OmnichannelRecently I joined the ICMI panel discussion, Create Better Customer Experiences: Why the Modern Contact Center Must Go Omnichannel. The discussion was hosted by Justin Robbins, Community Manager at ICMI, and we were joined by industry analyst Sheila McGee-Smith and Anne Palmerine, who leads the member experience for UPMC Health Plan.

Justin opened the discussion with some key metrics from recent research on the state of customer experience (CX) today:

  • Harris Interactive market research has identified that 1 in 5 consumers have had a negative contact center experience in the last six months, and that 86% of consumers who have a bad customer service experience are very likely to switch companies.
  • IMCI research shows that 100% of contact center operators believe that agent satisfaction and morale directly affect the customer experience, while 74% of operators are aware of something that prevents their agents from providing the best possible CX.
  • The same ICMI research also shows that 62% of contact center operators expect to increase the number of agents supporting multiple channels, while 73% cite a notable increase in the complexity of customer contacts.

The takeaway from these results is that customer experience and the contact center are clearly connected. We can be doing better to empower agents and deliver consistently great omnichannel customer experiences. With our customers moving toward digital channels and self-service, the remaining interactions coming into the contact center are the more complicated ones where self-service wasn’t able to deliver.

The primary focus of the discussion was to combine the perspectives of Sheila, myself, and Anne to clarify what omnichannel really means to each of us, and how we apply it to our organizations. Perspectives included:

  • The barriers contact centers face in delivering an omnichannel experience. For example, Sheila noted that under investment in contact centers following the last recession has resulted in dated contact center applications. The problem is then compounded when businesses just bolted on channels that are serviced by third party providers. Giving limited perspective for agents across the platform and channels.
  • The steps contact center leaders can take to streamline insight into the customer experience. Anne emphasized making time to be strategic and investing to hear the voice of the customer. Do the research and then act on the learnings to drive improvements.
  • What capabilities to look for in a platform to enable omnichannel CX I highlighted that your agents are equipped with an out-of-the-box desktop solution to manage omnichannel interactions. This can engage customers in multimodal interactions, enforce your business rules through advanced scripting, and support work item queuing, ended work schedules and just in time training.

The last point on omnichannel benefits sets the stage for the critical question of how you should justify the investment. We all know digital customer engagement is here to stay and adoption is accelerating, but how do you sharpen the pencil and estimate your return?

At Genesys we recently created a tip sheet on Building the Business Case for an Omnichannel Contact Center to help answer this question. It highlights eleven areas of omnichannel benefits with benchmark metrics based on our work with customers. Each of these benefit areas serves as a data point to help inform the big picture for your organization.

If you missed the panel discussion, I highly recommend checking out the on-demand replay to hear Anne Palmerine discuss UPMC’s transition to omnichannel, and Sheila McGee-Smith impart her industry experience, along with how our perspectives on omnichannel interlock.

Chris Horne

Chris Horne

Chris Horne has been in the software industry for more than 20 years, building and marketing products for enterprise content management, business process automation, cloud management and enterprise customer engagement. Serving in various roles within startup ventures such as RightScale...