What Makes 'Omni-Channel' Work?

A study shows customers are using up to nine different communication channels to contact companies today, tet most contact centers are optimized to handle only one channel — the phone. That's not a formula for success.

ROCHESTER, N.Y — Contact center agents experience it every day. A customer calls and doesn’t want to wait on hold so they send an email instead. Then they start a chat session to engage with an agent. Meanwhile, another agent has fielded the email and is researching an answer. Then the automated system calls the customer back and she engages with yet another agent. Unfortunately none of the agents has an up-to-date view of what’s going on with the customer, making the process expensive and prone to error.

According to a study by Aberdeen Research, customers are using up to nine different communication channels to contact companies today. Yet most contact centers are optimized to handle only one channel — the phone. The result: a failure to meet customer expectations, frustration on the part of agents, and mounting expenses. Not a formula for success. 

Kodak Alaris recently showcased a practical new approach to master the omni-channel challenge at The Future Contact Center Summit in Orlando. The KODAK Info Insight Platform allows contact centers to offer superior customer service in a cost-effective way.

Three practical answers for omni-channel management:

  1. Understanding unstructured information. The Info Insight Platform covers all text-based information, connecting communication channels even if they reside in disjointed, siloed processes.  Info Insight reads and identifies the nature of any communication and accurately classifies it without being limited by pre-defined keywords.
  2. Unifying information silos. Based on its understanding of the content of a communication, Info Insight validates and augments that communication with other related customer data wherever it resides, for example in CRM and ERP systems, databases, the cloud or proprietary legacy systems. As a result, contact center agents have a complete view of all relevant customer information needed to provide a comprehensive answer.
  3. Getting better with time. Info Insight learns from the most experienced agents, continuously enhancing the knowledge base in the contact center, learning from each new question and expert answer. All agents, especially the less experienced ones, benefit from the self-learning system, which keeps them motivated and ensures fast and comprehensive responses to the customers.

“The tidal wave of free-form unstructured data rushing into contact centers cannot be managed by simply adding more people,” explained Mike McBrien, Principal Consultant at Merlion, a consultancy offering strategy, business development and sales advice for software, cloud and solutions-focused companies. “Adding workers is expensive. Companies need a solution that can automatically categorize that data and give agents a full view of the information needed to resolve an inquiry. With its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solutions, Kodak Alaris is in an ideal position to help contact centers solve today’s challenges, operate more efficiently, and deliver outstanding customer service.”

Many contact centers around the world, including a number of globally recognized brands, have slashed costs and improved customer satisfaction using this technology. Examples include:

  • One of the top three global logistics providers is resolving 80 percent of customer inquiries in less than two hours — a fourfold improvement.
  • An online car insurance provider is processing 40 percent of its emails without manual intervention, and automatically resolves 1 in 4 customer inquiries with suggested responses.
  • One of the top European utility providers exceeded its customer satisfaction and cost savings targets by shifting from manual processes to automatically classifying and extracting relevant data from 80 percent of customer communications.

“Contact centers have had to adapt to massive change over the past few years as consumers have turned to text, email, and social media for much of their interaction with businesses,” said Dolores Kruchten, President, Kodak Alaris’ Document Imaging Division. “Agents struggle to find the relevant information that often sits in disjointed processes or repositories to meet high customer expectations for fast and comprehensive responses. The Info Insight Platform is designed to address these challenges. Thanks to its technology based on AI, it truly understands customer requests regardless of the communication channel and provides contact center agents with just the relevant information for a customer response.”

For more information, visit kodakalaris.com/go/infoinsightnews

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