Why Multichannel Contact Centers Are the New Normal

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New research from BoldChat shows that the vast majority of customers prefer to use multiple communications channels and want alternatives to picking up the phone. According to the survey, 86 percent of customer use more than five channels for support, and 60 percent want companies to provide greater access to online support channels such as social media, communities and live chat.

Although 68 percent of respondents believe their issues are most likely to be resolved by phone, 78 percent would choose another channel if the problem could be solved on the first attempt. Organizations need to make sure their support offerings are aligned with customer demand, as 82 percent of customers said they’ll take their business elsewhere after a bad experience.

A multichannel contact center enables customers to interact with organizations and have their issues addressed through a variety of communication channels, such as phone, email, chat, online forums, texting and mobile apps. It also includes a number of features to help agents better serve customers and managers optimize the contact center.

The goal of the contact center is to successfully resolve the highest number of issues in the shortest amount of time. When interactions are limited to phone calls, agents can only deal with one customer at a time. However, the multichannel contact center enables agents to engage several customers simultaneously. For example, an agent could be interacting with one customer via chat, another via email, and another via text. This can dramatically reduce the cost per contact boost agent productivity.

A multichannel contact center can reduce the back-and-forth between agent and customer in two ways. First, a full interaction history makes it unnecessary for the agent to gather information that was previously provided. Second, contact center data and recordings can be evaluated to determine reasons for additional interactions and then adjust training and/or procedures accordingly.

For example, the ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center solution uses screen pops to provide contact center agents with a history of interactions for each customer. Presence functionality allows agents to see the status of subject matter experts outside of the call center, and the customer’s history is transferred automatically when a call is transferred. In addition to telling agents who is calling, customer relationship management (CRM) integration helps agents determine why the customer is calling so the agent is better prepared for the call.

From the manager’s perspective, CRM integration allows for the measurement of agent performance and customer outcomes. ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center automatically integrates contact center data with the CRM data and provides real-time and historical reporting. This makes it possible to optimize contact center resources and operations.

Improving agent productivity and reducing unnecessary interactions contribute to a positive customer experience, which ultimately determines the success of the contact center. Interaction management is essential to achieving these goals. With agents multitasking across a variety of channels, intelligent call routing, queueing, failover and automated messaging – configured for each channel – are essential to maximizing contact center performance and customer satisfaction.

Designed with both the agent and the customer in mind, ShoreTel Enterprise Contact Center is an advanced multichannel solution with built-in reporting tools and business application integration. Let us show you how ShoreTel improves contact center productivity, efficiency and performance while meeting customer demand for responsiveness and flexibility.