Last week, I texted my vet on a Saturday to cancel an appointment for my cat Nacho. Within seconds, I got a response from Julie, the friendly and peppy office manager. It took less than 60 seconds to reach out and get confirmation for my request.
At my previous vet’s office, my experience looked quite different. When I tried to cancel an appointment after hours, instead of getting sent to voicemail, I was connected to the pet emergency line – taking valuable time and attention away from those who are really suffering.
And, when I’d scour the website for an email address or a secondary line to reach out to, I found zilch. I was guided to a contact form that might reach a scantily monitored inbox in the next seven days. Even though the appointment I needed to cancel was first thing Monday morning and it was Saturday. I felt terrible leaving the office hanging with a missed appointment to start their week. And, they wasted staff resources because I couldn’t proactively communicate.
My experience solidified the importance of a proactive, omnichannel platform. If I can avoid companies with poor, slow service, I will. But that kind of seamless, omnichannel service can’t exist with your legacy tech.
And, your IT team knows this scoop better than anyone. They know that legacy tech bogs you down and can’t deliver the omnichannel service your customers expect.
Your IT pros are the subject matter experts on digital platforms across your company and contact center. They know what systems you have, which ones are tough to manage, and which platforms pair together like charcuterie and wine.
That’s why through 2022, IT-driven organizations will build 75% of successful digital strategies.
So, as you seek an omnichannel platform for your contact center, turn to your trusty IT team for help. But, don’t seek help until you have a firm grasp on what you’re looking for (and why it matters to IT). Here’s what your IT leaders want you to know about your omnichannel platform – or, your lack thereof.
Unifying technology under one umbrella is better for customers.
Do your channels support better customer service or act as a barrier blocking the way? Nearly two-thirds of contact center leaders struggle to realize intended ROI from their contact center because they can’t integrate their systems and channels.
Reaching omnichannel nirvana isn’t just about linking all your channels together, it’s about unifying the way all your systems work together and share information.
Here’s what you get when you unify your tech:
- Systems that share data to inform your agents of customer history and past problems.
- Data culled from every channel and system, all reported on in one interface.
- Fast and easy scalability, without the need to re-integrate or purchase entire add-ons for platforms.
- Less time spent training on technology and more time to dedicate to coaching on how to improve interaction handling & customer convos.
- Greater ROI on your customer experience with inclusive pricing for your tech rather than shelling out cash for each disparate system.
- Fewer cross-departmental silos to bulldoze.
- An IT team that can dedicate more time to innovation and less on standard maintenance.
More channels doesn’t mean better service.
And in many cases, it drains your agents and your IT resources.
Piling up dozens of new channels in an attempt to serve each customers’ needs doesn’t equate to an omnichannel strategy.
In fact, adding channels prematurely can negatively impact service levels, causing a spike in callbacks, and in the costs associated with serving each customer.
An omnichannel customer experience needs to focus on how you can best meet your customers’ needs, regardless of channel. Design your omni strategy with your entire customer journey in mind, or you’ll get lost in the weeds of channels, trying to hack your way to a better customer experience.
“No matter how successful specific tools are (for example, online self-service), companies that lack visibility into where customers are choosing to interact from touchpoint to touchpoint can still experience service breakdowns.”
To start, reverse engineer a better customer experience. Think through where gaps exist in your customer and agent experience, then turn to improved processes and tech to fill those gaps.
Let’s map out an example:
Say you have customers who need to process returns. A customer calls in for help, but to validate her purchase, you need a picture or hard copy of her receipt. Now, you pass effort back over to the customer. Your customer gets funneled down two paths (neither of which are great).
Option A: Your customer has to disconnect her call, so she can email or text a picture of the receipt. Then, she has to wait for another rep to reach back out for confirmation. After that, she has to pick up the phone and dial in again to finish the transaction.
Option B: She has to mail in the receipt and wait three weeks for any sort of verification. Then, she can pick up the phone and solve the problem. Only, in that amount of time, she could’ve purchased and returned items from Amazon Prime five times over.
This kind of disjointed experience frustrates your customers. They have to switch channels to solve their problem and your IVR reroutes them to a new agent with every new channel.
You, your ops leaders and IT know customers jump through too many hoops (and your employees do, too). To fix the painful experience, you get together and decide you need an omnichannel platform that supports switching channels mid-interaction. If your current vendor doesn’t offer an omnichannel solution, now you have immediate criteria to move forward on a quest to fix your processes and tech.
Work with vendors who streamline your omnichannel platform updates and let you make simple changes to your strategy.
More than a third, some 37% of IT budgets, are currently earmarked for ongoing maintenance and management. On top of that, 31% of IT staff hours are spent on routine maintenance rather than proactive projects.
Partnering with vendors who help you keep up with your omnichannel platform, without tagging in IT, reduces expensive (and time-consuming) maintenance to free up resources for projects that grow your business.
Relying on disjointed systems to support modern business activities isn’t a sustainable business strategy.
The beauty of omnichannel is being able to adapt how you communicate with customers based on their changing needs.
But if you’re using tools that require extra effort from IT every time you need to complete a simple task, like changing a call route, you won’t realize the benefits of omnichannel in full.
“To IT, you’re one of the many parts of the business that require attention. So, your request, while crazy important to you, is just one of the many things the IT department has to do.”
– Sheila McGee-Smith of McGee-Smith Analytics
To get real ROI out of your omnichannel, build a digital ecosystem with partners who lower barriers and effort in your journey.