Before the pandemic, personalization was already a vital part of delivering an exceptional customer experience online and offline. However, the disruption and uncertainty of Covid-19 made the importance of improving a customer’s journey at every touchpoint even more critical. As a result, customers pushed businesses to continue to adapt quickly and accurately to their expectations, regardless of the device or channel.

As Covid-19 has accelerated the need to provide an omnichannel customer experience, most customers no longer differentiate between various channels and expect businesses to transition seamlessly from one to another. Research supports this trend as it states that 72% of customers agreed that their preferred channel varies by context, meaning businesses need to provide customers with the right channel to solve their problems whenever required.

What Is An Omnichannel Contact Center?

Unfortunately, several companies struggle to create an omnichannel customer experience as they face several challenges. These include the lack of an evolving real-time view of customers’ needs, employees who are not equipped with the right tools and training to take a more holistic view of customer service, and disjointed online and offline data management systems. Fortunately, an omnichannel contact center can help customers get help when they want it through a channel of their choice, whether this is with a real-time self-service option or a live agent.

Omnichannel contact centers like multi-channel contact centers offer multiple channels for a customer to interact with a business. However, with the latter, each channel operates in isolation. On the other hand, omnichannel contact centers take all of the channels that a company provides and presents them in a single, consolidated view for an agent and a customer. Research supports the integrated nature of an omnichannel contact center as 34% of customers want a customer service agent to be an ‘empowered problem solver’ who has the knowledge to answer any question and resolve any issue.

Additionally, customers also want companies to know who they are based on their shopping and relationship history so that an agent can immediately craft solutions to their issue. A future omnichannel contact center will support these types of empowered employees as it will help a business deliver more seamless experiences for customers across channels and devices. It will also encourage collecting and analyzing a more unified form of customer intelligence to train employees to solve problems quickly and accurately on the customer’s channel of choice.

Below are some of the ways that omnichannel contact centers can transform customer experience in the future.

From Data Silos To Unified Customer Intelligence

Most businesses don’t have a shortage of customer data. But, they can struggle to get meaningful insights from it. This is because raw customer data often lack structure, has duplicates, and is kept in separate sources in the various departments of an organization. An omnichannel contact center changes this as it can act as a central repository for customer data. The center will continuously pull together all behavioral, transactional, financial, and operational customer information from all departments and puts it into one unified profile for each customer.

By fusing various datasets into one, your business can discover what your customer finds engaging and predict their needs at the right moment. Once you have a unified intelligence source, you can reframe how your business empowers teams or launches new products. For example, the benefits of an omnichannel contact center can be seen through the actions of Shell Energy Retail who initially struggled to deliver personalized services to customers due to its legacy technology and inefficient data management systems.

After organizing its data into one cloud-based system, it could create personalized customer communications that nurtured its existing customer base and helped acquire new customers with timely, accurate messages. As well as this system resulting in a higher customer lifetime value for Shell Energy Retail, it also provided its sales teams with more background information on a customer, such as their contract history or previous service issues.

Prepares The Road To Human-Machine Collaboration

Once all data is centralized, your business can integrate artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities within an omnichannel contact center to provide an agent with personalized conversational advice based on a customer profile during a call. In addition, an AI-powered bot could monitor every call or chat while it is taking place so that agents can entirely focus on solving the customer’s problems at that moment.

In the same way, health insurer Humana uses AI to help their call center agents deliver a better experience for their members. For example, their AI bot allows agents to view all the customer information from different departments in a unified form during a call. This means that the agent who handled the claims process could also address any other requests a member had without transferring the call to a new associate. As a result, Humana improved case handling times and empowered its employees to make faster and better decisions.

Empowers Employees To Act With A Customer-First Mindset

An omnichannel contact center will also change the way a business retains, attracts, and develops its employees. In addition to supporting front-line customer service staff with AI, omnichannel contact center technology can also offer tailored, ongoing training to encourage employees to be more customer-centric. For example, financial consultancy Wesleyan built a centralized data center to actively train its salespeople on generating income from current and prospective customers using historical, external, and industry data. A survey done after the installation of the data center showed that 79% of salespeople found that the dashboard within this system helped them find better potential customers. In other words, the data center helped train these salespeople how to proactively spot and sell to the correct type of customers who would buy from them as per their needs.

Brands that use an omnichannel contact center to transform their business in the future can add value, personalization, and convenience for the end-to-end customer journey at the right time. In addition, a company can also get rid of the various pain points of a customer experience and allow customers to communicate through a channel of their choice. But, more importantly, your brand needs to ensure that your omnichannel contact center continually evolves with customer preferences over time.