If your company is like most organizations, you’re in some stage of implementing one or more digital channels. That means you have a choice to make. Do you move toward omnichannel engagement through you contact center infrastructure (CCI)? Do you put your channels into your CRM? Or, do you manage them all separately?

In a previous blog, Don’t Forget Voice! It’s Key to Omnichannel Customer Engagement, we looked at a Gartner comparison of taking a CCI approach, CRM, or using best-of-breed tools. Next, we’ll explore the major issues to consider with CRM as you address your omnichannel engagement goals. We’ll also introduce a complimentary tool to help you get started.

Where CRM Falls Short of Omnichannel Engagement

As a system of record, CRM is used by omnichannel engagement to serve as a repository of customer data. But it’s not a system of engagement. It lacks the underlying foundation and other functionality that’s necessary to support and manage the customer journey across all channels, and these capabilities are the foundation of omnichannel engagement.

Here’s how CRM misses:

  • Inability to manage voice, IVR, and digital channels using a single architecture and business logic. An increasing number of customer interactions are now digital—via chat, social media, websites. Yet great customer experiences are built though consistent and seamless experiences across all channels.
  • Lack of support for contact center operations, which require vast amounts of information gathered in real time. CRM systems are simply too static to deliver this level of service. The growth of multimodal interactions makes timeliness even more critical. Data must be available to create accurate forecasts across all channels, provide an omnichannel schedule, and provide a real-time view of the workforce. These are critical for building lasting customer relationships and running an efficient organization at the same time.
  • Not designed to be used in a contact center environment. In a number of cases, when CRM was introduced as the agent desktop application for the contact center agent, the handle time for any given interaction doubled. This means you need a workforce twice the normal size to manage the same number of customer conversations!

These weaknesses highlight the serious limitations of CRM around infrastructure and usability. Consequently, this also limits its depth of reporting, and management of contact center message distribution. The result is no seamless experience for your customers or for your employees.

What the Ideal Omnichannel World Looks Like

Omnichannel engagement provides a personalized and context-appropriate customer experience across all touchpoints, unlike the individual or isolated contacts you get with CRM. With omnichannel engagement, the journey for a customer who wants to complete a single task—buy a product, resolve a question, understand a bill—eliminates multiple and disconnected interactions.

Here are a few stand-out differentiators of omnichannel engagement on the Genesys Customer Experience Platform:

  • Near real-time delivery of data across multiple channels simultaneously. Its flexible infrastructure lets you integrate all crucial information about customers—from both digital and IVR channels—plus information about employees and their skills. These powerful capabilities inform pertinent decisions related to automated routing, scheduling, and the information employees can access on their desktops.
  • Automated employee activities empower employees to influence their own schedules. Other capabilities let you record and analyze customer interactions for compliance, create scorecards, and institute coaching—again, across all channels.
  • Single, integrated foundation for both the underlying contact center infrastructure and workforce optimization capabilities. As a result, you get quicker time to market, reduced project risk, and lower total cost of ownership.
  • In-depth reporting gives you extensive data and insight into different types of customer interactions over all touchpoints. You can use this valuable insight to  continue improving your delivery of the best possible CX.

What Do You Need to Start?

Getting to omnichannel engagement requires developing a strategy for an initial, minimal set of capabilities. These will vary depending on your unique problem areas for CX and because of your specific business goals. In addition, omnichannel engagement is a multi-step process that many companies phase in over time. For example, you can implement a customer experience platform on top of an existing PBX system. Later, you can migrate to an integrated, SIP-based telephony infrastructure. Determining your entry point begins with an assessment.

Genesys recently released an online omnichannel customer service benchmarking tool. Licensed from Forrester Research, the assessment tool consists of a short quiz with nine questions. It returns results instantly to help you assess the state of your readiness for omnichannel customer service. In addition, you’ll get prescriptive guidance on next steps. We invite you to try out this complimentary benchmarking tool today.

Learn more about how omnichannel customer service can solve CX problems fast. Watch our on-demand webinar with Kate Leggett of Forrester Research, Benchmark Your Omnichannel Customer Service Readiness: Plan Your Customer Engagement Strategy for 2017, NOW!

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.