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For Many Companies, Omni-Channel Customer Support Means Failing to Deliver via a Variety of Channels

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For Many Companies, Omni-Channel Customer Support Means Failing to Deliver via a Variety of Channels

July 27, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
TMCnet Contributor

Imagine a scenario as follows: you have a question about your account with a company. You navigate to their Web site on your smartphone, only to find that it’s really not optimized for a good mobile experience. You log in via your desktop computer, and still can’t find what you need, so you initiate a chat session. The individual who answers your chat advises you to call the contact center and provides you with a number for a live agent. You cold-call a toll-free number and explain what you’re looking for (since the agent who picks up has no idea of your previous online efforts). The agent transfers you to another department, and you explain yourself all over again. Maybe your problem gets solved. Maybe it doesn’t. In any case, that’s 20 minutes of your life you will never get back.

As consumers, we’re getting used to omni-channel customer support experiences. Unfortunately, more often than not, it’s about a company failing to provide customer support via a variety of channels. This doesn’t only frustrate you as a customer, this scenario costs the company you’ve just interacted with money as well as your customer goodwill. In a recent article, Destination CRM’s Yvonne Ba recounted just such an experience, and noted that since the company she interacted with (a bank), did not have its communication channels integrated and its agents empowered with the right tools and training, considerable time and resources were wasted to complete her request.

“Would a more engaged, empowered omni-channel workforce translated into a different (better) customer experience with this bank? Absolutely,” wrote Ba. “Due to competitive pressures and the need to communicate with customers across multiple channels, it has become increasingly important to modernize contact center technology so customer-facing personnel can handle tasks and customer requests timely and effectively.”

Image vis Shutterstock

Companies that truly wish to offer an omni-channel customer support experience need a good omni-channel workforce planning strategy. They also need to deploy all their communications channels on the same platform by using a cloud-based contact center that integrates all these channels. Many companies today added their communications channels piecemeal over several years in response to customer demand. While it’s nice that they tried to accommodate customers, they’re not doing anyone any real favors. While proper agent training is important, the best agents in the world can’t offer a truly omnichannel customer support experience if the array of available communications media are disjointed and siloed. Scrapping your current infrastructure and building a new, integrated experience on a single platform may sound expensive, but not doing so is considerably more expensive.

“Driving operational efficiency is a necessary component of any well-run contact center,” wrote Ba. “Through integration and automation, you can centralize control over the organization, reduce operational costs, and enable workers to be more efficient.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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