ROI and Business Benefits of Omnichannel Customer Engagement: Webinar Q&A

I recently hosted a webinar to share findings from the commissioned Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study by Forrester. The study examines the potential return on investment (ROI) obtained by deploying the Genesys Omnichannel Engagement Center solution. I invited two guest speakers from Forrester, Art Schoeller, vice president and principal analyst, and Liz Witherspoon, senior consultant, Total Economic Impact Practice, to explain the Total Economic Impact framework and discuss the market trends driving today’s need for delivering an omnichannel customer experience.

With more than 1,100 registrants worldwide, it’s clear that the topic of omnichannel customer engagement is on the minds of many business leaders who realize its value as a competitive differentiator. To kick off the webinar, Art highlighted five key trends for companies to consider as they build their next generation customer engagement ecosystems:

  1. More than 50% of consumers are abandoning online purchases if they can’t find quick answers to questions about the products and services they are considering.
  2. Over three-quarters of consumers currently consider the most important thing a company can do to provide good service is to value their time.
  3. Customers are more likely to access a self-service channel than any other digital or voice channel when they need assistance. Phone, email, and chat are the next most commonly used channels.
  4. Two-way interactive video is increasing in popularity as consumers look at contact centers as extensions of brick and mortar stores.
  5. New streams of contextual data are being generated from IoT devices. Because of the tremendous growth in Internet-connected products, companies need to begin thinking about this data and how it can be used to deliver the most efficient and effective customer service.

Liz then presented findings from the TEI study to help attendees better understand the potential return on investment by deploying the Genesys Omnichannel Engagement Center solution. The findings were calculated by examining the experience of Genesys customers from every region and across industries. The average net present value of the solution was determined to be $22.8 million with a payback in 12.8 months. The average return on investment across contact center operations was 158%.

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The study also uncovered that omnichannel engagement center deployment led to an average improvement of agent handling time by 12.5%. Infrastructure costs decreased by 38%, and headcount was reduced by 17%.

As part of the webinar, we also conducted a real-time survey of attendees to gain deeper insight into the biggest challenges companies face in delivering an omnichannel experience for their customers. When polled, the majority of customers highlighted their biggest challenge as channels still being managed in siloes. The same was true for their area of focus that would make the biggest economic impact within their business. Globally, they said implementing omnichannel engagement.

We concluded the webinar by inviting audience questions related to omnichannel engagement. Here are a few that we received:

Question: Do you think self-service is impacted by companies forcing self-service?

Art: You can try and force people to self-service. For example, on a website, you can make it really hard to find that “contact us” tab and when you do find it, you won’t find any number to call. I see that as much more of a minority out there. It’s a better thing to continue to optimize and improve your self-service resources, such as your website and your IVR, to make them much more effective. I think this growth in self-service is driven by interaction volumes. The propensity for people to self-serve first is about, “Right now, I’m busy, and I have my smartphone. And, I’m going to search on some sort of resource before getting in a queue.” In other words, the availability of it is driving its popularity.

Question: Do you define cart abandonment differently between those customers who can’t find an answer versus those who aren’t ready to buy yet—but eventually do?

Liz: I’m referencing back to the interviews we conducted. There was a new customer experience person within one company who focused on the digital channel. Sixty to 70% of their customers were abandoning at a few critical points along their journey. They didn’t know if these customers were going to purchase later or walk into a store to get served. They didn’t have that level of detailed analysis. What they knew is that once they put in the Genesys web chat feature at the key points where they saw the abandonment, the rate dropped from 60-70% to 30% abandonment. There was a significant decrease where people were able to complete and move forward in their journey.

Question: What are your thoughts about blended queues?

Art: We can define blended queues in a number of ways. Let’s just imagine that all of the contacts across all of the touchpoints are stuffed into a queue, where I apply the queuing and routing algorithms to get them into the right hands of the right agents, based on their skills and the service levels we are trying to achieve for those channels. For example, with email, we might put a service level out there that is two hours, whereas with voice, we might want to answer 90% of our calls within 20 seconds. So, the whole concept of an omnichannel engagement center incorporates the idea of blended queues when an organization’s staffing, business rules, and strategy speak to that blending.

Question: How do you determine the best omnichannel model an organization should use?

Liz: This is a very good question, and when I hear it, it makes me think back to the interviews I conducted. When I interviewed individuals for this study, they may have been the head of customer experience, the head of contact centers, the head of infrastructure, or the head of digital or ecommerce channels, but the fact is that it was a joint effort amongst all of these groups. And, the first step they said to get the maximum ROI and to make decisions was to align among the key leadership, to share key metrics, and to have similar goals that they were working on. The choices are going to be clearly overwhelming. It first took the heads of these groups to align and work well together, share goals, and then tackle it from there. I can tell you from our model perspective, the ROI is there to be had. But, it’s truly based on prioritization of effort, and that’s a leadership effort.

Art: Liz is spot on in terms of the first starting point being the organizational question. But, you’ve seen some data and statistics from Forrester about channel preferences for consumers. I advise folks that the cross-functional team should work together to do their own analysis of their own customers and channels to determine how to prioritize them. Forester’s data is not bad, but it may be a bit different for your organization, as to which ones are the priority and where you plunk down your dollars and investments to go after this one versus that one.

Question: What is the difference between an omnichannel engagement center and a CRM system?

Lisa: Great question! An omnichannel engagement center solution acts as a system of engagement. It’s about a collection of people, processes, and technologies that help organizations engage with customers in a consistent manner across all channels and touchpoints on their journey. And, when we look at CRM, we tend to think of it more as a system of record. It’s important when you pull together that unified single platform for your omnichannel engagement center, that you have an open architecture that allows you to integrate and engage with other systems, such as a system of record or CRM, as well as other enterprise systems. We look at an omnichannel engagement center as the system of engagement rather than a system of record.

Want to learn more about the study?

Check out our on-demand replay with Forrester, download the Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study, or watch an interview with Art to learn more about the ROI of deploying an Omnichannel Engagement Center.