Modern contact centers are quickly finding out the importance of an omnichannel strategy. For many contact centers, the main purpose of omnichannel is to create more personalization when it comes to customer interaction. A cornerstone of this is getting rid of customer data silos.
What are customer data silos?
When agents communicate with a customer, the information is stored somewhere with the purpose of being used again in the future. In many contact centers, specifically those who haven’t prioritized an omnichannel strategy, the customer information is separated into different silos based on communication medium or platform. For example, even if information is gathered from the same medium, like social media, it can be separated into different buckets, like Facebook and Twitter. This means that the customer service agent never has all customer information and history in one place, which can lead to confusing and slow communication and problem-solving.
What’s the solution?
These silos have to be broken down, even if some communication streams are used more than others. For example, even if a majority of customers prefer live phone calls, the contact center can’t risk missing out on information gleaned from other channels just because they’re used less frequently. Information from every channel must be integrated, and then it has to be accessible by the agent. This way, the agent can access all customer information that will inform what to do next in-the-moment. Customer behaviors, transactions and queries from the past can be used to guide the agent during the conversation that’s taking place right now.
What are the benefits?
Not only will this help agents troubleshoot and answer questions quickly, because they can use data to propel the conversation forward instead of having to start from scratch, but customers can also be engaged on the platform of their choice. For example, outbound communications can be targeted based on preferences, like whether they use email or social media to contact customer service most of the time. Data integration also reduces errors because there isn’t conflicting information being stored in the silos.
One last thought…
The contact center is the front line in terms of customer engagement. For many companies, customer service agents are the face of the brand. In order to compete in practically any market, contact centers have to rise to meet contemporary strategies – for 2017, that means prioritizing omnichannel service.