Great Teamwork

Omnichannel

Editor Ian Hunter reports back from Guildford based reseller Britannic Technologies ‘Digital Customer Experience Transformation’ event in London last month where users were asked the question: ‘Is your contact centre designed to deliver digital customer experience?’

Founded as Britannic Telecom in 1984, the company is very different to when founder Richard Dendle set out to ‘change the communications market with a value driven reseller business and a vision to redefine business communications’.

I first met the company back in the late 1980’s at a time when they launched their own Minc hybrid phone system that featured the first affordable Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) and 20-agent call centre application with integrated call management software.

Today, Britannic is an 80-strong team of managed communications technology and services specialists with a unique consultative approach.

The company works closely with a number of key vendor partners and this event was laid on for users of Mitel contact centre applications in order to provide them with an update on planned developments this year as well as demonstrate the Omni-Channel approach that Mitel has developed to customer contact that can form a key part in an Enterprise Digital Transformation.

It’s not too often that I get to meet actual end users and this was a key driver in my heading up to Mitel’s London office for the event. I wanted to hear the presentation for myself and then listen to the questions and comments from real live users. I wanted a reality check. I wanted to hear users ask questions about digital transformation – were any users already travelling the journey? Was anybody reading what we were writing about in Comms Business Magazine?

Well indeed they were. All were true contact centre users, that is, they were handing interactions beyond the telephone and this was a good start. Most were handling text and email as well as phone calls.

This was a well-researched and presented event from both Britannic and Mitel’s point of view with some good scene setting in terms of showing an understanding of business and contact centre specific pain points as well as imparting their respective views on the purpose and what the expected outcome of a digital transformation could be.

Omni-Channel

The comms sector has a different and more narrow understanding of what ‘Omni Channel’ means than the wider meaning understood by marketers in general.

Here’s the difference in a nutshell. Omni comes from the word Omnis which can mean all or universal. This is in comparison to other categories out there, like ‘multi-channel’, from the Latin word Multus, meaning multiple or many and from ‘cross-channel’, derived from the Latin word Crux, meaning to go across.

The way that many marketers explain Omni-channel today is: ‘cross channel being done well’. Marketers suggest, for example, that for a brand, that the mobile app should match the responsive design of the website which should thematically reflect the look and feel inside the store. That is to say, at every touch point for that brand, you get the same (universal) overall user feel and experience.

In comms the meaning is somewhat different and here Omni-channel means every type of communications touch point with the company contact centre is handled in the same manner. It has nothing to do with different locations and everything to do with communication types.

And that is what we saw in the Mitel product demonstration. Voice calls, chat and email for example, all being allocated to agents from a single first appearance notification screen.

The user questions at this point were interesting. There was much talk about agents being able to handle/manage more than one chat session with callers simultaneously (not possible at the moment) which to me signalled that younger agents were much more familiar with and more competent at multitasking several screens. I think that’s a common Generation Z trait?

As Jonathan Sharp, Sales & Marketing Director at Britannic Technologies, said earlier in the day, 67% of agents need three or more apps open at the same time within a call.

Ed Says…

This event showed the positives that can emerge from a well-founded vendor/reseller relationship. A good central London location with all the bells and whistles on show that was well staffed, organised and attended. Good teamwork.

I could do with going to more end-user focussed events instead of just the channel promotional bashes in order to get a more rounded and balanced view of the vendor supplier channel. In fact, you could say I need more
Omni-channel events.