Is Omni-channel Customer Contact simply Hype or the Reality of the new contact centre model?

Posted: 30 March 2016
ipSCAPE’s latest blog by John Palfreyman looks to uncover the truth.

Did you know that digital interaction accounts for over 35% of all engagement with a brand?

If growth continues at its current rate it will overtake voice in two years’ time. The omni-channel approach is not just hype, it’s a reality and if brands want to remain in favour with consumers, they must be prepared to adopt it.

Customers of all age groups are becoming more comfortable interacting with companies across a growing range of channels and as a result, they are demanding seamless and consistent customer service. The various channels for customer service include, contact centres, social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter), email, forums/message boards, live chat, video chat, online knowledge base and website support widget.

Research house Loudhouse explored this shift in customer service attitudes and behaviours by interviewing 7,000 consumers in seven countries. They found that not only is omni-channel becoming increasingly important, but that many companies are failing the consumer test, with:

  • 69% believe expectations for customer service are increasing year-on-year
  • Just 7% are extremely satisfied that brands provide a seamless, integrated, and consistent customer service experience across multiple channels

On one hand, the omni-channel trend is great for businesses, as it’s easier than ever to communicate with customers through a number of different channels at any time.

However on the other, customers assume you’ll communicate with them through a number of different channels and have the means to recognise them and answer their questions at any time. They also expect you to recognise their full interaction history with you – no matter which channel they used.

This forces brands to focus their attention on developing omni-channel strategies. These strategies require the seamless integration of multiple channels with a single consistent Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database. This is where the complexity starts – especially in larger organisations with multiple contact centres and multiple legacy CRM systems. Unfortunately Customers don’t think in terms of channels, legacy systems or this year’s IT budget. They think about finding an answer or solution.

Digital natives, in particular, are more likely to complain over poor customer service, and they are demanding that brands have both real-time and self-service support options. They fit the stereotype of not having any patience. This “right-now” attitude is being driven by mobile device adoption, as the lines between channels are being blurred, they are able to talk to each other whenever they want, so they want to talk to your brand too.

Brands must catch-up with what the consumer demands or they could be at risk of losing customers to brands that are prepared to speak to their audience in a variety of ways and take the time to ensure that they always recognise that customer – no matter which channel they choose.