Next generation comms

The market requirement for omnichannel contact centres has suddenly got more real – but the good news for resellers is that they have at their disposal the means to meet ever greater communication demands from a new generation of end customers.

Generation Z is about to impose a significant demand on customer-facing organisations to provide true omnichannel contact centres. And the good news, according to Akixi Product Manager Colin Gill (pictured), is that the SME market is already displaying strong traction, spurred by the greater availability of lower cost omnichannel and scalable contact centre platforms that are easier to implement. “Gen Z will expect full customer service engagement via any means of communication that they regard as the new normal, as Millennials did with emails,” he stated. “Adoption of a flexible omnichannel contact centre platform is going to make it much easier for businesses to keep up with the ‘new normal’ when it comes to Gen Z customer communications.”

To make any omnichannel platform more effective and remain relevant it must be able to adapt to new methods of communication with little need for change, pointed out Gill. “As new technologies and channels of communications come and go at a faster pace, it’s more important than ever that platforms such as omnichannel contact centres can adapt quickly and efficiently to meet those changes,” he added. “Omnichannel is all about bringing different channels of communication together in a single solution – old, existing and new technologies – in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible, which comes from being able to manage them through effective insights drawn from accurate and dynamic analytics.”

That the customer landscape is changing due to the rise of Millennials is not in doubt, and what needs to be done to meet their requirements is also clear. “These customers are more tech-savvy and looking for a better experience when considering the different channels of communication at their disposal, such as online chat, SMS, email, social media and newer options like WhatsApp for Business,” stated Tollring CEO Tony Martino. “They are adopting and adapting to these different ways to communicate and the contact centre must be ready to meet their needs.”

Despite this shift, it must not be forgotten that the phone call continues to be a significant customer touchpoint, and importantly, is the primary mechanism for interactions where a medium-to-serious customer service issue is ongoing.

That the customer landscape is changing due to the rise of Millennials and Gen Z is not in doubt, and what needs to be done to meet their requirements is also clear

“As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to assess high level customer experience metrics across the different channels in play, while at the same time having the means to dive deep into the most critical interactions,” added Martino. “The focus is turning towards using analytics to understand customer interactions across the entire business. Furthermore, as we enter a new era of APIs and information in context, resellers are increasingly empowered to deliver these advantages to customers in a way that allows them to differentiate.”

The customer experience is a key differentiator and solutions that deliver on this are in high demand across key market segments. “We’re already seeing core omnichannel principles, like treating the customer journey as a complete story or flow, start to filter down to the mid-market and to informal contact centres,” added Martino. “When armed with rich analytics around customer interactions, organisations can monitor the resolution time of enquiries or issues alongside averages over time. By reviewing the journey from the customer’s perspective in this way they are able to put the infrastructure in place to achieve the ultimate objective of resolving customer issues on first contact.”

Having a platform that delivers such an omnichannel capability is critical to digitalising the customer experience, reiterated Nick Beardsley, Enterprise Director at Olive Communications. He noted that Olive has witnessed significant growth in the finserve, retail and travel sectors, where the customer experience has become the biggest differentiating factor. “An omnichannel approach is a win-win for both the provider and the consumer as it can simplify and improve the customer experience, while reducing the cost to serve,” he stated.
Furthermore, a growing number of consumers are mobile-first, with a large percentage of initial engagements coming from an Internet search performed on a mobile device. “With a joined up digital customer engagement strategy the customer can transact online or seamlessly move to another channel to either find out more information or complete the transaction,” added Beardsley. “Omnichannel allows a customer to seamlessly move from one channel to another, providing a platform for first-contact resolution.”

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