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How to tackle the omnichannel challenge

What is omnichannel management, why is it difficult?
The key difference between marketing first versus operations first with omnichannel management solutions.

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How to tackle the omnichannel challenge

  1. 1. What is Omnichannel? And what is the Omnichannel challenge?
  2. 2. Omnichannel • It is a buzz word and means nothing. There is no serious definition. • Usually it refers to the fact that your customers can reach you via different channels, and omni, meaning everywhere, refers to the fact that you should be in control of all these ‘touch points’. • Since we live in the digital age, contacts via letters and at the desk / reception are mostly not included. Again, there is no tight definition.
  3. 3. What is the problem? • The problem is what you must have experienced somewhere in your life: you call the contact center of an organisation after you have e-mailed them and the agent picking up the phone has no clue to whom you have e-mailed, that you have e-mailed or what the e-mail was about. • Omnichannel management should stop that from happening. And apparently that is a challenge.
  4. 4. What is the real problem? • The real problem is that customers start to get fed up with explaining everything over and over again and that this mess is expensive for your own organisation. • If your contact center call agents have no clue what your customers are doing e-mail wise, your contact center is not helping. • Customers even start to expect integration with social media in your contact center. It’s 2020.
  5. 5. The other real problem: your people can’t do everything Not everybody in your contact center can do everything. So you have a matrix of skills, for example: e-mail invoices X X X e-mail travel booking X X X phone invoices X X X X phone travel booking X X X chat travel booking & invoice X X whatsapp immediate support X X people having the skills ☞ Paul Susan Imad Abdullah Aisha
  6. 6. And you have incoming requests from customers
  7. 7. Mapping supply and demand without routing strategy calls waits for 2 min. and drops
  8. 8. First in to first available agent without any strategy • The panic Whatsapp goes to a person who is on the phone, Abdullah. • Aisha gets no calls or e-mails at all. • Paul gets every channel, except the ones he is trained for. • Dropped calls, while Aisha is available.
  9. 9. Implementing a real solution • You can only optimise all the queues if there is one captain on the ship, in other words, one application ruling the behavior of all the queues. • Since telephony tends to generate the bulk of the real time traffic, the application must have the ability to prioritize that. • Therefore we think the captain has to speak Telecomise.
  10. 10. Then you will get:
  11. 11. And then it will all make sense • The application will make sure that there is an optimal spread and distribution of the different types of traffic entering your contact center. • Optimal means that there will be a perfect balance between the total output of all your people in the contact center and the average waiting time for your customers. • In the example Paul will get e-mails only, since there are a lot of them, and Aisha will get the panic Whatsapp, since that is easily to be handled during or in between a chat session.
  12. 12. The alternative | if you don’t solve the problem If there is not one captain doing the distribution, you have two options: 1. a very disorganised impression left with your customers, trying to hide the absence of one captain by connecting several databases in batch processes over and over again, or even worse, via alt-tabbing agents or… 2. ordering all agents in all channels to log all communications extensively (tedious work) in an effort to make that organised impression on the customer. And always you will experience ongoing ‘wars’ between the lords of the channels for resources; people & budget for their channel. And finally, this mess is expensive because it’s time consuming.
  13. 13. Digging deeper 1: operations versus marketing 1. Optimised for the workforce (operations first) Everybody in the contact center gets enough work on his or her level, and that load is evenly spread. 2. Optimised for groups of customers (marketing first) Your customer base is separated in ‘gold’, ‘silver’ and ‘bronze’ customers and you would like to give priority to the gold customers at all times, no matter which channel they choose. It is possible to combine these two algorithms in an super-optimal distribution but I see that fail very often. Therefore I recommend highly to choose one of the two. Actually, I most often recommend choosing the first option.
  14. 14. Digging deeper 2: why your CRM system should not be that captain Many organisations reason: since all channels end up doing something with the data of the customer in our CRM system, our CRM system will do the work flow too. My vision is that this might work, but that you should be careful because most CRM systems have great difficulty handling real time traffic. And real time traffic often makes up the bulk of your most important customer connections.
  15. 15. Digging deeper 3: one task at a time, or allowing for cherry picking? If you have one captain, he can throw one task at a time to contact center agents - forcing them to do that now - or he can present a list of things to do where the agent can check box the thing when finished. I see over and over again cherry picking happening with the last option which usually is not in the interest of your customers. So I most often recommend presenting one task at a time.
  16. 16. Useful? • You can share this document freely, as long as you leave it intact. • Comments are welcomed and you can drop me an e-mail on paul.harts@a-report.nl