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Omni-Channel IntegrationThe trend of technology over time is for systems to become more integrated. Think about smartphones, for example. Instead of carrying around a laptop to respond to emails, a watch to tell the time, a music player, and so on, one mobile device does the job of all these different devices. With virtual wallet apps, smartphones are even starting to replace credit cards.So what does this have to do with your contact center and omni-channel solutions? While it may not be immediately obvious, the smartphone example can serve as an analogy for contact centers attempting to engage with customers across multiple channels. Much like a person who carries around multiple devices, many contact centers have simply bolted on additional applications to their existing hardware and software to piece together a multi-channel solution.
There are numerous drawbacks to this approach. For one, the standalone applications often don’t play together well and the more you add, the worse it gets. Support can be a nightmare as it involves dealing with multiple products from multiple vendors. Many contact centers end up dependent on a few long-term employees who are the only ones who remember all the pieces that have been stuck together.
The big issue though is that, even when it works, this approach only delivers multi-channel rather than true omni-channel. What’s the difference? While multi-channel solutions simply offer the ability to interact with customers on multiple channels, an omni-channel solution unifies these channels to deliver a consistent customer experience. Much like a smartphone eliminates the need for separate devices, an omni-channel approach means one solution that integrates all channels and all tools in one place.
Many contact centers are hesitant to leave behind their existing solutions due to the sunk cost and the time they’ve spent getting everything to work together. However, the reality is that an omni-channel solution is increasingly needed to keep up with today’s customers. When a customer reaches out to your contact center, they expect a quick response to their issue and will take their business elsewhere if they don’t receive it. An omni-channel solution is essential in this situation, as it allows agents to move between channels to engage customers while retaining the past interaction data necessary to shorten the call time and deliver an informative response. Because omni-channel software integrates everything on one unified platform, all customer emails, phone calls, chats, tweets, and more are streamed into a blended queue for consistent handling.
Just as the introduction of smartphones has changed how we communicate, omni-channel solutions revolutionize the customer experience by providing contact centers with the integrated tools they need for excellent service.