Multichannel Queuing – What’s Old Is New Again

My first install of an all-in-one contact center solution was back in 1996. One of the main driving forces for the customer to install the solution was the ability to queue multiple types of media into their contact center.  Phone calls were obviously dominant, but email and web chats were beginning to carve out their space too. It’s been over 16 years since that time, so obviously every contact center is fully multichannel enabled by now. Not even close.

While the systems have been in place in many contact centers for the past several years, most are still just starting to ramp up to a true multichannel center. Queuing up different channels in a contact center is not new, but the number of channels (e.g. addition of social media) and the ease of use of these channels for consumers have lit a fire under many contact center managers to revise their multichannel strategy. The contact center industry is trying hard to provide a better customer experience, and this has renewed the focus.

Many factors come into play when trying to provide a better customer experience. There is no one-size-fits-all in service, but some things are common across size, industry and geography. Here are the ten things you must consider as you design your strategy:

  • Have a “data filter” for all channels – for example, social media noise needs to be filtered as not all Twitter or Facebook conversations need to end up in the call center. You can filter by a distinct set of criteria—by influencers, sentiment and trends in conversations.
  • Improve website traffic and page views – callback, co‐browsing, chat, and email are key factors to increasing the number of page views on your website and conversion rates.
  • Implement a knowledge base -provide content to the consumer, that will help consumers resolve problems. This could be in the form of FAQs, how‐to’s, comments, documents, videos and podcasts, among others.
  • Use mobile applications
  • Integrate the call center with forums and communities
  • Establish business processes and workflow – “data filters,” channels, integration points, customer data, and the knowledge base all need to work together to offer a suitable customer experience. Synchronize this with a business process platform.
  • Use technology that is agile in the cloud or on‐premise
  • Use technology that has all‐inclusive functionality – having basic technology such as workforce management, monitoring, IVR ,recording and outbound dialer, in an all-in-one platform, will help to enhance the customer experience and to speed deployment ofthe technology.
  • Implement unified communications – being able to combine voice, data, instant messaging, queues, emails, processes, workforce management, routing, and quality control is key to managing the customer relationship.
  • Go beyond CTI and IVR, integrate the CRM application –  companies need to incorporate customer metrics, surveys, and a 360‐degree view of the customer and business logic. The more customer data the agent has, the better equipped they are to assist the consumer.

For more detailed information on these ten items above, I encourage you to read this informative whitepaper that I co-authored, “Using a Multichannel Strategy to Deliver an Exceptional Customer Experience.” In addition to keeping these ten things in mind, you must also account for the customer relationship lifecycle. A good start is to use analytics to measure outcomes and processes to better manage the customer experience.

But just measuring is rarely enough, you must understand how to acquire, manage, and retain customers, ultimately creating loyal customers. And today, a big part of that is making sure that any channel the customer chooses to use for service is part of your overall strategy. As shown in the figure below, a customer experience strategy needs to work together with customer processes that support the multichannel effort, implying the need for analytics and business process that are working together.


How are you preparing your contact center to support multichannel interactions? Or are you already there? If so, share your experience with our readers!

Brad Herrington

Brad Herrington

Brad Herrington

As a Manager in the Solutions Marketing Group, Brad is responsible for the product direction and marketing strategy of the suite of products offered by Interactive Intelligence. Solutions Marketing is also the outward facing delivery team for webinar, seminar, analyst and media presentations as well as prospect and end customer demonstrations. His experience includes more than 20 years in the contact center and telephony industry, including the past 16 years with Interactive Intelligence focused on both the traditional and IP telephony markets.