Chasing the Omnichannel Experience
“We think of the Decision Hub as a brain that is in the center of all channels,” said Tara DeZao, director of product for martech and adtech at Pega, “and it can respond to individual customers in real time.” If the customer has had a negative customer service interaction, it’s not a good time to make an offer—an apology is more appropriate. “Artificial intelligence processes the data signals and lets companies respond with more empathy, meaning a deeper understanding of the viewpoint of the customer,” said DeZao.
In addition, companies often do not make the best use of the data they have. “A lot of data inside organizations, such as data from finance, could be useful in customer service or marketing,” DeZao explained. A customer who is behind on their premium payments should not be approached with an upsell product, for example. Executives who are in charge of customer experience will attempt to bring outbound channels such as marketing together with inbound channels such as customer service. “In order to be successful,” said DeZao, “brands will have to create this consolidation.”
Among the verticals that are focusing on the omnichannel experience are retail, banking, telecom, healthcare, insurance, and hospitality. These sectors are making significant efforts to make the customer experience more relevant to help generate loyalty. “Many companies are trying to crack the code on making engagement be a differentiator,” DeZao noted. “This can create the loyalty that produces customers with high lifetime value, but it needs to be a consistent investment. Prioritizing short-term revenue is not a good long-term strategy.”
Personalized customer support
While some multichannel or omni-channel solutions are used by companies to personalize outbound communications such as marketing campaigns, others focus more on applying the integrative technology to customer service and sales functions. eGain’ s customer engagement hub consists of three components. The eGain Conversation Hub unifies multichannel customer interac- tions across digital channels for digital self-service functions such as chat-bots, virtual assistants, social, email, and voice. It allows for integration of existing enterprise tools and systems of record such as CRM solutions.
The eGain Knowledge Hub contains content needed for answering inquiries, resolving problems, and provid- ing advice in context. Using AI and machine learning, it supports intent inference, search, and guidance on what to say or do next. It integrates with existing ECM systems and SharePoint.
“The Knowledge Hub can support the CRM desktop by searching for answers based on what the agent is doing in that application, to enable fast problem resolution,” said Anand Subramaniam, senior vice president of global marketing for eGain. The third component, the eGain Analytics Hub, optimizes insights with analytics from contact center operations, the customer journey, and knowledge use.
“Most companies have now realized the importance of delivering seamless multichannel experiences to customers,” Subramaniam added. “However, some do not want to part with channel-specific legacy systems in which they have made a significant investment.” The hub can integrate with these, but maintenance is more cumbersome than having one unified system. Companies may also be using point product vendors that cannot support a wide range of channels or have limited functionality. “For example, during the rush to go digital during the pandemic,” he continued, “some companies deployed standalone chatbots that have failed them because they were not backed by knowledge. So they do little more than meet and greet website visitors.” These do not add significant multichannel value.
Overall, the trend toward an omni- channel experience will persist. “A knowledge hub will enable personalization of content at multiple levels,” said Subramaniam, “with real-time and historical customer context, role, the interaction channel, and even expertise levels, in the case of agent-facing tools. Businesses can either take an incremental approach or a big bang approach, deploying most or all of the channels in one shot.” Either way, companies need to be fully aware that customers do not want a fragmented approach, but a smooth and well-informed one, and act on that knowledge.
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