fotolia_81542543_subscription_monthly_mFor many businesses, the promise of omnichannel customer engagement is game-changing. It can be the answer to years of trying to keep up with ever-changing customer expectations. But the skeptics aren’t quite convinced.

The word “skeptic” has origins in both the Latin scepticus, meaning “inquiring or reflective” and the Greek skeptikos, meaning “thoughtful.” Ancient Greek philosopher Pyrrho was considered the founder of skepticism. He believed in first asking questions about the nature of the topic, then forming an attitude. You then understood the outcome when adopting that attitude.

In the technology industry, skepticism is a rational approach that questions the validity or authenticity of new solutions. Skeptics want some certainty about the outcome, or ROI. We consider “skeptic” the first stage of the omnichannel maturity model. But at some point, skeptics need to move forward and adopt the solutions that will advance business goals.

In fact, there are increasingly compelling reasons to move from skeptic to adopter. So, how do you determine when? What will it get you?

Start Here: Are You a Skeptic?

You probably already recognize at least part of your organization as fitting in the skeptic stage. Maybe you offer phone-based support and email, but little or no web self-service. Or your operations are run as a cost center with a focus on productivity. Today, companies are shifting from that inside-out approach to one that’s more outside-in. They focus on the customer experience and meeting their expectations for simplicity and personalized service.

That’s at the heart of the issue facing skeptics: Gaining a view into the customer experience and expectations, including which channels you should start supporting. Without an infrastructure that enables you to deliver better customer experience, you’re stuck where you are.

What You Miss by Not Moving Forward

There are quantifiable benefits in having a unified and consistent omnichannel foundation for engaging with your customers. The recent Forrester Total Economic Impact (TEI) study commissioned by Genesys, provides a big picture view of the potential ROI and benefits.

The study found that moving from an outdated, multivendor contact center environment to the Genesys Customer Experience Platform reduced infrastructure-related costs that averaged $27 million over five years. Also, consolidating and modernizing infrastructure resulted in immediate savings by eliminating costly maintenance licenses, contracts, and service agreements. These savings continued to grow as IT labor costs decreased.

Other key findings in the study include:

  • 50% reduction in customer abandonment at key points in the customer journey
  • Over $1 million in increased revenue through e-commerce and voice conversions
  • 50% cost reduction to integrate new contact center agents
  • 5% improvement in agent handle time
  • 8 month payback period

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Organizations that take an omnichannel approach to their customer experience strategy realize not only lower costs, but also improved revenue performance. Employee satisfaction increases when you introduce new opportunities for personal growth. This improves employee retention in an industry with very high turnover.

How to Move from Omnichannel Skeptic to Adopter

In the first blog of this series, Why Your CRM Isn’t Enough to Get You to Omnichannel, we described omnichannel as a multi-step process that many companies phase in over time. Think of it as a framework upon which you can add all the new and emerging channels—whenever your business needs to. This modernization of your infrastructure enables you to start small with a scalable foundation.

And starting small is key. Using minimal resources, you can roll out a project, such as web FAQs, and quickly quantify the value of the project. Structured agent knowledge is also a good starter project for giving agents fast access to common questions. In addition, you’ll have a quicker impact on reducing handle times. If you explore workforce optimization, you can also do more to forecast employee and agent workloads across channels and integrate them.

As you move away from hardware-based solutions, you’ll find it much easier to expand and roll out new capabilities.

What Pyrrho Got Right

Later followers of Pyrrho believed that skeptics could resolve their debates using a “criterion of action.” In our industry, the evidence in favor of taking action ASAP is growing and the stakes are high. Start your plan of action with this complimentary assessment tool from Forrester, and determine your next best step toward omnichannel.

For more information on the omnichannel maturity model, watch our on-demand webinar with Forrester’s Kate Leggett.

Stefan Captijn

Stefan Captijn

Stefan is Senior Director Strategic Marketing at Genesys. Stefan joined Genesys in April 2000, lives in the Amsterdam area with his wife and two children. In his free time, Stefan enjoys building loudspeakers, cycling and running.