fotolia_81092382_subscription_monthly_mMeeting customer expectations has become a fast-moving target. You add mobile and more digital channels, and now customers expect multimodal forms of engagement. The bar has been raised yet again, with omnichannel customer engagement promising next-generation experiences for your customers.

However, these trends put pressure on today’s customer engagement centers. The disruption blurs the lines between the role and value of contact center infrastructure (CCI) and CRM, and best-of-breed solutions. Businesses struggle to make sense of new options and approaches to delivering a seamless customer experience (CX). In turn, this complicates the decision-making process. Which approach best supports an omnichannel customer experience and why?

Customer-First Engagement

While everything begins with the customer, the start of their journey may still be a mystery to your team. Today, customers prefer using self-service to find information and resolve most problems. Yet a recent global study of 3,500 consumers concluded that 32% of people who start a customer service journey in a digital channel will use the phone when they can’t find what they need, or when they have more complex problems. While digital channels are fast-growing, voice is still number one among all channels. It is the escalation point for complex and challenging issues.

CCI vendors are in a unique position when it comes to integration of voice and interactive voice response (IVR) with new digital channels. Gartner noted in its research report, How to Successfully Navigate CRM and CCI Procurement on the Route to Omnichannel Success, that the CCI vendor already manages the core voice and IVR channels, which are where most of the “heavy lifting” needs to occur. The addition of non-voice channels to this load is not a major uplift in effort.

Building your strategy with a foundation in voice interactions enables a simpler and easier process for adding new channels without disrupting optimal CX. With a single customer experience platform, you’re able to pull together context from customers who use self-service and switch to voice. Employees can see each customer’s full history, assist them in resolving problems, and personalize the entire experience. Mystery solved.

Automated Routing and Employee Engagement

As customers move between multiple channels over the course of their journey, they expect a consistent, effortless experience with your business across all channels of engagement. By consolidating customer communications using automated routing, you can deliver that highly personalized experience. Here’s how:

Intelligent routing sends each customer interaction to the best available expert for the customer at that point in time, based on agent skills and priority rules. Making better use of your employees reduces costs and helps you deliver better service to customers.

At the same time, you’re able to empower employees to guide the customer journey using tools that give them insights into the customer, including past interactions and where they are on their journey. The efficiency and effectiveness gained ties directly to customer satisfaction and highlights the value of a single customer experience platform.

Using automated routing to deliver an omnichannel CX is one reason best-of-breed solutions are losing favor. While they may serve short-term goals, they exacerbate silos. They are also  difficult to integrate into the rest of the customer experience ecosystem. Your employees are forced to work with an incomplete view of each customer’s interactions. Plus, contact centers lose the benefits of a single real-time and historical reporting interface.

Optimize Workforce, Optimize Business

The simplification that results from consolidating all communications channels with intelligent routing does more than improve CX and employee engagement. It saves money through better planning, management of employee workloads, and more meaningful analytics.

In its report, Disruption Ahead for the Customer Engagement Center Workforce Optimization Market, Gartner noted that the addition of viable workforce optimization (WFO) functionality to the portfolios of contact center infrastructure (CCI) vendors will simplify integration and vendor management, and reduce total cost of ownership, for organizations seeking to enhance their customer engagement capabilities.

Convergence driven by the growth of digital and mobile channels is forcing contact centers to rethink their foundational technology. As you consider how to deliver omnichannel customer engagement, keep in mind that a consistent customer experience will build long-term relationships that keep customers coming back.

Download your copy of the new research report by Gartner, How to Successfully Navigate CRM and CCI Procurement on the Route to Omnichannel Success.



Gartner How to Successfully Navigate CRM and CCI Procurement on the Route to Omnichannel Success, Jim Davies | Michael Maoz | Drew Kraus | Steve Blood | Olive Huang | Brian Manusama, July 19, 2016.