By Claire West

At a glance:

•Survey indicates that whilst many businesses have accelerated implementation of new communication channels, none are being integrated well.

•Whilst 81 per cent of consumers have interacted across multiple channels in the past year, the majority — 60 per cent — see better cross channel integration as the most important area for improvement.

•It is not enough for businesses to simply provide multiple contact options: customers need to be able to move across those channels without losing the context of conversation.

•Such conversations are achieved by combining eServices, the intelligent Customer Front Door (iCFD) and Genesys Virtual Hold within any existing call centre infrastructure. Organisations can proactively engage customers, personalise the response, and synchronise brand, offers and interactions across voice, web and mobile channels.

The research was carried out by Alcatel-Lucent's Genesys in partnership with leading industry analysts Ovum and highlights that the current challenge facing customer service organisations is to enable consumers to move across multiple channels mid-interaction, whilst not losing the context of their conversation. Customers felt that this was the main area for improvement, so now businesses need to move from using a series of siloed, independent channels to using multiple, integrated ones.

Spokesperson Lucille Jackson, Senior Marketing Manager, Enterprise Market Group, Alcatel Lucent Northern Europe says:

"At a time when the use of new communication channels is steadily on the rise, businesses must find a way to integrate the management and execution of cross-channel conversations; in the context of customer service, efficiency is vital. To make the consumer experience as pleasant as possible, businesses need to unify service levels in all channels to ensure all interactions are dealt with effectively — and then they must provide sufficient opportunity to jump across channels or elevate the conversation without losing any element of what's already happened."

"Whilst many businesses have implemented new channels such as e-mail, SMS and web chat, very few have tied them together into a complete system of customer care. In order to optimise customer service operations, businesses need to centralise all aspects of customer care, which is why we continue to develop and deliver Cross Channel Conversations as part of a Dynamic Customer Engagement strategy."

Businesses need to be continually aware of the changing nature of customer service, and to engage with consumers across whichever channels they find most convenient. Cross Channel Conversations optimise business outcomes, drive sales, and cut costs by engaging with customers through a range of live, self-service and proactive channels. iCFD is an integrated customer service solution which creates a more personalised customer experience. Through building a customer profile and history, iCFD creates a successful and unique customer experience, without losing the context of a conversation mid-interaction.

For more information, go to www.genesyslab.com or please contact: