Here’s a question: what two words sound the same but are actually worlds apart? That’s right, omnichannel and multi-channel. While they share a common goal of providing customers with multiple ways to interact with a brand, they differ significantly in their approach.
Historically known as the call centre, an omnichannel contact centre is so much more than just that one communication channel. Omnichannel is like a one-stop shop for customer service. Providing seamless CX across all channels, including phone, email, chat, social media, and more. Customer data and interactions are integrated between channels, so customers can start a conversation on one channel and pick it up on another without needing to repeat themselves.
Whereas multi-channel is like a department store with separate floors for each channel. Customers can shop on all floors if they want, but they will have to start over each time they switch channels.
Omnichannel is advantageous for several reasons, but most importantly because customers expect it. Customers today want the convenience of contacting businesses on their preferred channel and the ability to easily pick up the conversation where they left off. In fact, Puzzel’s 2021 survey reported that more than a third (35%) of respondents expect customer service agents to have immediate background knowledge on their query, and 23% wanted the ability to move between channels without disruption.
Implementing and bringing omnichannel to life
To implement an omnichannel contact centre, businesses need to start by understanding their customers’ needs: what channels do customers prefer to use? What are their expectations for a seamless customer experience? McKinsey surveyed what customers wanted from brand interactions and a top requirement from respondents was to “know me no matter where I interact with you,” illustrating a clear need for uninterrupted interaction from online to offline. With Puzzel Digital Engagement, agents can better understand their customer’s journey to create a personalised contextual, and omnichannel experience.
Once businesses understand their customers’ needs, they need to invest in the right omnichannel solution that is scalable, able to integrate with existing systems, and can provide a seamless customer experience.
Next, businesses will need to train their agents on how to use the new solution. The 2022 ICMI survey found that 30% respondents feel new agents do not receive adequate training in contact centres. Investing in an intuitive solution that harnesses AI, such as Puzzel’s Agent Assist, can be a valuable onboarding tool for new agents. Gone are the days of huge manuals and extensive training, instead AI can be deployed to guide new joiners through interactions, providing them with accurate information to help them develop their skills and knowledge base. This will accelerate the onboarding process and allow contact centre agents to deliver exceptional service.
Finally, at Puzzel, we know that businesses should not just implement a new contact centre solution and then leave it, it’s important to monitor and optimise. Agents should look to track key metrics such as customer satisfaction, average handling time, and first contact resolution to ensure that they are meeting their goals.
Tips for contact centre managers
Omnichannel is a strategic initiative that requires buy-in from senior leadership and input across business functions, including IT, marketing, sales, and other departments early in the implementation process.
Once senior leadership is on board, contact centre managers need to choose an omnichannel solution that integrates with their CRM system. This will help to track customer interactions across all channels and provide a more personalised customer experience. By fully embedding the contact centre function within the wider business, it transforms it from being viewed as simply a “solution” or “function” to an insight generator that can help wider business performance.
Finally, contact centre managers can use AI and ML across channels like chat, email, and social media, to automate tasks, personalise interactions, and provide predictive insights. This can free up agents to focus on more complex issues and provide a better customer experience. According to Puzzel’s latest State of Contact Centres 2024, 66% of European contact centre leaders acknowledge the importance of implementing AI tools in 2024 and 39% believe generative AI for content and response will have the most substantial impact in the next two years.
At Puzzel, we know that customers expect convenience and ease when it comes to customer service. Businesses that implement omnichannel contact centres will be better positioned to meet and exceed customer expectations.