Omnichannel Strategy Hints: Staffing is Key
In an ideal world, your omnichannel strategy seems effortless.
Your customers are contacting you on the channels that suit them. Your team are focused on providing service that’s consistent across every channel, and they can easily keep abreast of your customers’ full support history – meaning they provide a personalised service, each and every time.
Pretty great huh?
Getting there takes time, and building a successful omnichannel strategy for your customer service doesn’t happen overnight. Finding gaps in your customer journey, understanding and developing your channel strategy, and making sure you’ve got the right omnichannel support solution in place can help you to execute on your strategy.
Critically, organising and managing your team can be a key element of success. If your customer service team are going to provide seamless omnichannel support, there are a few things to consider:
How will your team staff channels?
It’s vital that your customer service channels have the rights staffing levels so you can respond promptly to customer queries. In an omnichannel contact centre, your customers will be moving between channels and your agents will need to be able to pick up conversations on one channel from wherever they left off in the previous channel. Determining if your agents will be specialised in one channel or covering multiple channels will dictate how well they’re able to respond to your customers.
Often, all agents are trained to staff all channels. This means they can move between channels depending on the volume of interactions on that channel. What this means is that if you have an unforeseen spike in channel requests, you can scramble the team and ensure there are agents available to respond. This flexibility means that your staffing schedules can be more effective. Your managers are currently juggling holiday days, sickness absences, employee attrition, events, training sessions, breaks and more – so having agents trained on more than one channel can be a huge help.
This flexibility also means your agents are able to respond to the customer through the most appropriate channel. So if you have a complicated ticket come through via email, and your agent determines it would be better resolved as part of a phone call, they can move channels but retain ownership of the conversation. Empowering your agents in this way ensures your omnichannel strategy is cost-effective and results in the optimal customer experience.
What difference does it make to my omnichannel strategy if my agents are dedicated to a specific channel?
In some cases, having your agents manning a specific channel works wonders. It’s about finding the staffing model that works for the channels you’re already supporting. Often though, staffing additional or even new channels can be a daunting prospect.
It’s important to remember that every channel is different, and you’ll need to plan for seasonality, volume trends and factor in the number of interactions your agents can reasonably handle on each channel. If you’re an international business, think about language coverage and how you’ll cover multiple time zones.
Once they’re in use, you’ll learn more about optimising your new channels. Customer preferences could impact volumes – and in general, you’ll need fewer agents for the channels that enable one-to-one support.
Psssst! Don’t forget to consider peak contact times. Your customers might prefer to contact you outside of business hours, so making sure you’re staffed for predicted channel volumes and the time of day can help to make sure you’re ready.
Real Time Adjustments
Look, even with the most sophisticated predictive staffing models in the world, you’re still going to find there are situations in which you need to make last minute adjustments. To respond in real time necessitates open communication across your team. If your agents are overwhelmed with requests on one channel, empower them to ask for help and alert other colleagues.
Ultimately, the way you staff your contact centre is integral to your organisation’s ability to deliver a great omnichannel experience. From the initial technology strategy all the way to your final omnichannel solution, there are a lot of factors that contribute to excellent customer service performance. Your team sit at the heart of everything – set them up for success and make your organisation’s omnichannel dream a reality.
Better experiences with omnichannel engagement