Omnichannel

The term omnishambles was first coined in the hit UK comedy “The Thick of It” in 2009.  It was, however, more famously used in 2012 by the (then) leader of Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition Ed Milliband MP, “…we are all keen to hear the Prime Minister’s view on why he thinks, four weeks on from the budget, even people within Downing Street are calling it an omnishambles budget.”

In 2012, omnishambles was named Word of the Year by the Oxford English Dictionary, meaning, “A situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations.”

Unfortunately for many businesses today the rapid rise of new channels of customer communication (web, mobile, social media) has led to an omnishambles situation: interactions within new channels are either managed in isolation, mismanaged, or not managed at all. This does not create an omnichannel customer experience environment because:

  1. Channels are silos of engagement – Often, each channel has been created within a silo with channel-specific technology. In many of these channels only self-service is offered, requiring you to transfer to another channel if you need assistance. The cost of running this imperfect model is also higher, as each technology needs to be implemented, maintained and administrated separately, with the associated duplications of effort.
  1. Context is not shared – One of the most frustrating characteristics of dealing with an organization that has multiple channels of communication is ‘corporate amnesia’. Any knowledge and insight about you is either not recorded, or not available in channel or across channels. Information is often captured during the contact process, but not used or available for a later interaction. We are living in an age of information and yet often you are not recognized when you move from one channel to another, and you have to start all over again with each interaction.
  1. Operations are not managed holistically – Finally, too often resource management is also handled in silos, which means resources cannot be shared across channels, and work cannot easily be reassigned to the best available resource. This results in planning, scheduling and intraday management operating by channel, which misses the economies of scale. This also makes reporting on the omnichannel customer experience complex because of the wide range of systems involved.

As consumers, this leaves us frustrated when “the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing”, especially when we change from one channel to another. This increased effort leads to a poor customer experience, and for companies, a loss of sales and higher operational costs.

To escape these omnishambles I recommend the following three strategies:

  1. Be wherever the customer is – We expect to be able to interact with businesses through whichever channel we choose, when and where we want. This means that whenever practical, both self-service and assisted service need to be available in any channel. However, we should recognize that not every channel is good for handling all types of interactions. For example, social media may not be the best channel for managing my complex billing query, so it would be more appropriate to call me back me back to discuss the issue.
  2. Use whatever you know – The core difference between a multi-channel and an omnichannel customer experience strategy is predicated on the use of context. It is vital to apply and carry context across all channels and interactions using:
    • the customer’s profile, customer record, and other sales and marketing data, such as customer demographics, product portfolio, customer segment and value
    • the customer’s journey so far, including rich data from previous interactions and transactions, both structured and unstructured
    • current activity and input regardless of channel

Context must be used intelligently, proactively and predictively, and applied in every channel, in each interaction and across each customer journey. This is ultimately how the insights from Big Data become actionable.

  1. Enable the omnichannel customer engagement operation – Offering an omnichannel customer experience is dependent on your ability to orchestrate it, requiring the ability to:
    • forecast resource needs for all channels
    • schedule the correctly skilled personnel for each channel
    • ensure intraday adherence to an omnichannel schedule
    • route the right work via the right channel to the best skilled people
    • report consistently across and within each channel (both real-time and historic)

Organizations that aspire to deliver an omnichannel customer experience need a single platform to fully orchestrate and manage customer journeys and interactions that are personalized for every customer.

Journey Mapping eBookFind out how Genesys can help you avoid omnishambles to deliver great omnichannel customer experience. Our new eBook on journey mapping is also a great resource for developing your approach to delivering exceptional experiences.

Brendan Dykes

Brendan Dykes

Brendan has over 25 years of experience in the customer service industry, in both business and technical roles. This broad experience has allowed him to see first-hand the importance for both customers and organizations of delivering consistent omnichannel customer experiences....