Digital today is much more than just email and chat. Today, your customers are rapidly moving beyond first-generation digital channels (email, web chat, mobile apps) and on to next-generation digital channels (social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. as well as advanced messaging such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, and more).
In fact, research finds that Generation Z and millennials have a clear preference toward these next-generation digital channels when communicating with companies. And companies are starting to invest in supporting these agent-assisted and self-service digital channels.
The highest growth is expected in the areas of messaging and AI-driven self-service, offering consumers more ways to connect with companies so they can select their channel of choice for the type of problem/issue to address.
Supporting these next-generation digital channels is different in many ways from what companies are used to. These differ because of:
- Asynchronous interactions
- Unpredictable response times, and it’s acceptable to appear and disappear
- Duration times for each session are harder to measure
- Multiple parallel interactions being managed by the same agent
- Conversations that can move across multiple agent shifts
- Richer features (these are interactive, providing deeper links and offering personalization)
- No standards — every application has a different interface and capabilities
The impact on contact centers is broad, affecting forecasting and scheduling, interactions, capturing, quality, performance, analytics and more. Today, most organizations providing digital channel support do so via siloed agents, frequently outside the contact center (e.g., in marketing).
We see the future as blended agents within the contact center capable of managing omnichannel interactions with customers. Why? Because this is what the customer expects.
In fact, we believe there is a recipe for getting digital-first omnichannel interactions right that includes:
- Centrally managing next-generation digital interactions in the contact center
- Adding support for digital messaging and real-time channels
- Providing a unified inbox for all channels that supports each channel’s unique capabilities
- Providing agents context to all interactions across all channels
- Allowing customers to easily move across voice, digital, and messaging channels
- Ensuring holistic omnichannel management across all contact center operations
- Incorporating AI capabilities for self-service
In the next blog, we’ll go into each of these 7 best practices in more detail.