21st Century Contact Center: Why MultiChannel Is a Must

This article was originally published on No Jitter.

Your customers are your central focus, and you need to be able to communicate how they want.

It is common knowledge that your customers care about user experience, and an unhappy customer will leave and never come back. Expectations and what used to make customers happy have changed. Customers are not prepared to accept the frustration and anxiety tied to long periods of being kept on hold. Nowadays, they need instant chat, email or SMS notification or a quick and convenient callback system. What does this change in behavior mean for you, and how are you facing these current challenges?

Customers interact with your company through multiple channels. They might see a campaign via social media, then view or chat on your Web page to find out more, send an email to book and perhaps make a phone call for adjustments. Use of these channels may be in any order, but critically, under your customer's control. Your customers are your central focus, and you need to be able to communicate how they want.

According to research by Plantronics, 80% of companies think they provide great service, but only 8% of customers agree. The key is, don't just answer the phone, solve the problem.

How do your agents know where they are in the process of communication to deliver the right level of service and experience required? You need to bring all channels of communication into a single coherent conversation. Treating each interaction separately means your customer conversation continuity will be lost and, in turn, your customers. Providing the context behind all the elements of communication is increasingly essential for your agents to quickly address customer needs.

Amidst the changing trends, demands and preferences, not only do you have to keep up, but you need to get ahead. It is crucial for your business to accommodate customer preferences to provide stellar experience and service. A standard voice-centric contact center approach simply can't cope with the challenges of communication innovation, nor enable you to offer world class customer experience. You need to refresh your contact center capabilities to meet the demands of today's customers.

Providing conversation continuity, with a high level of service, means bringing the same level of discipline and control to each communication channel whether real-time or non real-time. Your multi-channel solution needs to provide a unified treatment of these communications so agents are able to handle any interaction, routed and prioritized according to business needs.

In coming articles we will dive deeper into each of the aspects above and how to address these from the point of view of the agent, the supervisor and the business. We will explore how to deal with your customers' choice of communication channel, how to bring these separate channels in to a single coherent conversation and how you can gain an advantage through the transformation to a multi-channel customer experience.

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