.  Finally, after weeks “conversations” with their customer service, we could return the broken device and got a new one which actually worked. Nevertheless, I know which online store to avoid next time when we need anything new.

This was a good example of the importance of contact center within the omnichannel customer experience.  When investing in new channels and services, companies need to make sure their contact center is well aligned. According to Aberdeen research, companies can gain significant business benefits by integrating contact centers within their omnichannel strategy.  This was the topic in a recent webinar where Omer Minkara of Aberdeen Group presented research findings on the topic. Moving from multichannel to an omnichannel experience is a very important and a relevant topic today and I would like to continue to discuss and think about the relevance for contact center performance and KPI’s.

Let’s take a look at a few important contact center metrics and how the omnichannel approach can enhance performance:

1) Customer satisfaction
According to Aberdeen, companies who integrate contact centers within their omni-channel strategy enjoy a higher customer retention rate and a higher customer lifetime value –both clear indicators of increased customer satisfaction. The ability to provide consistent customer service via all touch points is one important reason for the increased customer satisfaction. Obviously, also improved first contact resolution and shorter waiting times helps keep customer satisfied. Today’s customers are used to fast and convenient web stores and mobile applications, so they don’t have patience to wait in contact center queues.

2) First contact resolution rate and average handling time
There are at least two ways in which omnichannel integration can help contact centers to resolve customers’ inquiries faster upon first contact. First of all, data from previous customer interactions and purchase history helps route contacts to the agents who are best suited to helping the customer.

Secondly, with an integrated, omnichannel solution all relevant customer data from different touch points can be easily displayed to the agent, helping the agent solve the customer’s inquiry faster in the first call. For example, if the customer has a question related to a recent order, it is important that the agent has easy access to the order management system.

According to Aberdeen research, contact center agents spend 14% of their time searching for data from various systems. Unifying the relevant data on one, single screen improves both first contact resolution and average handling time –and frees agents’ time for focused, productive work with customers.

3) Average waiting time
Increased first contact resolution and equipping the agents with access to relevant customer data frees the agents’ time for productive work.  Those same agents are able to handle more calls, leading to shorter wait times for customers.  Furthermore, integrating all communication channels in the same solution helps companies to deliver consistent, speedy customer service through all channels. And last but not least: there is a greater amount of customer data available to improve the routing of contacts to the right agent right away.

All in all, integrating your contact center within an omnichannel strategy makes daily life in contact centers easier and helps to meet the lofty expectations towards speedy and high quality customer service. To learn more about the topic, watch the replay of the webinar: Integrating the Contact Center in Your OmniChannel Strategy.

*This blog was originally published at custedge.com. Republished with permission”