What Is Omni-Channel, and How Do Call Centers Play a Role?

Omni Channel SolutionsOmni-channel is a growing trend in marketing and sales, and while it can get complicated, the basic idea is this: Customers rarely start and end their buying journey in a single channel. In fact, they often don’t even start and end across just two channels.

Traditionally (read: before the integration of the internet into every facet of daily life), a buying journey might look something like this:

  • The person sees an advertisement for a product or service in a single channel, such as on television.
  • The person is interested; they may wait to make a decision and see another ad on that same channel shortly thereafter.
  • The person visits a store or makes a call to find out more about the product.
  • The person ultimately makes the buying decision, having touched on two channels (television marketing and the actual sales process of the business).

Buying journeys today are much less streamlined. For example, one might follow a path such as the omni-channel sales route below.

  • Someone mentions the product on Facebook and it looks interesting.
  • Later, the person sees an ad for the product while watching YouTube videos.
  • The next day, another ad shows up on Instagram and the user clicks through to check out the website.
  • The behavioral metrics kick in and retargeting occurs, so the person sees ads for this product across all the channels he or she uses.
  • Finally, the person swipes up on an ad in a mobile game to make a call and place an order.

In this journey, the person engaged with the buying journey across at least five channels.

The Role of Call Centers in Cross-channel Sales

Call center companies are one piece of this omni-channel journey, and customers today are often programmed to expect a seamless integration. Consider some examples of how data and functionality tend to follow consumers across channels.

  • Netflix and other streaming services sync across devices. Someone can move from watching on the phone to the computer and then later to a smart television, and Netflix is designed to provide them the same experience. It remembers what they’ve watched or where they stopped in a show and serves up a similar experience across all devices.
  • Music-streaming app Spotify makes it possible to jump from one device to another without skipping a literal beat. Users who have installed both the desktop and mobile versions can seamlessly swap from one to the other mid-song.
  • Most e-commerce carts are designed to allow this same functionality, keeping items in the cart as users switch between devices to finalize a purchase.

Call centers entering the multi-channel call center or customer service journeys must leverage technology and analytics to provide this level of seamless service. If someone has started with a support link on a website and already entered information about their account or problem, that info needs to travel with them when they click to make a phone call. And that’s certainly true when someone opts to chat or call from their own account in a mobile app or online. Call centers should never make them repeat information that’s already laid out, and reps should be ready to immediately address the problem without starting at the beginning of the story.

For more information or to find out how to work with a call center that takes omni channel services into consideration, call Ameridial today.

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