What is Omnichannel & why does it matter?
It’s often thought that if a contact centre handles customer requests through voice, email and chat, that makes it an omnichannel contact centre.
Handling requests through a number of channels puts the “channel” into Omnichannel, but not the “Omni”.
The “Omni” part is related to the customer’s experience.
Steve Bell, in his May 2019 article in CallCentreHelper, mentioned that customers dealing with a multichannel contact centre often experience a “disconnected” experience. When switching channels, they have to explain the whole situation again to the new agent because the applications for the two channels are not integrated, and information cannot be shared.
He also mentions that customers get frustrated because information from all previous encounters is not available to agents. Agents either must search for it manually or the customer must bring the agent up to speed.
Additionally, Bell quotes the Dimension Data Global Contact Centre Benchmarking report: “Digital channels are the #1 channel of choice of communication for people under the age of 35.”
This demographic may potentially be customers for the next 50 years, so it is worth making the effort to win and retain their loyalty.
Omnichannel’s development has been accelerated by cloud’s development, and both have been accelerated by the pandemic.
A cloud based omnichannel contact centre can include self-service and automated responses. Customers can fulfil simple requests faster without waiting for contact centre agents to become available. Contact centres can handle higher request volumes without having to hire, train and manage more agents.
This has affected how agents are trained. In her 13 July 2021 article, Patty Yan noted that soft skills are becoming a more important part of an agent’s training. This is because customers are more likely to find themselves routed to a human agent when the automated process has broken down in some way.
Perhaps the customer is making an unexpected request. Perhaps the customer finds it difficult to use the self-service application. Customers are more likely to be emotional when they are talking to a human agent, so agents need better listening and empathy skills than they did in the past.
A unified interface that is integrated with a customer database and a CRM system reduces application training time, giving agents more time to perfect their communication skills. This interface allows them to rapidly access the customer’s data from all previous encounters, so giving them the context to understand and respond to the customer more effectively.
Where does Omningage come in?
We provide a cloud-based desktop application for Agents and Supervisors. It sits on top of Amazon Connect, augmenting its call, chat and task routing functionality with a user-friendly UI and a wide range of integrations and additional features.
Amazon Connect can handle emails and other text-based interactions through its “task” functionality and, through Omningage, it can also be integrated with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Instant Messaging applications.
Amazon Connect is designed to be integrated with Amazon Lex chatbots, which are based on the same technology as Amazon Alexa, as well as Amazon Web Services’ AI driven speech and text analytics services and various databases.
The data from these can be displayed in and queried through the Omningage interface.
Omningage can also be integrated with CRM systems and customer record databases so that, when customers provide identifying information as part of the contact flow, Omningage will automatically find the relevant records and present them to the agent handling the request.
This can include both CRM data and historical records of other contacts the customer has had with the organization, allowing the agent to see what the customer has experienced before.
The Omningage interface is designed to be extremely user friendly. This results in a reduction in both average handling time and also training time, giving the agents the opportunity to work on their communication skills.
Omnichannel is where customer service is going.
Service quality is the competitive arena. Amazon Connect and Omningage is the solution that truly puts the “Omni” back into Omnichannel.