Omnichannel: Going from Doldrums to Delight

The top five ways to address the pain points stalling an omnichannel strategy
Customer Experience

According to our recent survey through Forrester Research about the state of omnichannel service, omnichannel is still in the doldrums. The majority of consumers rated customer service as "about the same" or "worse" in all the modes of customer service.

To understand why service experience is still in doldrums, Forrester asked consumers about what was creating bad experiences. The verdict was clear: The top pain points were inconsistent answers, lack of knowledge among agents, and difficulty of finding answers on websites, all having to do with knowledge. In fact, symptoms like repeat calls, long wait times, long handle times, etc. might very well be the result of this root cause. The good news is you can "kill these three birds with one stone," namely, a smart, omnichannel knowledge hub.

Based on what consumers are telling us, taking a knowledge-first approach is the fastest way to fixing customer service, whether it is omnichannel and channel-contained. Here's how the top pain points can be addressed:

1. Inconsistency of answers: Implementing anomnichannel knowledge hub rather than relying on channel-specific knowledge silos can help increase the consistency of answers. It will also make it easier to maintain the knowledge. An eGain telco client has done exactly that-using our knowledge hub for digital self-service and agent-assisted service, eliminating multiple versions of the truth.

2.Lack of knowledge:True knowledgeis more than content-it canunderstandcustomer intent (including natural language processing),takeusers to answers and decisions, andguide them throughcustomer interactions, all based on expert understanding of what has worked in the past and therefore might work at the point of interaction. Guided knowledge can, in fact, enable all agents to take all calls. A global banking eGain client has done just that, while cutting agent churn to

3.Ineffective self-service: Just like agents, web self-service can only be effective when it goes beyond the basics and offers guided knowledge to be able to handle today's breadth and complexity of customer questions. For instance, a leading manufacturing client uses guided self-service combined with multimedia content to help consumers with fixing or ordering new windows. Make sure that self service is unified with agent-assisted service for smooth transition in omnichannel journeys.

4.Hub for context and insight: A knowledge hub should be an integral part of a customer engagement hub (CEH). A Gartner concept, CEH consolidates interactions, knowledge, workflow, analytics, and administration in one place. An important benefit to this approach is the availability of a 360 context so that customers don't get asked to repeat information during the course of their omnichannel journeys. CEH also helps create 360 analytic insight to identify choke points in service journeys and make intelligent offers to accelerate those journeys.

5.Two-speed operation: Today's digital and omnichannel consumer adopts and abandons interaction touchpoints at warp speed. Cases in point: Myspace and Blackberry. So yesterday's legacy CRM systems are not suited to engage with today's customer, although they could serve as a system of record for customer data. According to McKinsey, the digital world calls for a two-speed approach to business. Likewise, Gartner has been advocating "Bimodal IT." rapid innovation that leverage systems of record such as CRM that require slow-changing cadence. Look for the following traits in customer engagement solutions to succeed in this two-speed world:

  • Functionally rich to enable service differentiation
  • Smarter knowledge to guide and accelerate today's complex service journeys
  • Omnichannel hub to eliminate engagement and knowledge silos
  • Easy way to pilot in the cloud to prove value. Look for vendors that put skin in the game by offering best-practice expert guidance to create fast business value free of charge and obligation in this phase
  • Domain expertise in knowledge-guided customer engagement

For instance, our clients in travel, retail, telco, financial services, insurance, BPO, and manufacturing have adopted this approach for safe omnichannel innovation.

In conclusion, following these five best practices is guaranteed to get you (and your customers) from omnichannel doldrums to delight.