Multichannel contact center

Learn all about multichannel contact centers — preferred channels, best practices, benefits and FAQs

Sprinklr Team
April 14, 2023
7 min read
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What is a multichannel contact center?

A multichannel contact center is a type of customer service center that uses multiple communication channels to interact with customers. It enables businesses to engage with their customers through various mediums, such as email, phone, chat, social media and others. Multichannel contact centers handle both inbound and outbound interactions with customers.

A multichannel contact center aims to provide customers with a range of options to contact the business, making it easier for them to communicate and receive support on their preferred channels.

Multichannel contact center channels

The type of channels you use in your multichannel contact center depends mainly on the crowd you’re serving and the concerns you need to address. Here are a few channels of customer service to use in your contact center.

1. Phone (VoIP Telephony)

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony is a technology used in cloud-based Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions that enables businesses to make and receive calls over the Internet instead of traditional phone lines. Contact center automation tools such as conversational IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and voice bots can be integrated with VoIP to provide customers with self-service options and reduce the workload of human agents.

2. SMS texting

SMS texting can be integrated with automation tools and CRM applications to automate communication workflows. For example, you can automate simple inquiries like appointment reminders, order updates and more. Automated triggers can be set up to send personalized messages based on customer behavior, such as abandoned shopping carts or website activity. 

Messaging channels can also be used for marketing purposes, such as sending promotional offers and new product announcements to targeted customer segments.

3. Email

You can automate emails for use cases like identity verifications, promotions, advertising campaigns, etc. Email automation tools can also categorize and prioritize customer emails based on urgency and importance, ensuring that critical issues are addressed first.

4. Web chat

Web chat is a real-time instant messaging service can be embedded on your website or mobile app to provide customers with immediate support. Automated chatbots can be integrated with web chat to handle simple queries and requests, while human agents can address more complex issues. Web chat in a multichannel contact center also allows customers to switch to voice or video calls.

5. Social media

Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be integrated with CCaaS platforms to monitor and respond to customer messages and comments. Automated chatbots and voice bots can be integrated with social media platforms to handle simple queries and requests, while human agents can handle more complex issues. Social media listening tools can also be used to monitor brand reputation and gather customer feedback.

Omnichannel vs. multichannel contact center

Multichannel and omnichannel contact centers differ in their approach to providing customer experiences. While multichannel contact centers rely on fragmented and siloed teams managing separate channels independently, omnichannel contact centers integrate all channels into a single platform, enabling a consistent experience across channels — throughout the customer journey

The omnichannel approach allows users to switch between channels without compromising on the quality of service, as all interactions are tracked and accessible from a unified view. It enables businesses to gather comprehensive customer data, providing better insights and opportunities to personalize each user experience. 

So, while multichannel centers may provide various communication options, they cannot match the integrated, customer-first experience that an omnichannel contact center can deliver.

Multichannel contact center vs omnichannel contact center

Best practices for setting up a multichannel contact center 

Here are some of the best methods to create a multichannel contact center strategy:

1. Choosing the right channels

Assessing and picking the right channels is crucial to create a multichannel contact center strategy that resonates with customers. Age and demographics play a role in determining the optimal channels. Social networks and chatbots are ideal for younger customers, while older customers may prefer voice channels such as phone support. 

Ultimately, the goal is to choose the most preferred channels by your target audience to ensure they can seamlessly reach out to you when needed.

2. Building teams specific to the channel

Segmenting agents based on their skills and contact channel expertise is a crucial aspect of creating an effective multichannel contact center strategy. This platform-specific segmentation allows businesses to provide targeted customer experiences on each individual channel. 

By having specialized teams of agents for each channel, customers can be confident that they are receiving high-quality customer service. Each channel comes with its capabilities, so it is also essential to provide extensive training to agents to ensure they are skilled in their specific channel.

3. Analyzing the appropriate KPIs

Choosing the right analytical metrics is critical to building an effective multichannel contact center strategy. Metrics such as first-call resolution rates, average handling time, customer satisfaction scores and channel-specific metrics can provide insights into agent performance and overall customer experience. 

By using these metrics, businesses can identify areas for improvement, optimize their channels and deliver a superior multichannel customer experience. 

4. Using AI-powered automation

AI can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of a multichannel contact center by automating routine tasks, such as call routing and email classification and enabling personalized customer interactions through chatbots and voice bots. 

Advanced conversation analytics, such as speech analytics and AI-powered sentiment analysis, can also provide deeper insights into customer needs and preferences, helping businesses optimize their multichannel contact center strategy. By leveraging AI, businesses can improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs and gain a competitive advantage in the multichannel landscape.

What are the benefits of a multichannel contact center?

A multichannel contact center can help you deliver digital customer experiences at scale. You can:

  1. Expand your reach: with a multichannel contact center, businesses can communicate with customers using multiple channels, increasing reach. By offering customers several contact options, businesses can meet them where they are and engage with them on their preferred channels. This way, businesses can tap into new customer bases, paving way for higher conversions.

  2. Improve customer experience: being available on all needed channels ensures your customers don’t face any issues with accessibility of customer support. It also helps maintain a free flow of bidirectional conversations between the business and customers. As the customer experience improves, businesses are more likely to witness more product stickiness and customer loyalty. 

  3. Save costs: implementing a multichannel contact center can result in cost savings for businesses. Businesses can reduce the need to deploy human agents by automating recurring processes and using self-service options. Businesses can also optimize their resources more effectively and reduce costs by intelligently routing different types of customer inquiries to agents based on their skills.

Future-proof your contact center with Sprinklr — the industry-leading omnichannel solution 

While multichannel contact center allows your customers to reach out to you from multiple channels, it does not let your customers experience truly seamless customer service. Sprinklr Service’s omnichannel contact center capabilities amalgamate all touchpoints from disjointed customer service channels in a multichannel contact center — all to come together as one unified omnichannel contact center experience.

  • Unify your customer engagement: build an integrated 360-degree unified view of your customers from 30+ digital channels through live chat and self-service with Sprinklr Conversational AI

  • Unify your agent operations: create an all-in-one Agent Desktop with Guided Workflows and Smart Responses — empower your team to collaborate cross-functionally to deliver top-notch customer experiences

  • Unify data to act strategically: surface ground-breaking insights from powerful conversation analytics — reduce service contacts and measure SLAs

    Deliver exceptional digital experiences with Sprinklr Service

Multichannel contact center FAQs

1. What is the difference between omnichannel and multichannel contact centers?
A multichannel contact center allows customers to interact through multiple channels, but each channel is treated as a separate experience. In contrast, an omnichannel contact center provides a seamless experience across all channels, where customers can switch channels without losing context and agents have access to a complete view of the customer journey.

2. How can I measure costs in a multichannel contact center?
To measure costs in a multichannel contact center, calculate the total expenses for each channel separately, including labor, technology and infrastructure costs. Additionally, you can track metrics such as average handle time, first call resolution and customer satisfaction to gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of each channel.

3. How does a multichannel contact center work?
In a multichannel contact center, customers can interact through various channels such as phone, email, chat and social media. Each channel is treated as a separate experience and agents handle interactions on a channel-by-channel basis. Customers may need to repeat information when switching channels and there is no seamless integration or context sharing between channels — making an omnichannel solution necessary.

4. What are some of the important multichannel contact center KPIs?
Here are a few contact center KPIs to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a multichannel contact center approach:

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