Written by Ori Faran
“Multi-channel” service provides customers with a choice of several service channels so that they can use whatever channel is most comfortable for them to complete any given task.
But companies and customers are struggling with all these options. Companies can’t sustain so many means of communication - namely, expensive agent-operated channels - and customers are finding it harder and harder to make decisions.
So companies are generally progressing from multi to omni-channel service, enabling customers to switch between channels. A simpler example of an omni-channel solution is an agent desktop application that aggregates specific customer interactions across various channels - from web and chat all the way through to social media platforms and phone calls. This kind of solution gives agents the tools to understand customer needs and handle any interaction.
Progressing from providing an omni-channel to a hyper-channel experience is the natural next step in a world where customers want more and, luckily, technology allows more. A hyper-channel allows customers to use multiple channels at the same time. That’s right: no more choosing, because you can choose EVERYTHING.
Visual IVR is an example of a hyper-channel that’s becoming more and more popular. It doesn’t require customers to categorise their inquiries and it digitizes phone calls, enabling caller reception of simple information and easy navigation of the voice channel. Customers are guided through calls with the help of effective digital tools and avoid wait times when directed to agents. (These agent-aided calls then turn out to be much shorter sessions relative to the standard since customers provide answers to many simple authentication questions prior to the live call).
Because of its digital element, a hyper channel has more service options and easier flow for larger audiences than voice-IVR, making it a more flexible remedy for complex customer inquiries. It bridges the gap between the existing technologies and assets, flows, backend processes and analytics of the voice-IVR channel and digital platform.
Consider a banking customer’s call into a hyper-channel service center for a loan. The complex call requires both consultation with a live agent and digital collaboration. Today’s standard solution is for the customer to go to a branch where they can consult a professional banker in person. The banker shows the customer graphs and charts and the customer can review and sign forms and even fill out a survey on the experience. But now you have solutions like CallVu’s “virtual branch” - a hyper-channel service experience that allows customers to use their online PC or smartphone to do exactly that (without the hassle of driving to city centers and waiting in a long real-life lineups).
Various technologies support omni, or hyper, channels. WebRTC enables voice and video streaming on web sessions. Fingerprint readers power devices to identify who we are. These are all rich consolidated channels - and the future of multi-channel service.