Multichannel Contact Center: an Ultimate Manual

Clients favor using three or more digital channels of contact with a firm -  this is the data provided by McKinsey research. As we have severally mentioned, client experience straightly depends on how a business’s service fits customer expectations. If it is more suitable for a client to use webchat or chat-bot in any messenger, but your support service is available only by phone, there will be no customer satisfaction. The multichannel cloud contact center is a new trend in the contact center industry and buyer service. An ability to notice and satisfy buyer expectations is the main objective on the path to performing brilliant client service. It has been already stated - the needs of a client contain a wish to own an opportunity for multichannel communication. This is the reason why the cloud contact center solution must possess several digital channels. How about discovering which contact channels are preferred the most?

In this article you will find:

Must-have contact channels

What about the multichannel contact center costs? 

The key difference between omnichannel and multichannel approaches 

Greatest concessions of a multichannel approach

Tips and tricks for setting up a multichannel cloud contact center 

Multichannel and omnichannel solutions as a future of customer service

A short FAQ for all occasions

Must-have contact channels

When we talk of multichannel touch, we have to determine which lines are the most significant. A multichannel contact center solution can include different contact routes, but there are a few of them which have to be provided in every situation. The multichannel cloud contact center  almost always uses these channels:

Communication by phone

The main touch channel in any multichannel contact center solution. It is preferred otherwise it is personalized and closer to a customer himself. The method helps to make deals, solve clients’ issues, collect feedback and follow the existing clients. 

Phone communication is performed via contact center software that uses VoIP. This communication platform offers such must-have features as the processing of inbound and outbound calls, call transferring, recording, whispering, routing, live dashboards, third-party systems integration, and so on. 

Text messages

This paragraph describes both SMS and mailings. A multichannel contact center solution offers options to send such messages directly to a client who is using the complicated interface. Multichannel communications can’t work correctly without text channels of communication. Anyhow, the disparity between SMS and email is big. SMS is preferable for sending short text messages with a link inside (which may lead to mobile apps, for a sample), which leads to a new product, blog, discounted offer, etc., while email is a formal channel of communication - it is more liked by busy and serious customers who adore getting offers and important information via email to have time to get acquainted with it and prepare an answer. Email is also better for sending long administrative documents, such as changes in policies or others. Both contact types are essential contact center channels and an excellent choice is to operate them together to fit buyer expectations. 

SMM

For younger buyers, social networks are an adorable pipeline of touch. The young part of an audience prefers to stay in connection with a firm by being subscribed to their accounts. In this context, they send requests and questions via chat interactions on social networks. This element of multichannel communications should also be supported by a contact center solution. Social networks are one of the meaningful client service lines because it offers an easy-in-use interface and covers different potential shoppers - more aged and younger, including various social statuses and purchasing power. The contact can be provided both via chat or special chatbots, but these tools must complement each other, avoiding existing separately. 

The contact center agent furnishes a seamless customer experience by fixing clients’ cases exactly in Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. A multi-channel contact center is a single platform where all multichannel touches are compiled, and social networks have to take their deserved place there. 

Webchat

Multichannel communications are also about webchat - the instrument that can process thousands of clients per day without the serious effort put by the live personnel. It covers such niches as submitting orders, answering routine questions (or providing FAQ), connecting clients with a relevant contact center agent, or assisting to make a subscription to a news mailing. We often appeal to self-servicing in our blog, so the fact is a webchat is the most remarkable example of such assistance. Just guess how many working hours it can save! 

Contact center software for voice, text, and email has its purpose to gather all possible pipelines of buyer service in one interface. A contact center agent should get access to all contact methods to assist every client - no matter where he has placed his request. Customer satisfaction relies on the comfort of customer interactions - and if they appreciate social networks more than e-mail or talking by phone, contact them in the path they prefer more. This is how does the multichannel client service should look like. 

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What about the multichannel contact center costs?

The enjoyable part of our story starts here. The pricing policy is extremely simple: pay only for options and features which are used, and nothing besides that. As a sample, just imagine: you require just webchat and phone calls, no SMM or email - so recompense for these 2 functions instead of 4. Isn’t it wonderful? This pricing policy is possible thanks to cloud call center technology.

If you have determined the need in all available contact center communication methods, then choose a full subscription. If the firm doesn’t require something, then doesn’t pay for it. As the market and enterprise goals are dynamically changing some contact centers are forced to shuffle their contact tools, and multichannel solution proposes such an opportunity without any losses. 

The key difference between omnichannel and multichannel approaches

The multichannel cloud contact center suggests the customers select the suitable touch form of several various types which are selected by the firm itself. There are different representatives responsible for diverse pipelines of contact. The main characteristic is that clients and representatives can be connected only via a single line per customer interaction. Thus, if a client decides to swap from webchat to talking, he has to be put in a new queue, and thereafter, the further rep will be linked to the consumer. In this route, the client will be forced to regurgitate his request. Saying differently, the whole communication cycle should be passed again - that’s how the technology works. It is the most prominent difference between omnichannel and multichannel systems. 

Despite the fact that multichannel communication has numerous advantages and permits providing a consistent customer experience across channels, for clients who are more willing to shift through various contact lines it may cause a too long customer journey and in the end, an unsatisfying customer experience. 

It's a completely dissimilar subject at the moment when it reaches an omnichannel contact center. It synchronizes contact center channels and info from learning bases in one interface so representatives may shift between different contact lines immediately. In practice it looks like this: if a client suddenly decides to continue the dialogue by phone (and before it the conversation was going on webchat), the interlocution prolongs from the same place where it has ended. This is an advantage of an omnichannel approach because it allows to boost customer retention and furnish a more pleasing customer experience. 

Both multichannel communication and omnichannel approaches have pros and cons. Owing to the topic of our article, today we are additionally attentive to the description of the multichannel solution than to the omnichannel strategy. Below we are explaining all benefits of operating multichannel communications, but we will also touch on the topic of omnichannel buyer adventure and building omnichannel strategy. 

Greatest concessions of a multichannel approach

The multichannel solution suggests many options to improve overall multi-channel contact center performance in addition to improvement of single metrics and scores. Excellent customer experience, wider analysis opportunities, heightened agent productivity, boosted sales and FCR rates and much additionally may be achieved with this type of call center technology. All features compiled in a single platform? Easily! More communication channels managed from one interface? No problem! Tracking customer interaction history? It’s simple! 

But all options have to be described broadly.

Collect and monitor all info to make wise decisions

Multichannel solutions were designed to compile all relevant options to collect data, analyze it and compile it into up-to-time reports and dashboards which cover all metrics, rates, and scores. All features which are provided in the multichannel contact center, help to

understand the overall performance of all contact center channels and detect mistakes and imperfections in up-to-minute mode. You can measure such KPIs as FCR, AHT, sentiments, or demographic info directly while the call is in process. All contact center communication lines are permanently monitored by the software and all collected data is put into customized reports. 

Other functions such as call recording support to control reps’ effectiveness and determine the general problems or monitor agents’ professional development during a chosen term. Such features can greatly simplify the construction of a customer’s portrait or segmentation of the audience. 

Furnish an outstanding client experience

Improvement of the CX is the essential goal for any business. Clients become increasingly demanding every year. They want to achieve immediate responses, use dissimilar contact lines, discover 24/7 service, and have more opportunities to solve their problems on their own. If the service doesn’t meet clients’ expectations, they will be more willing to change the vendor than to tolerate outdated and poorly-provided service. 

What ways out are proposed by a multichannel cloud contact center? Firstly, different contact center channels segment customers by a willingness to solve their issues on their own or to obtain assistance from an alive rep. Secondly, distinct contact center channels cover different audiences by their age or region, or priorities, so the buyers may choose the suitable touch form. Finally, the solution helps to track the customer journey and determine where clients are facing troubles or achieving worse service than they have to achieve. 

Boost agent productivity and satisfaction

We have mentioned several times that almost every contact center suffers from high representatives turnover rate, burnout, and attrition. To get rid of the consequences of these problems call centers' costs are exceeded because of the price paid for training and coaching new agents. Nonetheless, even after this investment, agents continue to leave their job and this looks like a closed circle. Where is the way out?

The first reason why representatives are leaving is called routine. Too many similar and unimportant tasks have to be done by agents, and this causes the mentioned things like professional burnout or high attrition rates. But the multichannel solution can easily tackle these troubles as it automizes most of the routine tasks. Little issues which clients are going to ask the representatives can be solved by IVR, while chatbots can help clients directly on the website. In such a manner, reps spend their workday helping people who need it. 

Such tools as CRM or call scripts may help agents during calls and provide personalized data about every customer, so they have more space for maneuver. These instruments increase representatives’ satisfaction, so they will be more willing to stay while their performance will be improved.

Tips and tricks for setting up a multichannel cloud contact center 

Now, when we’re done with benefits and definitions, it's time to go further. The main question remains - how to set up a successful, qualitative-in-service, complicated, and clients-adored contact center? We can propose the standard practice: buy software, hire employees, create a strategy, set goals and try to both control this mixture and achieve positive results. But it would be unfair to hide some efficient tactics and techniques which were proved by years and dozens of triumphant teams. So, here we go.

Select the touch pipelines relying on clients’ intentions

As a 2021 research performed by NTT says, the total digit of contact center channels of contact isn’t important if they are not efficient in serving clients’ needs. For example, if a company has 5 or 6 contact lines, but they are not adored by clients - no matter why - this multichannel concept will not work. The numeral of lines you need relies on the target audience and its precedences. If you are concentrating on engaging younger audiences, then put more additional effort to develop social networks and chatbots. If the clients are mostly aged individuals, then make sure that your phone client support works perfectly. The purpose is to construct a service where people will achieve excellent assistance during a customer journey. 

On the contrary, the mentioned study indicates that various audiences operate different touch lines. Yes, there is a preferred channel for every group, but contrastingly numerous people of any age or social status can use diverse contact channels. Calls are popular among all groups, as well as webchat and email touch. That is the reason why you can’t let yourself pay any attention to some contact lines, even if you want to do so. The main objective is to invest more in popular channels while supporting those which are not that favored but are also necessary for some clients. 

Give more awareness to segmenting your audience by age, buying power, social status, geolocation, and other metrics which will help you to determine more essential digital channels and to show where it is required to put additional exertion. 

Prepare different agent groups to maintain dissimilar communication channels

The idea of a multichannel solution is that every contact line is maintained and supported by a unique squad of well-skilled and qualified reps who specialize in working with a single connection channel. Contact center channels are divided between different teams who maintain various parts of clients and don’t cooperate with customer service agents who work on other lines. This concept assembles a brilliant client experience real because every interchange during the customer journey is accompanied by a high-class specialist’s assistance.

But to make this idea work, agents should become highly qualified before they start to provide customer service. That is the reason why the training is important. 

Organize training to teach representatives how to work with the software, which features they have to use, what are the main differences between various contact lines, etc. Acquaint them with call scripts and knowledge bases. Give attention to soft skills training. 

Your goal is to be confident that every representative is ready to provide amazing customer service in any situation, no matter what troubles can happen - the customer experience should be perfect. 

Use third-party software to integrate it with a multichannel solution

Another benefit of using multichannel call center software is that it has an option to integrate other systems. This is an essential feature for both agents and managers. Representatives get an opportunity to export data from third-party CRMs to provide more personalized service or to show up-to-date data about the client during the conversation. Bilateral integration allows exporting back data from call scripts to CRM, while managers get more information for further analysis. Despite CRM integration, some billing systems can also be used in pair with multichannel solutions. By the way, it helps to provide better client service and equip agents with more data before they are going to contact the client. 

Multichannel and omnichannel solutions as a future of customer service

Today it is clear enough that the future of customer service belongs to both multichannel and omnichannel solutions. No other types of customer service can offer such a variety of options, easy-in-use both for client and representative, almost endless possibilities for analysis and collection of the data, live reports, and wide opportunities of connecting with third-party software. All these benefits are sweetened with the fact that pricing policies are also client-oriented - you as a buyer don’t have to pay for unnecessary functions. 

Omnichannel and multichannel contact centers can solve almost all general problems in the call center industry. Boosting client retention, decreasing turnover rate, endless opportunities to access the knowledge bases and reports, numerous options for training and monitoring agents’ performance, and so on. Looks like these solutions have no disadvantages. 

Even though there is nothing ideal in our world, the wisest decision now is to switch to an omnichannel or multichannel contact center to stay up-to-date and be able to offer all customer service features which are now available.

A short FAQ for all occasions

Multichannel contact is a mode of communication where distinct contact lines exist and are maintained by different agent departments. It can include text (email and SMS), phone, webchat, or social media communication lines. 

Multichannel communication is performed both as interpersonal or AI-based communication. These two types of communication can be combined.

Multichannel communication has many benefits: it is preferable both for clients and representatives, it helps in decreasing costs, gives the liberty of choice to a customer, decreases time spent on queries, and provides a better customer experience.

The main difference between multichannel and omnichannel contact centers is that multichannel doesn’t allow to shift through contact lines without losing progress. As a result, customers can’t change a communication channel just during the conversation goes on because after this change they will need to do the customer journey from the beginning. 

Omnichannel customer experience has a great benefit: a client can change the communication channel anytime, and he will be assisted by the same agent without any repeats or queries. 

Both multichannel and omnichannel solutions have an option to integrate with third-party software such as CRMs.

Interested in omnichannel call center software?

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