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Contact Centre Vendors – time to ditch the term ‘Omni-Channel’ once and for all!

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

When the Wii first came out who thought the name would catch on? Bluetooth anyone?

The contact centre world is littered with terms that are common parlance amongst those who speak ‘contact centre’ but there are a few which are commonly misused, abused, or confused.

One of the main offenders for being abused and confused is ‘Omni-channel’. The tech vendors use it all the time but, in my experience, it floats past the ears of most operational managers and fails to resonate with any clarity, assurity or business benefit.

The problem is there are several lenses you can view this term from – ‘omni-channel commerce’; ‘omni-channel solutions’ to ‘omni-channel experiences’ and each has their own focus.

The reason that it is a problem is because in the Contact Centre world the noise is all around delivering a joined up experience for the customer (totally valid) BUT what contact centre operations need to be buying is a solution that means advisors come in at the start of a shift and they log on to ONE APPLICATION. One application that manages all of their customer interactions and their personal development (their quality, work schedule, gamification etc.) and their internal communication.

Having a contact centre solution that is ‘omni-channel’ - i.e. it moves customer transactions seamlessly from one channel to another, together with all the transactional and conversational context - is table stakes for CCaaS providers (some of them don’t do it very elegantly but that’s another story). And it certainly should be the de facto mode of operation for any decent contact centre, however they achieve it.

What is less common, and still not being embraced in operations, is to create operational efficiencies by having one application, that any advisor (irrespective of them being an inbound voice agent only; a social media agent; an outbound agent or a multi-skilled agent) can work within.

So here is my plea to both sides of the world that I spend my days in:

Contact Centre Vendors – stop using the word omni-channel. Be brave and think of a term that focuses on the operation and the agent experience and stop banging on about CX – the contact centres know what they are doing in that area. They just need techies to give them tools that will help them achieve it more elegantly, more efficiently and more robustly.

Operations – think about how siloed your interaction management, operational management and your insight management tools are. Count how many applications your advisors need to interact with to do their respective jobs and consider what it would mean to your business to get to the nirvana of having all agents interacting with one tool where everything can be managed in ‘One App’.

Rant over.


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