The Future of the Multi-Channel Contact Center

Your customers are digital natives. That means they’re used to using multiple channels of communication in their personal lives. From social media, to voice calls, to email and SMS; your customers use them interchangeably and flexibly. And they expect the same from your business. The contact center of the 21st century is multi-channel.

However, it doesn’t end there. Today’s contact center is often channel-agnostic. This means that customers can use any and all channels to get in contact, and the contact center treats them all interchangeably. Interactions can move across channels effortlessly, with no loss of time, data or functionality. Another word for this is omni-channel.

Multi-channel contact centers are increasingly becoming channel agnostic, omni-channel contact centers. As the range of possible contact channels broadens, organizations must rise above, ready to integrate, answer, and delight over any channel.

Interested in learning more about the potential of the omni-channel contact center? Download Content Guru’s whitepaper, Customer Contact for the Future: Why Proactive CX is the Next Step for Your Contact Center.

What is a Multi-Channel Contact Center?

Traditionally, contact centers (then called ‘call centers’) existed to make and receive phone calls from customers, and voice calls remain a tool of critical importance to your customer contact. These calls can be either inbound (support requests from customers) or outbound (sales, marketing, research etc.)

While the phone is still an essential tool for customer contact, the modern contact center has evolved. Customers now expect to be able to contact you over a broad range of channels. And there’s plenty of reasons why customers might want to diversify the channels they use:

  • SMS allows customers to contact organizations conveniently and instantly from any location, no need to wait in queues.

  • Web chat is easy to locate, offered through an organizations website and accompanied by information about the company.

  • Emails are the ubiquitous form of communication in the modern business world; the ability to receive and send emails from customers is expected for businesses.

  • Phone is the traditional channel of customer service, and remains the most popular. You customers want to speak with an agent who can resolve their queries efficiently.

  • Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media channels are increasingly popular, as businesses expand their presence on the platforms, and increasingly use them to proactively engage with customers.

And more

There’s a good reason to embrace this diversity. 60% of millennials don’t like making phone calls, even in situations where they have no other option. Denying your customers the option to reach you via channels other than voice sabotages your Customer Experience (CX).

The situation is the same for outbound calls. With the rise of spam and robo-calls, 94% of your customers will refuse to pick up calls from unidentified numbers. The ability to reach out over the channels of contact you prefer dramatically increases your chance of successfully establishing contact. Phone calls uniquely suffer from this ‘trust deficit’. Emails, social media messages, and web chats all allow for the instantly establishment of credentials, rather than an ‘unknown number’ to be ignored.

The Cloud-Based Multi-Channel Contact Center

Traditional, single-channel contact centers are often on-premises. This means that they are hosted on-location, on servers owned by the business, and can only be accessed via that location. A multi-channel contact center must be nimble and flexible. That means adding new channels where required, editing services on the fly, and acting fast to resolve any issues. Successful multi-channel contact centers go beyond on-premise; they are cloud-based.

A cloud-based contact center has a range of benefits:

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    Accessible from Anywhere

    • Accessible from any location, via a single browser-based interface, a multi-channel contact center gives your agents the flexibility to work from anywhere.

    • Hosted on a centralized data center, equipped with specialized cooling technology and dedicated maintenance teams, the cloud contact center takes responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of servers off your shoulders.

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    Unrivalled Reliability

    • This makes the cloud-based contact center much less vulnerable to outages. Offering up to 99.999% availability, your customers will always be able to reach you when they need to.

    • New updates are rolled out in real time, as soon as they become available. No need to take your services offline.

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    Scalability Made Easy

    • Instant service scalability, allowing you to add and reduce user licenses as and when they’re required, so you only ever pay for what you use.

    • Allows clients to focus in on their core business, and not act as an internal service provider. Organizations can save on support and maintenance, which are handled entirely by the cloud provider and their 24/7/365 support services.

The Possibilities of the Multi-Channel Contact Center

One critical benefit of the cloud is that updating is easier than ever. As the solution is hosted centrally, and accessible through a browser, any updates the provider wants to roll out can be made instantly. Customers have access to new features as soon as they’re available, with no need to perform any manual install tasks.

That opens up a host of possibilities for the multi-channel contact center:

  • The channel landscape is constantly evolving. Each generation has their preferred methods of communication, from Myspace, to Facebook, to WhatsApp and Instagram. A cloud-based multi-channel contact center makes keeping up with these shifts effortless. When new channel API integrations are developed, business can take advantage of these new possibilities immediately to continue delighting customers.

  • Organizations accumulate tech stacks. Often these stacks are uncoordinated; they are built over long periods, in accordance to the needs of the moment, without too much thought for how those systems would work together. This leads to inefficiencies, as users have to navigate around flaws in the system. Different solutions each come with their own context, and switching between these contexts becomes a frustrating, disruptive experience for users. Cloud based multi-channel contact centers offer a way around this problem. Through libraries of custom and ready-made API integrations, cloud-based contact center solutions unify your tech stack and eliminate inefficiencies.

  • AI has taken the world by storm. New generative AI technologies allow for instant interaction transcription and summarization for new levels of agent support. AI moves fast, with new models released regularly, each more efficient than the last. Future-proofing your organization requires a cloud-based multi-channel contact center. For the modern multi-channel contact center, AI adoption is more than just an exciting possibility; it’s essential. To counter the contact center’s most significant challenges, you need AI-powered functionality.

When your contact center is based in the cloud, embracing these new technologies (and finding the infrastructure to support them) is easier than ever. New functionality can be added at the click of a button, with no need for downtime.

The AI-Powered Multi-Channel Contact Center

The modern multi-channel contact center faces uniquely human challenges; increasing levels of agent attrition, constantly rising contact levels, and increasing customer expectations. Meeting these challenges seems like a superhuman feat. Luckily, the cloud-based multi-channel contact center makes enhancing human performance easy.

  • Generative AI transcription and summarization support the agent during post-call work, pre-filling forms and scheduling post-interaction actions automatically. The agent is free to move on to the next action quickly, reducing Average Handling Time and cutting queues. Agents are also free to focus on the next customer interaction, rather than entering data into systems of record.

  • Conversational Machine Agents can provide a life-like chatbot experience without the risks associated with generative AI. The support of a chatbot makes your self-service options more attractive to customers, taking some of the pressure off your agents. Unlike generative AI technologies, conversational machine agents offer personalized, conversational interactions without the risk of hallucination. They also support intelligent routing, offering pre-determined responses that help guide customers toward the best available agent.

  • Generative AI can create instant knowledge articles, tailored to the needs of the agent in the moment. This saves time spent on searching for solutions, letting the agent deliver a fast, cross-references answer to customers.

The multi-channel contact center makes AI adoption easy. Equipped with AI, your customer contact is ready to face the challenges of the future.

The storm® Multi-Channel Contact Center

The multi-channel contact center, now the omni-channel contact center, represents a quantum leap in customer contact. The most successful organizations are multi-channel by design. If you’re not planning your cloud migration already, the time to begin is now.

With decades of experience migrating organizations to the cloud, and designing AI-powered, outcomes-drive solutions, Content Guru stands ready to make your transition to a multi-channel contact center a success.

Want to learn more about how Content Guru supports multi-channel contact centers? Download our whitepaper, Brace for Impact: Preparing Your Business for the Generative AI Tidal Wave