Omnichannel Contact Center Is No Longer Optional

How Much Revenue Are You Losing by Not Offering Omnichannel Customer Service?

I needed more information before buying a product. I checked a seller’s website, but they only offered telephone customer service. That may have been acceptable five years ago. However, voice customer service accounted for only 64% of customer contacts in 2017, according to a Deloitte Global Contact Center Survey. That is projected to decline to just 47% next year. Instead, web chat, text/SMS, email, social media and video customer care will comprise the majority of customer contacts. 


Is your contact centre ready for this huge shift? If not, how do you add new contact channels? The answer is to focus on people, process and technology.


1) People:   

First, map your customer’s journey from their initial interest through to their purchase and post-sales experience. Identify journey points where customers need help. For example, you might add a live chat component to an in-store kiosk, since customers have questions at that point. Or, add social media customer service to your Facebook page since customers seek answers there. In my example, I wanted to use live chat to ask a question via the seller’s website.

Second, prepare your customer service staff for each new channel. Let’s take web chat as an example. Web chat requires a different skill set than traditional phone service. According to a Salesforce study, 64% of consumers expect companies to respond in real-time, while 80% of business buyers expect the same. To meet that speed of response requirement, Agents need solid keyboarding skills and the ability to multitask on several chats at once. In addition, web chat Agents need a higher level of written communication skill than phone-only Agents. Your recruitment, hiring and training need to account for this new skill set.

2) Process:

Map out operational processes for each new channel. For web chat, plan how to queue and distribute chats to your Agents. Develop your internal web chat Service Level Agreement (SLA) and other targets for your team. Create a database of “cut and paste” responses to commonly asked customer inquiries and train your team to use them properly. Establish a web chat quality assurance process so, Agents receive coaching on their written customer interactions.

3) Technology:

Choose the right channel technology. Remember, true omnichannel CX means the platform, infrastructure and applications have to identify, route and switch interactions between Agents and channels seamlessly, while keeping all relevant data gathered in a centralized system. For example, a customer starts with a web chat, then picks up the phone to talk to an Agent and finishes by emailing their missing receipt. With an integrated system every interaction shows in their customer profile, regardless of channel. More importantly, the customer does not have to repeat their entire story each time they switch channels. That is true omnichannel customer service!


How much does it cost to add a new channel? That depends upon the size and scope of the project. On the other hand, how much revenue is lost because customers cannot reach you via THEIR preferred channel? In my earlier example, I did not buy from that seller’s website. Instead, I took my dollars elsewhere. I found a different company that answered questions via web chat and bought from them instead.

How many of your potential customers are doing the same thing? The good news is cloud-based Contact Center-as-a-Service or CCaaS means contact centers of all sizes can provide an affordable, seamless omnichannel experience for their customers. This can be integrated with an entire suite of applications such as Workforce Management (WFM), Quality Management (QM) and Call Recording Analytics so, you can easily coach and manage your front line.

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Mike Aoki-medium size.jpg About Mike Aoki

Mike Aoki is the President of Reflective Keynotes Inc., a training company that helps contact centers improve their sales and customer retention results. A contact center expert, Mike serves on the advisory council of the Greater Toronto Area Contact Center Association and was Master of Ceremonies for five of their Annual Conferences. He was also chosen by as one of the “Top 50 Customer Service Thought Leaders on Twitter” for the past four years.