Transforming Your Call Centre into an Omnichannel Powerhouse: 4 Steps to Success
By Stephen Davies, Co-founder and Technical Director of Connection Telecom
Given the current digital landscape we operate in, consistently integrating new technology into business has become necessary for companies to step up their game, especially in relation to customer experience. The latest trend in the call centre industry is omnichannel support, promising consistent and elevated customer service by meshing different means of communication with an organisation’s most valuable asset: their customers.
However, many existing contact centres are wary of change and hesitant to adopt an omnichannel strategy because of the overwhelming number of digital options on offer. How do businesses decipher which channels are best for their customers’ needs? And how can they make the most of these digital pathways without compromising existing phone support systems? This considerations guide will help you build a smarter call centre.
1- An omnichannel approach is nothing without concerted support
Due to exposure to international businesses, local customers are feeling more empowered than ever to demand high-quality service. As call centres rely heavily on meeting, and ideally exceeding, customer needs, they need to adopt customer service channels preferred by their users. However, a multichannel integration isn’t going to help customers much if the support structure behind it is ineffective and disconnected. The right resources, the business’s ability to properly serve its customers, and its overall level of expertise are the factors that are still going to make the biggest difference when it comes to satisfying customers.
2- Consider the bigger picture when choosing your support channels
Naturally, your business’s market will determine which channels you should be utilising, and how. Contact centres need to make provisions for whichever channels are readily available and already adopted by a company’s customer base, as well as those that customers find the most comfortable to engage with. Self-service portals also play an important role here, because they allow customers to tackle issues outside of regular business hours, and therefore should form part of any good support strategy.
At Connection Telecom, we’ve found that a lot of customers prefer to use chat channels for support. This can be viewed as win-win on both sides because it not only allows call centre agents to multitask and interact with multiple customers at the same time, but also provides easy-to-mine records of conversations for important business information. Companies that really want to distinguish themselves could even consider more adventurous options, like video chat, support sharing streams and even AI bots.
It’s important to bear in mind that different channels vary in their ability to support interactions such as a customer trying to track a parcel, which requires more complicated company feedback. The humble telephone remains a straightforward and reliable way to handle this enquiry. Businesses need to ask themselves how they are going to provide these fluid and integrated customer experiences before they implement certain channels. For example, you may start with an email, then follow up with an SMS – carrying the communication forward efficiently without having to explain the customer’s details and issues to each new agent in the interaction chain. This kind of big picture perspective will help determine which channels are best for both your business and its customers.
3- Balancing digital channels with existing phone and voice systems
Voice and phone channels will always remain an integral part of customer support. However, with a strong shift towards digital channels, call centres must accept that in today’s environment, they need to adapt into a platform that allows better management of the customer journey overall.
An omnichannel strategy will naturally invite changes to existing voice and phone systems, but this doesn’t have to mean a complete negation of legacy structures. Instead, the integration of both traditional and digital channels will help a business develop a seamless stream of customer information and service – good old voice calls are the quickest way to deal with complex interactions, while digital options are great for self-service and follow-ups.
Call centres can also employ different agents for different channels, such as assigning more skilled, specialised agents to assist with technical issues over the phone, and less experienced staff to online chat channels. In an ideal world, a bot will ask the initial questions to gain insights, before the customer is passed to an agent to tackle the query head-on and retain the ‘human’ element of the interaction.
4- Allow your customer journey to drive the transformation
Ultimately, call centres need to hone in on the customer journey. They must take a hard look at business processes and ask themselves how the integration of these systems can improve overall customer experience.
Researching the customer and grasping an understanding of their user journey is key because the omnichannel support system really comes into play when something has gone wrong in a predictable customer journey. There’s no point in having 10 different ways to communicate with a business if, behind the scenes, agents are unable to offer effective solutions or access important business systems.
Communication from any company should be proactive, with useful information and updates shared timeously with customers. If kept in the loop from the start, you won’t receive calls from customers demanding clarity about processes.
Adopting an omnichannel strategy into your call centre is one sure-fire way to boost customer service by offering both excellent voice and digital support. Combined, they elevate engagement, enhance user experience and build trust – essential for organisations in today’s competitive business environment.