Multichannel and omnichannel contact centres: the differences explained – part 2

29th Jan, 2018
Read time: 2 minutes

In part one of this blog post, we discussed how multichannel and omnichannel contact centres work. We also explained why different companies might prefer one solution over the other. In this blog, we talk to Netcall’s Customer Solutions Director Dave Amps. We ask him some of the most common questions surrounding multichannel and omnichannel…

Do you think everyone knows the difference between multichannel and omnichannel?

In a word, no! Some people assume they’re the same, and others use them the wrong way round. We often spend time with customers clarifying the differences.

Why do you think there’s so much confusion between these terms?

There are various reasons. The two words get used interchangeably, despite being quite different. Some of the information in our industry is a bit misleading. If you’ve only got three input channels to worry about, you might assume multichannel will cover them all. Multichannel sees each channel as a separate inbound stream. Omnichannel provides the contact centre the opportunity to monitor all traffic in one stream. And, you are able to design the most appropriate handling by agent skill or transaction type.

Do contact centres feel pressured to embrace omnichannel because it’s a buzz phrase?

That’s a real problem for some companies, yes. They feel they should adopt omnichannel software, but their current systems aren’t even multichannel. That’s a big leap, and a steep learning curve for staff. If your contact centre team contains specific skillset teams, multichannel fits this setup. Even so, omnichannel does have some major advantages.

So what are the benefits of moving to an omnichannel platform?

If we look at Netcall’s new Liberty ContactCentre, it’s capable of seeing all media within a single queue. And make real time dynamic decisions about where an interaction should be routed. These business rules mean a consistent customer experience on all communication platforms. Your supervisors are freed for task prioritisation and are able to fully focus on supporting their team.

Contact centre managers want a single report on performance or success. Multichannel reporting across several input channels makes it hard to accurately measure performance. More importantly it’s also tricky to identify where improvements will deliver greatest success. As we know, efficiency is more than quantity of replies, it includes quality and first contact resolution too! Liberty ContactCentre identifies your team’s strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to plan for tomorrow and the future.

That sounds pretty compelling! So why do some people prefer multichannel?

Reaching full Omnichannel success asks much from agents. They need to be skilled across all media. It might be that in your organisation, agents have different skills levels or some are better than others at multi-tasking. Your business may require agents to be expert advisors in a particular field.

Using software in a Multichannel manner offers supervisors options to assign skills by communication type. This would mean for example, agents who are great on the phone will focus on their strengths, and are rated as less or not skilled on other media. The software will route contacts using the skills based routing to the most appropriate agent.

Having Omnichannel does not take away the effective use of skills based routing. Indeed using the full functionality will allow senior agents to focus on more technical queries unless service levels are under pressure or team members are missing.

Can you get the best of both worlds in one platform?

You can! Our Liberty ContactCentre lets you control your contact centre, deciding what each agent does. At the same time, it supports omnichannel whenever you’re ready for it. Liberty adapts when you turn off channels or groups, or de-skill staff on selected channels. It’s an effective solution for tomorrow’s contact industry challenges

Contact Netcall for more information about Liberty ContactCentre’s omnichannel and multichannel solutions…

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