Agents operating in an omnichannel environment provide contextual support which improves a variety of KPIs. One of the most prevalent (and confusing) buzzwords when it comes to service and support optimization is omnichannel. Unfortunately, many organizations that believe they have adopted an omnichannel strategy are really just offering their customers channel choice (AKA multichannel). Multichannel service and support organizations allow customers to reach agents in the channel of their choice, but the end to end experience fails to deliver seamless service to customers who bounce from one channel to the next. Multichannel journeys also tend to be cumbersome and frustrating for agents who often have to navigate a variety of programs or tabs to determine the best course of action. Over the past several years, we’ve seen countless new technologies roll out in support of omnichannel strategies. One of the greatest benefits of these new technologies is that agents are able to see the entire customer journey in one interface. This means that they have instant access to all interactions that the customer had with service and support at a glance. Agents operating in an omnichannel environment provide contextual support which improves a variety of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) including First Contact Resolution Rate (FCR), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES) and Return on Investment (ROI). It should come as no surprise that service and support organizations capture copious amounts of data. All of which can be leveraged in support of an optimized omnichannel strategy – one that synthesizes all relevant information across every step of your customer’s journey. This may include location, social history, purchases, or even current mood to help your agents serve customers more effectively. Now, you might be wondering how we could possibly know the customer’s mood before reaching an agent. Well, real time data and analytics make it possible. Interactions with bots and IVR journeys are being recorded for a variety of reasons including capturing the customer’s mood, identifying opportunities for improvement, and ensuring that customers don’t have to repeat themselves when live agents are needed. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the true meaning of omnichannel in service and support would be through a hypothetical example. How many missed opportunities can you identify in the following scenario?Theresa has been a customer of Light Mobile for 10 years and has had autopay set up since day 1. Today, she received an email alert that her cell phone bill was past due. The email contains a link to chat with an agent.Theresa clicks the link and is presented with a chat box that asks her to describe her issue. Theresa types in “I received an email that my bill is past due, but I am set up on autopay.”Theresa is then presented with a series of options that tree down through knowledge articles about making a payment, understanding late fees and other common billing topics. After going through 5 options that lead to no relevant solution, Theresa becomes frustrated and types ‘agent’ into the chat box.Samuel, a Light Mobile agent appears moments later. Samuel introduces himself and asks Theresa what he can help her with.Theresa responds, “I’M NOT SURE WHY I HAVE TO REPEAT MYSELF. I received an email that my bill is past due, but I am set up on autopay.”Samuel advises Theresa that she will need to contact the billing department by phone as he is unable to discuss billing details through chat.Theresa calls the billing number Samuel gave her, provides a few pieces of information to verify her account and is placed in queue.Matthew, Theresa’s husband walks in and Theresa tells him what’s going on. She is even more frustrated than before. Her voice is raised and the tone is far from calm.Heidi, a Light Mobile agent, answers the call and asks Theresa to verify the same information she already confirmed in the IVR. Begrudgingly she complies and then is forced to repeat her billing issue for the fourth time.Heidi apologizes to Theresa because she has reached the customer service team which does not have access to billing information. At this point, Theresa is irate and asks to speak to Heidi’s supervisor.James, Heidi’s supervisor, comes on to the call. He again asks Theresa to repeat the reason for her call. After a 5-minute angry rant about the horrible experience Theresa has been through, James offers to place Theresa on hold, connect with billing, correct the autopay problem and issue a credit for the late fee.Theresa agrees, but the next day, Theresa switches carriers and leaves a scathing review on the internet. This multichannel journey was clearly frustrating for all parties. Most of which should never have been involved. The initial point of contact in an omnichannel environment would be able to quickly see Theresa’s customer history, recent outgoing communication, current location, social history, and even their current mood. Armed with all of this contextual information, the agent would be able to make an educated decision on their problem-solving strategy and tone of voice, but most importantly, Theresa wouldn’t need to repeat her issue! So, let’s look at the same scenario in an omnichannel environment:Theresa has been a customer of Light Mobile for 10 years and has had autopay set up since day 1. Today, she received an email alert that her cell phone bill was past due. The email contains a link to chat with an agent.Theresa clicks the link and is presented with a chat box that has two options – the first says “I have a question about the recent billing email I received”; the second says “I have a question about something else”.Theresa selects the first option and is instantly connected to Samuel, a Light Mobile agent. Samuel welcomes Theresa to the chat and Theresa responds – “I received an email that my bill is past due, but I am set up on autopay.”Samuel asks Theresa to verify her account pin number which she does. Samuel then offers to place Theresa on hold, connect with billing, correct the autopay problem and issue a credit for the late fee. Theresa agrees and, a few minutes later, Samuel gives Theresa a confirmation number.Before ending the chat, Samuel receives a screen pop that shows Theresa has gone over her data for the last few months. He offers her an upgrade to Light Mobile’s new unlimited data plan. Theresa accepts the upgrade, immediately leaves a delightful review on the internet and tells her best friend (who has been having problems with her wireless carrier) all about the experience. Her best friend signs up with Light Mobile the next day. By shifting the environment from multichannel to omnichannel in this hypothetical scenario, Light Mobile improved FCR, CSAT, NPS, and CES. Light Mobile also reduced the AHT, % failover from chat to voice , and ultimately the cost per contact. Finally, Light Mobile identified an opportunity for sales at the point of service which increased Theresa’s customer lifetime value (CLV) and the entire experience created an enthusiastic customer that led to a referral. The simple fact is this – individual channels may work well in isolation, but to provide a consistent and superior customer experience, they must be seamlessly linked as part of an omnichannel strategy. If you have yet to architect a truly seamless experience for customers and agents across all channels, you have missed the mark on omnichannel. For that is the true meaning of omnichannel in Service and Support.