Be careful when selecting new channels for your contact center to make sure you do not create any new islands of data for your customer journey.
Are you in IT and have a business group or customer service begging for SMS or video, or maybe you’re in the group asking for this new channel capability? Let’s look a little before we leap, but first, I’ll clarify the use of omnichannel for the contact center and cover a little history.
What is OmniChannel? (trick question)
Depending on your industry you may have different uses for omni-channel. Take Retail or Insurance for example, where the word omnichannel typically refers to all of the ways a customer can interact with the brand, which go beyond the contact center. A channel can include a physical location such as a brick and mortar store a bank branch, or even good old fashioned snail mail.
In the contact center, when we talk about channels we’re referring to the media channels customers can use to communicate with us, which typically include voice, email, chat, video, social, fax, and potentially others. An omni-channel contact center solution is a single-sourced platform to support multiple channels.
Islands of Data History
When I started in contact centers in the mid-90’s, ACDs largely only handled voice calls and toward the end of the century this hot new thing called Multi Media Queueing (MMQ) emerged, a predecessor term to multichannel and omnichannel. You could now route things besides voice calls. New channels emerged such as email and chat, which was great, and you were fine from a routing and reporting perspective if you had an integrated solution that routed all three or agents who were exceptionally proficient at task switching and presence management. Ask anyone who has implemented a point solution for email routing that wasn’t integrated with the ACD about the agent experience if the center also expected agents to handle both channels simultaneously. The answer is probably something like “leadership loves the metrics, agents find the user experience horrible.”
Around that time while I was at Interactive Intelligence (now Genesys), I collaborated on export capabilities to provide contact center transaction data to workforce management (WFM) tools such as TCS and Blue Pumpkin. Note I didn’t say integrations, because we were just creating flat files. Those WFM tools integrated with legacy ACD big iron, oftentimes via a serial port connection (ok really dating myself here).
We had to export because, ironically, the open-standards contact center platform was an island of data to these systems, inaccessible to other legacy capabilities in the contact center.
In the next post, we’ll cover how History Repeats, and how to avoid creating new islands of data in your contact center. If you want to get the punchline sooner, come join me with CPI where I’ll cover this topic live streaming, and in person on April 11, 2017! To reserve your complimentary ticket, please complete the form below. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
Reserve Your Spot Today!
About our Speaker
Rick McGlinchey is a Management Consultant with 23 years experience in Contact Center and Enterprise Software. He helps organizations small and large improve their customer experience including companies like Eli Lilly, Cardinal Health, Abbott Labs, JPMorganChase, and Ceridian.
Rick also provides C-level Advisory and Program Management for The Hard Things, especially if you need someone “who doesn’t have a dog in the race.” You can reach him through CPI or via LinkedIn.