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Define Omnichannel

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, you’ll be able to:

  • Define what omnichannel means in the customer support context.
  • Describe how the Salesforce Omni-Channel solution routes Salesforce objects.
  • Describe the major capabilities of the Omni-Channel solution.

What Omnichannel Is (and Is Not)

Everyone in the customer service world is talking about omnichannel these days. With so many conversations across so many industries and organizations, the true meaning of omnichannel can get lost in the noise. In this module, we show you how the omnichannel approach to customer service can make your customers happier and your contact center more efficient. We start by defining what omnichannel is, and what it is not.

A true omnichannel customer service center allows your customers to connect seamlessly with your support staff using multiple channels. At the same time, your support agents have immediate access to a holistic picture of the person they’re about to help.

Omnichannel is not multiple departments looking at multiple dashboards pulled from disconnected databases. It’s not teams passing customers from one disempowered agent to another without resolving issues quickly.

In the service world, we think about omnichannel in terms of the three Cs: complete, consistent, and connected.

  • Complete engagement with customers on any channel
  • Consistent service across channels
  • Connected to one CRM for a unified view of the customer

If you’re using Service Cloud already, you know how a single screen with a simple interface and a rich set of information makes it possible for your team to deliver a seamless customer experience across your different customer service applications. This becomes increasingly important when you add channels, or you make the decision to take steps towards an omnichannel contact center.

How Important Is Omnichannel Right Now?
According to a recent survey of leading contact centers by ICMI, omnichannel is ranked as the #1 priority for 2018, ahead of nine other categories.

  1. Omnichannel
  2. Chat
  3. Self-service
  4. Knowledge management
  5. Text (SMS)
  6. Customer relationship management
  7. Customer satisfaction surveying
  8. Business analytics
  9. Quality monitoring
  10. Speech analytics

Barriers to a Personalized, Intuitive Support Experience

Most businesses aren’t able to provide a seamless, personalized experience across every channel today—and their customers aren’t happy. Agents can’t synthesize information across disconnected databases, making it difficult for them to deliver answers quickly and accurately. Then there’s the issue of scale. As new channels emerge and customer expectations shift, businesses struggle to keep up. It is perhaps unsurprising that, according to research from Desk.com, 34% of millennials say they’d rather go to the dentist than call a customer service line.

With an omnichannel contact center, customers interact with agents using the channel of their choice, and the contact center routes cases to the right agent so the interaction is as seamless as possible. When your business is doing it right, the experience feels so personalized and intuitive that customers will almost wonder if your agents are psychic.

Omnichannel with Salesforce

Service Cloud helps businesses break through the barriers to customer satisfaction. The platform provides intelligence and productivity tools to help agents, managers, and mobile workers deliver personalized, proactive customer service across every channel and device. As an agile, scalable platform, Service Cloud also adapts easily to growth and changing business and customer needs.

To run an omnichannel contact center, you need to connect the right information to the right people at the right time. Salesforce has just the product. Omni-Channel, Service Cloud’s comprehensive customer service solution, pushes work to agents in real time, right from the Salesforce console. Omni-Channel makes it all happen using objects, which is just a fancy word for anything that can be routed to your agents. Cases, chats, leads, and social posts are all examples of objects.

Delivery of objects depends on the size of the work and the agent’s capacity. As a manager, you can use Omni-Channel Routing to set the size and priority of different objects. Salesforce stores the objects in queues until an agent is ready to receive them. When you associate a queue to a routing configuration, Salesforce routes the work in that queue to agents based on the routing model, size, and priority you’ve set. Omni-Channel Presence allows your agents to indicate when they’re available for work, and for which service channels. Managers can monitor all these features using Omni-Channel Supervisor so they always know where their team is in relation to their service level goals.

How the Salesforce Omni-Channel Solution Works 

Capability
Definition
Presence
Agents set their availability here so they receive the right cases when they’re available.
Routing
Agents receive cases via a push model, which assigns work from multiple channels. Businesses can route cases based on:
  • Highest priority
  • Oldest items first
  • Availability of an agent
  • Agent capacity
Supervisor
Service managers see and manage data related to their business’s priorities. They track data like:
  • Wait times
  • Open cases
  • Who’s working on what
  • Who has capacity for more cases

Let Customers Guide Your Deployment

Ready to make the leap to a fully digital customer service center? Your customers’ preferences should influence how you deploy your new service channels. Before you begin building it out, ask yourself: What do they need? Where are they most likely to engage with the brand? What’s the easiest channel for them to use? B2B customers will probably gravitate to very different channels than B2C customers, for example.

Let’s take a look at fictional B2C bicycle company we’ll call Penny Farthings. Its engaged customers are passionate about the Penny Farthings brand, and the service center gets lots of calls for order updates, shipment confirmations, product recommendations, and more. This level of interest is great, but it means that Penny Farthings support agents are overwhelmed with calls and have a difficult time keeping up with demand. So the VP of Customer Service asks the call center supervisor, Denise, to come up with a way to decrease the load on agents while still keeping engagement high.

The team already uses Salesforce. And Denise knows that 80 billion messages are sent worldwide each day across channels including SMS, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. So she decides to roll out LiveMessage for Service Cloud. LiveMessage is a two-way messaging solution that gives customers the option to simply message Penny Farthings' existing service number to start a real-time conversation with an agent. Customers can use their preferred messaging channel, such as SMS or Facebook Messenger. With LiveMessage, customers can communicate with agents in the way that’s most convenient. And since agents can handle up to 10 message conversations at once, the solution increases efficiency and cost savings, and the contact center can easily scale to handle more customer inquiries without taxing infrastructure or adding headcount.

With LiveMessage, the Penny Farthings service center sees a 75% cost reduction per case over voice (a stat that’s typical for businesses who add digital to their support strategy). The change makes customers happier too because they're reaching the company on the channels they prefer—the same ones they use to communicate with friends and family. If a customer decides to follow up on another channel, whether that’s phone, email, or chat, their case record has already been captured, including all the past message transcripts. So an agent is instantly up to speed and can focus on resolving the problem quickly.

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