1. Communicate your goals to the rest of the business
The leadership team across departments should have been involved in your goal setting and vendor selection process from the beginning to ensure business alignment and gain insights on anticipated impact for other teams, so this shouldn’t be news to them.
Once you have short-listed your top vendors, you will need to get cross-functional buy-in on those vendors from teams and departments including Customer Service, Sales, IT, Operations, and Marketing. Remind them of the importance of digital omnichannel technology that you discussed when you decided as a team to move forward with this project and how it aligns with the goals you all set. Loop them into the final selection process by acknowledging what each leader was looking for in the solution and which expectations each of your finalists are able to meet.
Ask your Customer Service, Support, Marketing and Sales department about current training initiatives and talk through how to most effectively prepare teams for the new software.
Communicate how progress and documentation will be shared and create an active feedback loop to ensure a smooth transition to digital omnichannel.
With your company goals in mind, measure your baseline metrics so you know what you’re starting with and so you can see real improvement or changes. Make a prediction about how you think the metrics will change after implementing omnichannel. Communicate this back to your leadership team to keep them informed and your team accountable.
It’s important to tell other departments what you’re doing from the start so that if a team member needs help from another department with this project, the people in the other department are already enrolled and are invested in helping you reach your goals. Since the project’s goals roll up to corporate goals, they should help that individual’s goals too. This also puts accountability on everyone in the organization to drive results.
2. Structure your existing team for omnichannel
How your contact center currently distributes workload and functions as a team can affect how you approach staffing and training for digital omnichannel. Before teams adopt an omnichannel approach, they’re typically in one of the following structures:
- Single-channel teams. Rather than having every team member respond on every type of channel, your agents might be used to specializing in one single channel. Certain agents may be trained to format their responses for emails and don’t receive incoming live chats during their day at all, while other agents may be exclusively routed live chat messages. This method is often used by larger teams who want highly specialized agents, and who want to avoid training every agent on the different communication standards of each
- Rotating Some contact center managers assign their agents just one channel at a time, but, unlike single-channel-specialized teams, the agent rotates through different channels according to a schedule. One day an agent may be exclusively tackling social media queries, and the next day they may be on live chat. Rotating teams are often used by medium-sized customer service operations that may want to redistribute agents depending on need (i.e. which queue is the highest). This method also gives agents a broader wealth of experience, keeps them engaged, and makes it easier for the team to tackle queue overflow.
- True omnichannel Even without digital omnichannel systems, your team may have had omnichannel training. On an omnichannel team, every agent can handle any type of inbound query that comes their way, regardless of channel. These agents can connect with the customer wherever they are in their journey. This tends to be true for smaller teams with only a few, multi-trained and talented agents.
Your culture and strategy will determine what the best structure is for your organization. The bigger you are, the more sense it may make to use single-channel teams: one for chat, another for email, another for social, etc. The big benefit here is you won’t need to cross- train every agent on every channel, instructing them on any unique, channel-specific policies you may have (e.g. language, response formatting, tone, etc.) While this may seem counter- intuitive for an omnichannel strategy, you can configure your digital omnichannel solution with custom routing rules that deliver the right query to the right agent.
If structuring your teams by channel works well for your company, omnichannel lets you execute while ensuring that case knowledge and customer history are shared across teams, which is where the true value in omnichannel lies.
The next option is to train your entire team to handle the demands of multiple channels, creating a truly omnichannel team. If all or most of your agents are equipped to handle responses regardless of channel or product, then your team can easily take on an omnichannel approach to training. This can result in a more personalized experience for customers, as they don’t necessarily have to be passed off from one agent to the next as they move through the customer journey.
However, in order to maintain quality response standards, you must train agents on how to set the appropriate tone for each and every channel that they use. (Note that Intelligent Assistance like Comm100’s Agent Assist can help with this). This approach may be better suited to smaller customer service teams.
Not every team member will be able to handle issues of every difficulty, and that’s okay. Train your team in proper escalation techniques to deliver a successful omnichannel experience. In Comm100’s console, agents can share queries with one another, making internal transfers to your senior support staff quick and simple.