âOmni/Multi-Channelâ how much of the pitch is flannel? | DMA

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âOmni/Multi-Channelâ how much of the pitch is flannel?


“I want to help customers have a great experience when they engage with us”
“I want to be available to customers on whichever channel they want engage with us on”
“I want their transition from one channel to another to be seamless”
“I want us to be have a single view of the customer so I can better understand how, where and why they buy from us”
“I want to maximise productivity levels in the contact centre”…..
The list of motivations to invest in multi-channel technologies are endless and totally understandable.

The latest Dimension Data report sates ‘Go Digital or Die’(!) and Forrester estimate 42% of queries require an agent to access multiple systems. This fuel means every multi-channel unified platform provider will extol the virtues of giving your customers a joined up experience.

All this noise is powerful but I know for quite a lot of companies it’s also a bit terrifying. Before I got married and before I had a baby I attended wedding and baby fayres. The options that were presented apparently meaning the difference between a good and bad wedding, or birth were overwhelming. When I attended Customer Conact Expo this year I imagined it would be a similar sensation for some attendees.

With 150 exhibitors providing; ‘best of breed’ channel management solutions, unified communication platforms, CRM packages which may or may not integrate with your existing technologies and lots of pens I wonder how many people came out with more questions than they went in with.

Some tips to help with the thinking:

Get the basics right.If you can deliver quality in one channel you should be able to deliver it all.Don’t forget 70+% of traffic is still via phone.Having a multi-channel platform where wait times are longer and quality is diluted is not going to do you any good.

Make sensible choices on which channels to play in.What is the point in spending time and resource monitoring Instagram if you are a firm of solicitors?

Follow your customer journey – as you add more routes for your customers the chances of things falling through the cracks become greater.Have a robust process in place to evaluate the customer experience.If you do this then choices around technology to manage gaps become easier to justify.

Think about your agent journey.I love a good chat on the phone but I don’t like web-chats.For years it’s been widely agreed that inbound and outbound agents have a distinct set of skills and their value is realised when they are harnessed.Does your recruitment, training and managing of agents support them moving between writing and talking ‘seamlessly’?

Worst case the returns.A business case to invest in a unified platform with an all singing and dancing CRM sitting on a shiny new single customer view database is going to have very tangible costs.To firm up your business case make the benefits you are looking to gain commercially tangible too.

Don’t silo the decision – this is no longer a procurement process to be undertaken by the IT bods on their own.Nor should the ops teams choose adjunct apps without considering the wider infrastructure.It’s a decision that needs input from many different areas of the business so get a representative team in place to have their say.

To help us tailor our future content, the DMA Contact Centres & Telemarketing Council are keen to hear more about your thoughts and challenges on this area. If you would like to join the conversation please use the discussion box below or email georgina.lippa@dma.org.uk.

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Good article Nerys with some very useful tips - particularly silo decision making. I've witnessed firms making huge mistakes in their delivery of omni-channel - failure to consult resulted in systems that were not future proof.