September 21, 2022 – Duration 00:28:47

S3 Ep. 4 The key to an effective omnichannel strategy

Omnichannel CX is top of mind for many contact centers — for good reason. Being everywhere your customers want you to be creates a significant competitive advantage. But simply being present on the channels your customers prefer isn’t enough. An effective omnichannel strategy requires the right blend of channels, artificial intelligence (AI) and a human touch. Josh Goldlust, VP of Product for Digital and AI at Genesys, explains how to ensure your interactions are relevant, proactive and connected across channels. The key is putting the customer at the center and building your strategy around their viewpoint. 


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Josh Goldlust

Josh Goldlust

VP of Product for Digital Platform

Josh joined Genesys in Oct 2021 after spending five years in product management at Salesforce. Over his 20-plus years in product, Josh has led several product teams across software, services and telecom verticals. He enjoys time hiking; biking; and running with his wife, three kids and golden retriever. 

TTi20 S3E4 Conversation Highlights

Here are conversation highlights from this episode, slightly edited and condensed. Go to the timestamps in the recording for the full comments.

As much as we talk about omnichannel out in the market, people still define it differently. So, for this conversation, can you level set for us what is omnichannel from the customer perspective?

Josh Goldlust (02:24):

Omnichannel, from the customers’ perspective, opens up the ways they can interact with a company or brand. As a consumer, we all have our favorite ways we want to get in touch with the companies we do business with. So, omnichannel flips the script: Instead of what’s convenient for the company, it’s about what’s convenient for the customer.

There are still laggards in providing omnichannel access to consumers. What are you seeing as some of the reasons behind that?

Josh Goldlust (03:53):

First, there will be multiple ways that consumers will prefer to contact support, and companies need to be OK with that.

Second is this concept of near real-time or asynchronous interactions. Think about when you’re interacting via email or text with a friend: You’re not always available at the same time. So, when you get a message, you’ll respond when it’s convenient. That’s how I would expect to be able to interact with companies. And companies need to get more comfortable with that, and make sure that avenues are open for that clear communication when it’s needed. They don’t necessarily have to have someone sitting in a seat at every given moment to respond immediately.

Talk a bit about linking channels to create a continuum across the customer journey.

Josh Goldlust (05:52):

Putting me as the consumer at the center is so important. I want to be known as an individual. I don’t want to be case “12345” that the company resolves my issue and then short-term memory kicks. The next time I need to interact with that brand, I want them to know who I am. So, for companies, having that history, that context is so important.

Think about that from an experience perspective. If I’m having a support issue and I need to reach out to a company, I’m probably stressed. And then I have to answer 20 questions to prove who I am, even though I’ve done that in the IVR, which makes the interaction more stressful.

At that point, the support person has to work hard to take it from what is a negative and bring it to a neutral before they can get it to a positive.

Using the information the agent has about the customer and understanding why they’re reaching out — making is so they’re not repeating themselves — totally changes the conversation. It’s still the same situation, but maybe the customer has come in as a neutral and now all the agent has to do is turn it around to a positive and resolve the situation. It’s about understanding the context of what’s happened from previous conversations so the agent can have an empathetic conversation right from the start.

What are some of the ways we can accomplish that?

Josh Goldlust (08:00):

There really is no magic bullet. But there are ingredients that every company should use to significantly improve experiences. The first is to push information out to the edge as much as possible so customers can do self-discovery.

The second is enabling customers to engage in a conversation, either with a chatbot or human, over the channels that are convenient. That means having up-to-date information always available on the back end.

The third: When it does have to escalate to a human, the technology provides the agent with the context they need to understand who the customer is and why they’re reaching out.

How can cross-team collaboration support this?

Josh Goldlust (10:41):

Think about the experience from a customer’s point of view. How can we ensure that they can continue a conversation without having to start over? It really does mean that you know them and why they’re reaching out.

Should brands be aware of their customers’ channel preferences?

Josh Goldlust (14:09):

Brands that know you and understand who you are should have that as part of your profile. There’s room for using different communication methods for everyone… and based on what it’s for: notifications for immediacy, for example, or email to sign something.

How do we empower our customer experience centers to get to that next level of service?

Josh Goldlust (16:02):

There are new technologies that we know our customers are expecting us to use. By not having those tools, you’re missing out on conversations with your customers. And if it’s not there, don’t think that they’re not having those conversations. It’s just happening without you knowing.

So, how do you make a new technology available in the organization? Test scenarios with early adopters, then find ways to extend them across the organization. But don’t ignore it.

This makes us think about how close marketing and service need to work together for omnichannel experiences.

Josh Goldlust (19:01):

Those groups can foster tighter connections. Whether I’m interacting for service reasons or marketing reasons, I’m still the same person. There’s nothing more frustrating than you pushing information about something that I should be concerned about or interested in when it’s it’s the same thing I complained about that six months ago and returned.

So, how do you make that connection? There definitely are opportunities to bring marketing and service together, as opposed to just blindly blasting a message and hoping it resonates.

Consumers say they appreciate when you remember them for customer service interactions. They want you to have information that helps you deliver a great customer experience.

Josh Goldlust (20:55):

When a brand knows who I am, what a great feeling.

Where do you see most companies on the continuum of moving from multichannel to omnichannel?

Josh Goldlust (23:04):

I’ll use the analogy of crawl, walk, run. Crawl might be: If you have an existing contact center, you’re probably starting with voice, understanding how to operationalize that, and then adding email as a service channel. Walk might be bringing in some of the other digital channels — web messaging, SMS, third-party messaging channels — and, at the same time, understanding how to move forward with specialized or blended agents. Run would be handling all the connections across channels and using the intelligence from customer interactions to do something proactive instead of reactive.

So, most companies are probably in that walk phase. But we see movement across the continuum to use not just the channels, but the intelligence as well.