Consumers are demanding more from their chosen brands, not just regarding their products but also regarding their customer service. Omnichannel service is the concept arising out of that demand, and within that concept, consumers are finding themselves able to experience brands seamlessly both online and offline from product discovery to product delivery and all the way to problem resolution.
A recent blog post at CMSWire notes that the omnichannel experience requires the commitment of entire organizations as a team. This means marketing, sales, customer service, operations, and IT departments must work together to provide customers with everything they need. If even one group steps out of sync with the others, it could result in an uneven flow of information that, in the end, might make for a confused and misinformed public.
"From the customer's point of view, omnichannel means that regardless of how they contact customer service, or where they are on their journey, they will have the same experience and consistent results, even when they switch channels," CMSWire wrote.
This definition of the customer experience marks the ever-important responsibility of contact centers. Yes, they are but one link in the chain that is an entire business and therefore is a complete omnichannel experience, but customer service agents perhaps play a larger role than some other departments because of their direct interaction with customers.
The omnichannel contact center can be defined as one in which agents communicate with customers across several channels, understand each customer's journey, extend that journey-related knowledge to present interactions, and personalize service to each customer that comes their way.
To explain this with a bit more depth: customer service agents should be able to complete tasks such as sending a text to a customer they are currently engaging in voice calls. They should also be able to keep in mind – with and without the aid of customer engagement software – the individual experiences that each customer has had in their journey through discovering, purchasing, and possibly troubleshooting products.
This places a high demand on agents that has not traditionally been a part of their job descriptions. Managers, as well, must step up their games by completing more extensive agent training and making sure they have access to modern software that can provide them with as much information about their customers as possible.
Edited by Alisen Downey