The Path to Best-in-Class Results in Omni-Channel Customer Care

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In our previous post, we highlighted why omni-channel customer care is not an option, but a requirement. In doing so, we noted that a best-in-class omni-channel program is not about adding more channels within the customer interaction channel-mix. Rather, it’s about using the right touch-points and ensuring consistency of messages delivered through those touch-points. In this post, we’ll discuss several strategies best-in-class contact centers use to accomplish this objective.

One of the key characteristics that differentiate these leading contact ceneters is their ability to empower their agents with necessary insights in a timely manner. Findings from Aberdeen’s March 2014 The Business Value of Integrating the Contact Center within your Omni-Channel Strategy study shows that the best-in-class are 38% more likely to provide agents with access to all relevant customer data via a single screen on the agent desktop, compared to their lower performing counterparts. This means that agents within these top-performing organizations don’t need to spend time searching for relevant insights to serve clients, and also have easier access to customer data captured through different touch-points. It is this latter point that helps them ensure that the messages clients receive across different channels remain consistent. In an omni-channel marketplace, delivering consistent messages across different touch-points would be almost impossible without empowering contact center agents.

Another best-in-class activity driving success is contextual routing of customers. This refers to an organization’s ability to identify the specific issues of each client, as well as the individual account information, and using tailored workflows to assign customers with specific needs to agents who are capable of handling the particular issue. This activity ‒ used 83% more widely by the best-in-class than other firms ‒ is also used to ensure that customers are routed to agents who are skilled in handling interactions across specific channels. Naturally, not every agent is skilled in delivering support across all touch-points. Some might be skilled in handling voice interactions, whereas others might be more skilled with text-based channels and have advanced social media skills and knowledge. Developing a competency profile for agents and using this as part of the contextual routing process helps leading contact centers connect the right customer to the right agent, while also ensuring that the agent maintains the consistency of the messages delivered through different touch-points within the customer journey. Read Aberdeen’s related study to learn more about how the best-in-class build a contextual routing process to achieve the aforementioned objectives.

Evaluating the effectiveness of each channel is another key characteristic of the Best-in-Class –one that is worth drilling into further considering the rapidly increasing number of touch-points companies incorporate within their customer interactions. In our next post, we will assess how the top performers optimize their channel-mix, as well as the use cases of several emerging and recently well-established channels.

Omer Minkara

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Omer Minkara is the Research Director leading the Contact Center & Customer Experience Management research within Aberdeen Group. In his research, Omer covers the Best-in-Class practices and emerging trends in the technologies and business processes used to enhance customer experience across multiple interaction channels (e.g. social, mobile, web, email and call center). Omer’s research is widely consumed by senior-level Customer Care, Marketing, Sales and Service executives. He has published numerous industry research papers, which are used by executives worldwide to build and nurture strategic customer engagement programs. Omer also speaks frequently with global decision makers to discuss their customer management activities.