Multichannel Contact Centers: Better for You, Better for Customers

Multichannel Contact Centers: Better for You, Better for Customers

A recent study by research firm Ovum found that 86 percent of consumers use at least five channels for customer support. Although 68 percent believe a phone call is most likely to resolve their issues, 78 percent would opt for a different channel if they knew it would lead to resolution on the first try. For example, live chat usage has increased from 33 percent in 2014 to 44 percent in the 2016 survey. In addition, 83 percent of respondents use mobile applications, and 35 percent either currently use or would be willing to use Internet of Things devices for support.

Unfortunately, there’s a major disconnect between customers and contact center managers about how quickly issues are resolved. Customers believe it takes six interactions, while contact center managers say it’s more like one or two interactions. Why the disconnect? Well, 72 percent of customers search for information online before trying to get in touch with customer support, and less than half of organizations track that behavior.

A multichannel contact center makes it possible for customers to communicate with an organization through phone, email, chat, text, mobile apps, social media, and online forums or communities. Using a number of features to streamline contact center operations and empower agents with customer data, a multichannel contact center also improves upon the traditional model to deliver better customer experiences.

The first goal is to resolve customer issues as quickly as possible on the channel of their choosing. Customers shouldn’t have to start over and repeat themselves if, for example, they shift from live chat to a phone call. Solutions such as ShoreTel Connect Contact Center uses screen pops to automatically show agents the customer’s full interaction history, enabling the agent to pick up where the customer left off. If necessary, the agent can use the presence feature to determine the accessibility of subject matter experts.

The second goal is to improve agent productivity and utilization, and overall contact center performance. In a traditional contact center, an agent can only deal with one customer at a time via phone. In a multichannel contact center, an agent can interact with multiple customers at the same time, which reduces the cost per contact. Interactions are routed based on the type of communications channel already being used by an agent and the maximum number of interactions that an agent can effectively handle. For example, an agent could simultaneously help two or more customers by email and chat, while voice calls typically require constant attention.

Automatically integrating contact center data with the customer relationship management (CRM) system helps both agents and managers. Agents can use this information to better understand the customer’s issue so they’re prepared for each interaction. Managers can then use data to evaluate agent performance and create real-time and historical reports to optimize contact center operations.

ShoreTel Connect Contact Center is designed with built-in features to help organizations better serve customers and better manage their contact centers. For example, chat sessions can use the Contact Center Interactive Voice Response to deliver scripted messages at a pace that’s comfortable for the customer and optimized for contact center operations. Similarly, email queuing is managed in a way that ensures all emails are processed promptly while giving priority to certain email accounts.

ShoreTel Connect Contact Center bridges the gap between the contact center manager’s perception of support and the customer’s reality. Let us show you how to use this solution to create a multichannel contact center that meets customer expectations, empowers agents, and maximizes productivity and efficiency.