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Viewpoint: Omni-channel puts the customer first

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Adopting multiple channels does not cut it in today's digital transformation, says Ocular Technologies COO Ebrahim Dinat, COO.
Adopting multiple channels does not cut it in today's digital transformation, says Ocular Technologies COO Ebrahim Dinat, COO.

Adopting multiple channels - voice, Twitter, e-mail, SMS, Facebook and more - to interact with customers, does not cut it in today's digital transformation.

Customers are more than comfortable migrating from one channel and platform to another, depending on what suits them best. For instance, an e-mail query may have been great for a customer's query during the day, but this could change to voice or Twitter as the day and circumstance of the customer changes. The fluidity of the customer must thus also be reflected in the fluidity of contact channels.

And this is where a well strategised and, importantly, seamless omni-channel plays a vital role.

Communication, as the human race once knew it, has changed dramatically. And this exaggeration of communication needs to be adopted in businesses competing in the digital era. The message has transitioned from being two-fold to multi-fold and so, keeping a unified conversation going on as many levels as possible should be the goal of any contact centre wishing to achieve an outstanding customer experience.

Notably, it is the omni-channel that provides a means to an end to achieve this, but only if all channels work together mutually.

Jagannath Narendran, senior vice president for Asia and the Middle East at Ocular Technologies partner company, Aspect Software, highlights the mistakes made when channels are operating in silo. He says, "The service agent on the Twitter team can't see a record of the voice call the customer made to the service centre earlier in the day. And the e-mail and SMS teams also have blinkers on."

He continues: "To achieve best of breed customer service, organisations must break down the barriers between their customer service channels. Agents can still specialise, but they must have a comprehensive overview of the relationship with the customer, including every channel that the customer chooses to interact over."

Narendran adds that by providing an "omniscient view", an organisation can ensure it meets the customer where they are, when they want to be contacted. "That's the beauty of omni-channel: it puts the customer first and foremost."

Stressing the key to omni-channel success is for customer-centricity, is Rachel Martin, global director of product marketing: Global Ecommerce at Pitney Bowes. She says: "Customers have come to expect a seamless, relevant and personalised experience across all channels of communication, so it's important for businesses to deliver that to ensure customer loyalty and reduce churn."

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