[Editor’s note: Below is a guest blog from Donna Fluss, President of DMG Consulting LLC. To dive into the topic further, check out Donna’s full whitepaper entitled, “Omni-Channel Contact Centers Are Required in the Digital Era.”]

By Donna Fluss, President of DMG Consulting LLC.

Consumers (and B2B partners, for that matter), want it to be easy to conduct business. They don’t want to spend time figuring out who to interact with, whether via chat or a phone call. They simply want to purchase a product or get their question answered as quickly as possible. Omni-channel contact centers were conceived for just this purpose – to allow consumers (or partners) to take care of business, easily.

There are major differences between multi-channel and omni-channel contact centers or servicing environments. A multi-channel contact center supports two or more channels, such as calls, emails, faxes, and possibly some of the newer digital channels such as chat, SMS and social media (Facebook and Twitter). However, in a multi-channel environment, each channel works independently of the others, so what happens in one channel is not shared with agents who are supporting the other channels. As a result, if a consumer sends an email and then follows up with a call, the agent who receives the call will not know that the customer has already reached out for help or what was done on their behalf. Besides being expensive, as now the organization has to address the same issue twice, it makes customers unhappy and sends a message that they are not important to your organization. This is why companies are trying to transition to omni-channel servicing environments.

Omni-channel contact centers are intended to allow consumers, customers, B2B partners and prospects to have a consistently outstanding experience from knowledgeable service or sales people, regardless of the channel in which they interact. This can happenonly if the servicing department or contact center has a centralized system, like an automatic call distributor (ACD) with universal queuing technology that can intelligently receive and route interactions coming from all channels – calls, emails, chats, SMS, co-browse, social media, video, etc. These intelligent routing solutions recognize the channel of incoming contacts and use appropriate routing rules based on guidelines established by the company. This means that all channels can be treated the same way or differently, depending on the needs of the business.

Everyone wins in these environments. Customers and prospects are happy because it is easy to take care of their business. Enterprises are satisfied because it reduces the cost of service and sales and improves agent engagement. To learn more about the benefits of an omni-channel contact center and how to build one, read the white paper by DMG Consulting entitled, Omni-Channel Contact Centers Are Required in the Digital Era.