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The term omnichannel appears everywhere, yet it’s more than a buzzword. It solves long-standing problems by enabling you to align your business with ever-increasing customer expectations. It’s typically associated with a seamless customer experience for both self-service and assisted-service interactions. Yet in practice there’s often a gap between customer interactions that begin with web self-service, for example, and those that then move to the phone channel. This disconnect is driving the need for a more holistic, omnichannel engagement approach. Personalized and contextual self-service IVR is a foundation.

What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

According to the 2016 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report by Dimension Data, customer experience has become the top indicator of strategic performance in the boardroom. In this report, 73.7% of respondents voted customer experience as the top reason for offering self-service and assisted-service channels. Yet 48.1% pass no information to agents when customers escalate from self-service. Consider the hit customer experience takes when the customer must restart the process to resolve a problem.

Omnichannel self-service addresses this challenge by enabling customers to engage with you through voice or digital channels and seamlessly transition to any other self-service channel you offer—and when desired, move to assisted service.

When agents are engaged, they are armed with the full context and history of all the self-service interactions. This empowers them to continue delivering personalized service. Seamless integration across channels delivers an optimal customer experience that’s based on the right self-service options. It’s a shift in how we think about self-service.

Where to Begin?

For many years, IVR was synonymous with self-service. New digital and mobile channels have gained ground, each with its own self-service options. But think “self-service” and it’s still IVR that comes to mind. That hasn’t really changed. Self-service is IVR, but it’s also web, mobile, social, and any other channels you offer.

And yet, IVR problems persist. According to a new commissioned study on omnichannel self-service conducted by Forrester Consulting, “48% to 55% of decision-makers are either highly or extremely challenged with a variety of obstacles relating to their IVR.”

The typical IVR lags behind other channels in terms of integration. Antiquated technology is the primary obstacle. Until it moves into a modern technology infrastructure, there is no omnichannel engagement. However, its critical role in customer service and the need for modernization make your IVR a great place to start your transition to omnichannel self-service.

Use Metrics to Build Your Omnichannel Business Case

The Forrester study on omnichannel self-service also analyzed the business impact of self-service capabilities. A key observation is that organizations that embrace omnichannel self-service are more likely to have high or crucial impacts on service response times, call waiting times, the number of customer call backs, and customer satisfaction scores.

In fact, 9 out of 10 companies who employ omnichannel self-service in their organization reported that they are highly or extremely effective in delivering personalized customer experiences across all channels. These same companies report higher customer satisfaction scores and improved service response times compared to companies that do not use omnichannel self-service.

Omnichannel self-service is a critical part of a seamless customer experience, and your overall customer engagement strategy. These metrics offer a good starting point for building a business case on the positive impact of implementing omnichannel self-service.

To learn more about omnichannel self-service and IVR, download the new Forrester white paper, The Case For Omnichannel Self-Service.

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The Case For Omnichannel Self-Service, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Genesys, October 2016.