The Omnichannel Contact Center: Why You Need A Flexible Support Strategy in 2020

Customer service has evolved drastically in the digital world. Now, in the age of instant satisfaction, your audience expects more from you than a simple hotline to call. Enter the omnichannel contact center. It doesn't solve all of your problems, but we have to say it: it comes close.

Omnichannel Contact Center

Customer service has evolved drastically in the digital world. Now, in the age of instant satisfaction, your audience expects more from you than a simple hotline to call.

Meeting and exceeding their expectations is not easy. Many companies struggle to meet their customer’s needs, which can have devastating consequences. According to one study, businesses lose $75 billion every year due to poor customer service.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Technology is too advanced, and the customer service field has come too long of a way, to simply give up and accept that many of your customers will be unhappy.

Enter the omnichannel contact center. It doesn’t solve all of your problems, but we have to say it: it comes close.

So let’s dig into how omnichannel contact centers have evolved from their more traditional counterparts, and why their core benefit—a more flexible support strategy—is central to their success and essence.

The Shortcomings of Traditional/Single-Channel Support Strategies

What did customer service look like 30 years ago? You might still remember it. In this environment, it was simple: you had a customer service hotline, which was the only way to contact the company if you had a question or complaint.

That’s an easy setup for any business, of course. You only have to manage one channel, and can streamline all of its communications.

But as convenient as it is (and was) for businesses, it’s also devastating from a customer support perspective. What if they don’t like that channel? Worse, you’re creating a bottleneck that can only be solved by a specific type of communication (typically the phone call).

Some businesses still embrace this model today, though some have moved to a different channel like chat or email. More successful ones, though, have evolved to multichannel customer service.

The Basic Truth of Multichannel Support

Multichannel customer service is an attempt to rectify the drawbacks of single-channel, traditional support. Customer service lines are spread out multiple channels such as phone, email, and website. The customer can pick and choose their favorite channel to get their questions answered and engage with the company.

The element of choice has made multichannel customer support more effective and popular than its single-channel alternative. But it also presents significant business challenges, which funnel down to the customer experience.

What’s fundamentally lacking in this model is a connection between the channels. Customers who call, but follow up with an email, may never get a resolution. Worse, their experiences may be entirely disconnected. That’s because companies in this model tend to have trouble connecting the dots, gathering consistent data, and drawing customer insights.

And here’s the problem: according to research done by Salesforce, 70% of customers across industries expect a seamless support experience. Multichannel support tries to increase choice but disconnects the process in the meantime.

5 Benefits of Omnichannel Customer Support

If neither of the above works well, what’s the alternative? That’s where omnichannel support services enter the equation.

In this solution, multiple channels are not just options but connected by a larger strategy. That allows customers to communicate how they want, without losing consistency in the process.

More specifically, businesses adopting an omnichannel support strategy tend to reap these 6 rewards as a result:

  1. Improving the overall customer experience by meeting customers where they are.
  2. Reducing agent turnover and other problems.
  3.  Maximizing your data insights.
  4. Leveraging modern technology solutions.
  5. Connecting customer support with your larger strategy.

Let’s dive into each of these in more detail.

1) Improving Your Customer Experience

We already mentioned above that omnichannel support allows you to meet your customers where they are. Today, audiences across ages spend hours of time on their phone—and yet, many of them don’t actually want to pick it up to call anyone. Live chat support, social media, email, and text, have become viable alternatives.

Of course, some of them still do want to call. And yet others will make their preferred channel dependent entirely on their mood and given situation.

In other words, your audience wants and needs help on their terms—and they need it now. Only a comprehensive omnichannel support strategy can help to give them what they want.

Think about it: what if your website offered an easy way to chat, email, or call one of your agents? What if your social media account was staffed by the same agents, who could answer questions the same way? The seamless nature of that experience would be a massive win.

Through omnichannel support, you tailor your entire customer service strategy towards your audience. As a result, you drastically improve their customer experience, making them more likely to return and recommend your business to others.

In other words, an omnichannel customer support experience actually improves your brand experience. That makes it a valuable (and highly sought-after) point of differentiation when it comes to customers choosing between you and your competition.

2) Reducing Agent Turnover and Building Consistency

It’s not just about your customers. It’s also about the people on the other side of the line. Because if they’re not happy, they’re not productive. They leave, and they leave dissatisfied customers in their wake. Not a great resolution.

Customer service is a demanding profession. It requires both expert knowledge and the ability to calm agitated members of your target audience.

Add to that the increasing demand from companies to see performance metrics and understand their customer service ROI That’s probably why contact centers have among the highest turnover rates in any industry.

It might sound counterintuitive, but a good omnichannel strategy can actually counterbalance that worrisome trend. Bringing all channels under one larger umbrella, and using a single platform to both manage tickets and track results, reduces both stress and extra duties for agents who now have more time to spend on actually helping customers.

The resulting benefits are multilayered. It costs less to retain an employee than it does to hire a new one. Moreover, less turnover results in more consistency, leading to a more seamless and positive customer experience as a result. It’s a win-win.

3) Maximizing Your Data Insights

Pop quiz: can your company track pure marketing ROI that isn’t based on last-click attribution? Most still don’t. Multichannel call centers have long suffered from similar drawbacks, with their ability to track individual channels counterbalanced by the struggles to see the bigger picture. That’s changing with the omnichannel approach.

In this philosophy, data insights are tracked in a single platform, and drawn back to the overarching goals within the larger strategy. As a result, you’re able to truly optimize your data insights.

Think about it: a successful service phone call means that much more if you can also connect it to a previously unhappy social media customer service experience. You begin to treat your customers as full individuals, rather than single contact points.

That has real-life advantages in its own right. Every touchpoint becomes another data point for your agents to leverage. They’re able to see past interactions and orient themselves differently as a result. That seamless experience mentioned multiple times already? The data insights you can gain through this omnichannel approach makes it possible.

4) Leveraging Modern Technology Solutions

Let’s face it: successful omnichannel support only exists because of the technology that allows it to happen. But turn it around, and it’s just as true: that technology is one of the core benefits of an omnichannel strategy.

Put simply, an omnichannel strategy allows you to take better advantage of modern tech solutions. Take data visualization and even machine learning as examples. Both take and manipulate data for deeper and more actionable insights. Better data allows you to better leverage their abilities.

That’s especially true because of the integration possibilities modern tech tends to offer. Through simple bridges, you can transfer data and optimize your customer and agent experience even further. And because it all connects together, the return is well worth the initial investment setup.

That modern technology, of course, is still dependent on each company and their preferred approach to omnichannel solutions. Still, it does and should play a vital role in setting up an ecosystem designed to build a seamless customer experience.

5) Connecting Customer Support to Your Larger Strategy

Finally, omnichannel support wins because it allows you to think bigger. It doesn’t just bring your customer service efforts under one comprehensive umbrella but also connects that umbrella to the even bigger picture: your business strategy as a whole.

Think about who you are as a business and as a brand. Where do the customers stand? How do you ensure their satisfaction, from the first time they see one of your ads to the time when they’ve become your biggest brand loyalist?

That full-picture customer journey goes far beyond customer service, but it’s an important middle part. By building a comprehensive omnichannel support strategy, you’re able to link your strategy in with the larger business goals and objectives and, as a result, maximize your chances for success.

Approaching the topic this way can take a number of forms. You might want to, for instance, connect your customer service SMART goals to your business smart goals. You might also want to integrate your data solutions for more comprehensive analysis and reporting. The possibilities are (almost) endless.

Putting it All Together: Omnichannel Support as a Central Customer Service Solution

Ultimately, it’s all about your customers. Through an omnichannel support system, you make sure that you can build a seamless experience that doesn’t just work in the moment, but also allows you to optimize your communications platforms over time.

Seeing one channel outperform others? Understand why, and shift resources that way. Keep your channels in balance and make sure they work with each other.

This type of balance allows for a level of accessibility that doesn’t just speed up responses but considers each customer (and their question or problem) more holistically.

That all sounds clearly beneficial, and maybe even obvious. So why doesn’t every business simply follow the same formula? Because it’s more difficult than it looks.

Integration sounds good on paper, but can be difficult to achieve. Put simply, it’s hard to keep track of all the communication channels you offer. And even if you can, it’s tough to connect it all back to a larger strategy at all times.

Get it wrong, and the results for your customers will be less than great. But if you get it right, you can build a crucial competitive advantage over your competition. So let’s talk about how you can get it right.

Finding an Omnichannel Support Center to Build and Execute Your Strategy

You can’t just use a software solution. You need agent, channel, and strategic expertise by your side. That’s why working with an omnichannel contact center tends to be your best bet.

In that case, your provider has already taken care of the hard parts. They have a process in place, and the technology ready to start tracking and spitting out valuable data. All they need is the nuance and strategy of your business to plug in.

Find the right provider, and you get the baseline for a successful omnichannel strategy. You get a comprehensive overview without forgetting the nitty-gritty. Even better, you get experience in this approach that’s invaluable and impossible to replace.

That’s where we come in. Millennial Services prides itself on its omnichannel support abilities, building synergies with our clients and across channels like phone, email, chat, texting, and social media.

We treat customer support as a strategic undertaking, a complex web of strategy and execution that leads to long-term ROI and benefits for your company. Best of all, we do it with dedicated, US-based agents who are ready to help your business succeed.

We believe in omnichannel support because audiences today demand it. That’s why we’ve built our business model around it, and have helped clients like you succeed. With an omnichannel customer service partner by your side, you’ll be in good hands and ready to help your customers on every level.