Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Multichannel Customer Service is Dominating the Call Center Space

June 13, 2013

As the first day of the exhibition hall at Call Center Week 2013 comes to an end, one trend is standing out among the others: the importance of delivering multichannel customer experiences. Customers today have options when it comes to getting in contact with companies, brands and organizations. In addition to the traditional call center, they now can turn to e-mail, websites, live chat and social media for answers, and they expect customer service agents to be ready across all of those channels.

John Bardawill, managing director of TMG International, says the term “call center” itself is becoming outdated. “We’re at Call Center Week – but how much of it is exactly about the call center?” The industry is shifting to delivering customer service and engagement across multiple channels. The Web is taking over and technology innovations are supporting that, providing avenues for customers to obtain information.

James Norwood, CMO at KANA, said delivering great customer service cross channel is really tough. Not having consistent messaging across multiple channels exposes holes within companies. Some companies have a department dedicated to customer service call centers, a department dedicated to social media, a department dedicated to e-mail support and so on. The key is to get them to collaborate, work together and adopt omnichannel strategies.

A way to take the next step when it comes to delivering multichannel customer service is to make it proactive multichannel customer service. Norwood explains that being proactive not only personalizes the customer experience and therefore improves satisfaction, but it also translates into revenue generating opportunities. The key to making this a balanced process is to only offer these sales pitches when it’s appropriate and when the customer would benefit from the improved package, plan or deal.

Gary Lejeune, senior director of global enterprise sales at IntelePeer, agrees. He said a successful customer experience is all about engagement – how to engage the customer through the right medium at the right time. At Call Center Week, IntelePeer and Vidtel introduced their new joint solution to deliver cloud-based video conferencing Services. A growing channel in the industry is WebRTC – using the browser and the browser only to communicate in real time without any downloads, plugins or third-party software. Lejeune explains that WebRTC is absolutely the next wave in the constantly evolving cycle of communication innovations. Not only does it reduce costs, but it adds simplicity and expands the capabilities of a new generation of contact center agents.

He hopes one day to transform IntelePeer’s cloud-based video conferencing solution into a WebRTC-friendly service, but emphasizes the importance of releasing a product when it’s ready. IntelePeer strongly believes in introducing a product that it is confident in, is kink-free and is ready for the market.

Another company embracing multichannel service is Benchmark Portal, which offers an automated benchmarking solution to give managers information they need to see their strong points, weak points and where they need to improve and innovative to become more competitive. As Bruce Belfiore, CEO and senior research executive, explains, the solution – iBenchmark – puts technology and advanced processes to work for people who manage contact centers without the hassle of finding and inputting the metrics manually. In addition to metrics from workforce management and CRM solutions, it adds on information from e-mail and chat and other channels that provide metrics that can be useful for business improvement.

Putting the customers’ needs first is the key to a successful experience, and customers today are contacting organizations any way they can. Make sure you are prepared to offer a consistent experience across all of the available channels. Stay tuned for more updates from Call Center Week 2013 in Las Vegas!

Edited by Alisen Downey