Driven by growing multichannel interactions with their customers, many businesses are moving away from call centres in favour of social media and virtual help centres to deal with customer complaints and queries.

The thought is that customers engaging with lower cost channels should be supported through siloed touch points and diverted away from higher cost call centres.

However, the power of the call centre shouldn’t be understated.

According to our research, 76% of companies learn about problems on their websites as a result of calls to the contact centre.

In addition, many web transactions are still completed with the help of an agent, and many customers will go elsewhere if this is not a smooth interaction.

Leading organisations dealing with these challenges are moving away from limited-function and siloed call centres to multi-function and integrated contact centres.

Due to customer expectations and desires to have the option of talking with a live agent wherever they are across company channels, the contact centre is becoming a central hub that is shaping customer experience.

Customers expect businesses to have full visibility of their online and offline activity, and resolve issues quickly. Anything less will result in frustration and churn, which can have a huge impact on the bottom line.

A recent Harris poll found that if a customer receives bad customer service after having problems on the web, 45% would stop doing business with that company altogether.

Often, frustrating customer experiences happen because of an enormous gap in visibility within the business, particularly across web and mobile.

Agents are not armed with the right information to effectively service customers, and are forced to use customers as a diagnostic tool, asking them questions like “what did you see on your screen?” and “can you tell me what error message you received and what you entered?”

Beyond customer frustration and churn such a lack of visibility causes, there is also a missed opportunity to turn your call centre into a profit machine instead of just a cost centre.

Without context into what a customer was doing online before calling, you have no frame of reference for how best to service them, based on their needs and behaviours.

Let’s say, for instance, I contact my bank’s call centre because of problems with a wire transfer. If the call centre agent has visibility to see that during my last five visits to the site, I looked at home equity lines of credit, they would have a huge opportunity to offer me promotions to get me to complete the sale.

It’s these types of interactions that help create a profit centre that will drive revenue growth.

Businesses need to look at putting in place a contact centre for customers that can bridge the gap between online and offline channels, allowing them to effectively service the omni-channel customer experience.

This will give them complete context of their customers’ web experiences, with the ability to review session history reports to gain further insight into everything they previously browsed on the website.

This is key to enabling call centre agents to better service the customer and potentially upsell them. An integrated contact centre would also enable businesses to replay customer sessions to see exactly what the customer was doing and what they saw online.

If there is an obstacle or issue, the agent would then be able to validate what the customer experienced and work towards a resolution.

The next-generation call centre is vital for resolving customer struggles and generating new revenue. Ultimately, call centres provide a real opportunity to offer extraordinary omni-channel customer service that brings customers back again and again.