Omnichannel has become quite the buzzword across a number of industries. As with most buzzwords, there are a lot of ideas and impressions floating around, but less factual understanding about what this term actually means.
In fact, few people, even within our telecom industry, are sure about what an omnichannel approach really is and what benefits it can provide. As call center specialists, we’d like to help bring some clarity and definition to this concept.
Omnichannel is actually not “new.” Instead, it’s simply a better approach to achieving our primary industry goals: superior customer service combined with an excellent user experience.
The omnichannel approach is really the natural evolution and amalgamation of our ever-diversifying methods. It probably can best be understood by looking at how our call center industry has developed over time.
Multichannel Customer Service: The Early Days
In the beginning, customer service centers made the best out of the limited technology available. Early customer care representatives had only the letter and the telephone at their disposal.
Decades later, technological advancements brought the fax machine, which did a fair job of bridging the gap. Then came email, which seemed like an absolute miracle at the time. Then came the rudimentary websites and chat channels of the early- to mid-nineties.
The increase in the number of methods of communication available led to what was called multichannel communications, which meant a customer could select the most convenient or most comfortable means from 4 or 5 options.
Though still very limited by today’s standards, the ability to offer customers choices in how to receive assistance represented a definite move upward in the call center industry.
However, having multiple channels to choose from didn’t go far enough. Each channel was siloed, operating in isolation from the other channels. The different methods weren’t working in harmony. Agents could communicate with the customer in only one dimension chosen from the handful of channels currently available.
More Options, a Better Approach
Over the years, technological advancements have continuously increased the number of communication channels call centers can utilize to meet customer service needs, including but not limited to:
- Voice call
- Analog lines
- VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)
- Video chat
- Screen sharing
- Web & mobile chat
- Mobile apps
Necessity is the mother of invention. Customer needs led our industry to ask a valuable question: What if we could get all of these things working together?
The Omnichannel Approach: A Better Way
“Omni” simply means “all.” That’s what our industry is enabling agents to do: perform excellent customer service across all channels, which increases the quality of the user experience.
Basically, the omnichannel approach is multichannel communication done right. All channels are available all the time, with the ability for call center personnel to switch back and forth seamlessly, as required, to best meet the customer service need at hand.
With the ability to start with a chat session from your website and convert to a voice call, and finally follow up with an email, while never losing the communication thread, customer service agents are able to meet a wide range of customer needs in real time.
JBHworks: Custom Omnichannel Solutions
If you need help implementing or streamlining an omnichannel approach at your call center, we’d love to help.
The call center specialists at JBHworks develop custom solutions that can help you meet all your customer service needs.