How to Achieve a Successful Multichannel Strategy in the Contact Center
November 08, 2010
Due to the rise of social media and the subsequent increase in the use of text-based communications, customer-centric organizations today basically have no choice but to adopt a multichannel strategy in their contact centers. Gone are the days when Web chat was a “nice to have” technology in the contact center – thanks to social media it is now a requirement. As a result, organizations everywhere are adopting multichannel platforms for their contact centers capable of handling email, Web chat, fax and SMS, in addition to phone.
Recent research shows that giving customers more ways to do business with a company actually boosts sales. Studies show that multi-channel retail customers spend 2 to 4 times more than single channel customers – and currently about 68 percent of shoppers use multiple channels when dealing with merchants. In some industries the ROI from going multichannel can be substantial – for example, multichannel banking customers are 25 to 50 percent more profitable than single channel customers.
Adding these new Web 2.0 channels can yield multiple benefits: Research shows that adding channels increases conversion rates; increases order size; improves customer satisfaction; and reduces call volume. It’s easy to see how adding these new channels can boost contact center efficiency and reduce operating costs – for example, a contact center agent can handle multiple Web chats and emails simultaneously, whereas this is impossible using the phone.
But with multichannel systems comes increased complexity – not just in terms of the technology but also in terms of the impact on contact center operations – particularly the processes and the training involved. Driving customer satisfaction via Web chat and email is a different ball game compared to phone – it requires different skill sets, and furthermore, social media is requiring alternate strategies for reacting to, and proactively engaging with, customers.
Recently I moderated an informative webinar, “Making Sense of the Multichannel Contact Center,” where attendees learned how to build a solid multichannel strategy for customer service. This educational event, sponsored by contact center solutions provider inContact, featured presentations from Elaine Cascio, Vice President, Vanguard Communications Corporation, and Jason Williams, Senior Director, Solutions Management, inContact.
Together they discussed how to operate each contact center channel effectively and profitably through channel measurement and good agent selection, including hiring and training. They also revealed how to implement an effective multichannel experience as well as how to measure the customer experience in a multichannel environment.
But perhaps most importantly they covered how to build a multichannel strategy that aligns the general goals of the organization with the more specific customer service goals of the contact center. These days, knowing how to align the business strategy with the customer contact strategy is crucial to an organization’s success: Now more than ever the contact center cannot be regarded as simply “another department” within the organization – when customers make contact, regardless of which channel they are using, they must get the sense that they are contacting the entire organization, through that channel. Therefore the customer experience and the messaging must be consistent from one channel to the next.
This insightful webinar is ideal for any organization considering adding new Web 2.0 channels to its customer service operations. To access the archived version of this informative webinar, including both audio and slides, click here.
Patrick Barnard is Group Managing Editor, TMCnet, focusing mainly on call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard
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