Monday, 26 October 2020 23:31

Four pain points in the omni-channel contact centre and how to avoid them

By Daniel Harding, MaxContact
Daniel Harding, Director Australia Operations, MaxContact Daniel Harding, Director Australia Operations, MaxContact

GUEST OPINION by Daniel Harding, Director – Australia Operations, MaxContactAn omni-channel contact centre can help your business service its customers more effectively but rolling one out is not without its pitfalls.

Wondering whether it’s time to implement a contact centre which allows your enterprise to connect with customers via email, web chat and SMS, as well as the traditional telephone?

Going omni-channel can be an excellent way to expand your customer service coverage and smooth out the peaks and troughs in demand commonly associated with voice only contact centres.

For small and medium sized enterprises, the technology is now well within reach, with robust, well supported omni-channel cloud platforms available for less than $150 a month per seat.

That’s the good news.

The less good news is the fact that creating a seamless experience for customers, irrespective of their choice of channel, takes time and effort. Scrimp on or skip through the planning and implementation process and you may well find a solution intended to improve your brand and the efficiency and quality of its customer service, has quite the opposite effect.

Here are four common omni-channel pain points for small and medium sized businesses:

Achieving a single view of the customer

A single view of the customer is the foundation on which superlative customer experience is built. It should be the holy grail for businesses pursuing an omni-channel contact centre strategy but quite often it isn’t. It’s not unusual to see companies using a disparate array of systems…an email solution from one vendor tacked onto the web site here, a web chat module bolted on over there. The result? A fractured experience and service that, from a customer perspective, is patchier than it was when getting in touch via the old dog and bone was the only option open to them.

Integrating new channels

Switch it on and you’re up and running, right? Wrong! Contact centre technology is much easier to install and use than once it was but that doesn’t mean adding a new channel should be a plug and play exercise. Even if they’re already familiar with the workings of the business, agents are likely to need additional training, in using the new channel and communicating effectively and appropriately with customers. A web chat, for example, can call for a breezier and more informal tone than a back and forwards email exchange. Meanwhile, agents’ use of emojis may enhance the customer experience in a consumer-oriented business but be seen as flippant and inappropriate if they’re working at a healthcare or professional services organisation. Establishing guidelines before the channel is launched will help ensure they provide the consistency and quality of service you’re seeking to deliver.

Determining acceptable service levels is also imperative. Specifying the number of web chats or email exchanges agents are expected to handle concurrently – and being prepared to adjust your metrics if they’re not realistic – arms your team with the information they need to do a good job.

Staying within budget

No organisation wants to pay more than it has to for contact centre software. But tracking your spend can be tricky if you’re paying multiple licence fees to multiple companies. A single vendor platform with a flat monthly subscription which covers all channels provides simplicity and certainty – and very often a cost saving too.

Keeping agents engaged

A contact centre is only as good as its agents. Failing to engage with them as you prepare to launch a new channel or several is a missed opportunity to strengthen their relationship with the business. Seeking their input when you’re scripting responses and attempting to gauge customer sentiment makes them part of the process and improves the likelihood of a seamless integration when the time comes to go live.

Planning pays

An omni-channel contact centre can enhance your business’s customer experience but it’s not a given. Yes, the technology will work but nailing the operational aspects takes time and effort.

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