Let’s consider the current state of play for a minute. Customers no longer want to talk to customer support if they can self-serve. When it comes to automated service, customers are notably positive. Consider Forrester data from 2019 showing that 63% of customers are happy to be served by a chatbot, as long as they have the option to escalate the conversation to a human. While self-service is commonly a means to deflect calls from the contact center, it’s ultimately an opportunity to create better service experiences. With an omnichannel contact center strategy, a business can set itself up to deliver self-service and reduce operational costs, as I discussed in a recent webinar with Audrey William, principal analyst at Ecosystm.

How an Omnichannel Strategy Can Expand on Self-Service Offerings

Businesses that make their customers wait on hold at the start of a call are possibly over-relying on IVR as a communications channel. Who wakes up in the morning hoping to be kept on hold by an IVR when they need to solve a problem in their life? Understanding the intent of every engagement is crucial, whether your customer needs to understand an offering, requires specific information, or wants help in getting something done, like paying a bill or updating an address.

Through web-based applications, customers can receive guided and interactive experiences that can be more educational than a phone conversation with an agent. When it comes to information management, publicly available knowledge bases can help, as can an omnichannel contact center that pulls together data from multiple sources and makes it accessible through a single interface. Layering AI on top of these self-service experiences can enable the automation of the most routine agent tasks, but only if customer and knowledge information is integrated.

"Through the centralization of data, businesses can offer the kind of personalized customer service that leads to increased revenue..."

Operational Cost-Saving Opportunities Are Everywhere

When people hear “omnichannel,” they often miss the point. Yes, we can recognize that consumers are spending more time communicating through apps and we need to keep pace, but at the heart of an omnichannel strategy is customer data. Through the centralization of data, businesses can offer the kind of personalized customer service that leads to increased revenue (sales agents can move past one-size-fits-all offers and take a needs-based approach). When customers call in, contact centers can benefit through improved prediction of intent, which enables first-call resolution and reduces repeat calls and average handle time. Aside from delivering a better customer experience (resulting in improved upsell opportunity, reduced customer churn and reduced costs for acquisition and customer service), we know that the agent experience is also deeply intertwined with CX, so agent productivity and talent retention increases. The overall effect is a transformation across all areas of operations.

Learn more about how an omnichannel strategy can drive immediate cost savings for your contact center by checking out the on-demand webinar with Ecosystm and Local Measure. Watch the webinar now.

Originally published on No Jitter.