Consultant Corner: Avoid the Omnichannel Dilemma

Avoid the Omnichannel Dilemma by Fixing Your Voice Front-End Now

Customers want to choose their channels, and every company wants to offer a diversity of voice, mobile, Web and face-to-face options. But an abundance of channels is not enough. Customers need to move seamlessly between channels, with a recognized and integrated “journey” that is leveraged for each interaction.

A great dilemma can undermine this “omnichannel” buzz. Voice is still a critically important channel that some customers choose because “they just want to talk to somebody.” Others turn to voice when they hit issues on other channels. As a result, front-end IVR systems need to function really, really well. Unfortunately, the scripts, menus and call flows rarely deliver a positive customer experience, whether for self-service or identification and verification followed by routing.

I challenge you to call your main number(s) and take an honest look at your interface compared to best practices and give it a grade. If you truly get an A, or even a B+, congratulate yourself! The rest of you need to make redesigning that front-end a priority on your “to do” list. I’ve seen companies tackle this issue and streamline main menus from 30 seconds to six seconds, reduce misrouting (and subsequent transfers), increase customer authentication for screen-pops, and reduce handle times. That might not be as exciting as adding chat or text, but it sure makes a good business case and happy customers.

As companies focus on sexier, newer channels, they must strike a balance between meeting customer demand for new channels, and improving the “front door” for customers that call. Companies can do so by:

  • Reviewing key factors that need to be a part of the effort, such as cross-channel integration, user-friendly interfaces, etc.
  • Not forcing self-service where it doesn’t belong, or is unlikely to succeed.
  • Creating a cohesive self-service plan across media.
  • Considering what happens when customers “opt-out” or move across channels.
  • Pursuing implementation with proper experts engaged to deliver tangible improvements.

A dilemma doesn’t have to be an impasse. There is a way to deliver the omnichannel excitement while fixing the fundamentals that impact many customer experiences. You can start today.


Lori Bocklund

Lori Bocklund

Lori Bocklund is the founder and president of Strategic Contact. With over 28 years of experience in the contact center industry, she brings an extensive knowledge of technology, processes, and organizational structures to each client engagement to solve real business challenges. She's a widely published author and regular speaker at industry conferences. Lori is the 2015 recipient of the International Customer Management Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.