Masterclass fourteen – Key considerations when choosing an omnichannel vendor

Welcome to lesson fourteen of our omnichannel masterclass. So, we’ve convinced you that omnichannel is the only way to go. What else do you need to look out for when considering an omnichannel provider?

What is their experience level and diversity of clients?

Is the vendor experienced at handling a company of my size? Do they have similar clients, who would have had similar challenges they helped with, to overcome?

Are they ready for the future?

One of the reasons for using an omnichannel provider as opposed to developing in-house is so that your business has outsourced the research and anticipation that is required to remain relevant. Your provider should have its finger on the pulse and know what is coming next in the world of tech communication and offer a single integration process so that when the next channel is adopted (which, as we discussed, will be, quickly), there is no lag time between common adoption and the business’ capability to offer the channel.

Are they built on scalable web technology?

When it comes to the future of your business, there’s no telling what will happen. As is commonly the case, the purpose and needs of the business from inception to present day will undoubtedly vary for the majority of businesses. Considering this, your omnichannel provider will need to be able to scale to continue to be a good fit for the future. The last thing you want to discover is that you have reached the ceiling on your integrations capability and it can no longer handle your required volumes.

Does your omnichannel provider have bot capability?

One thing to certainly start thinking about for the future now is the increasing importance of bots. Especially since Gartner reported that in 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. Needless to say this reflects how commonplace they will be, and while they seem like the stuff of science fiction, they are already a reality for many companies and will quickly become as much as a baseline as broadband for businesses. Does your preferred API vendor integrate with any bot platform? Can your bot handle inbound and outbound communication across multiple channels? Do your APIs enable conversations to be easily passed from bots to agents?

Do they have global reach?

We’ve discussed the intricacies of some channels, such as SMS, which can be complicated to navigate with regional restrictions and disparate operations causing several layers of intricacy in order to implement in certain countries. Your omnichannel should not only be knowledgeable in these intricacies, but also experienced at handling them and able to facilitate reach in any country that you require. Even if global reach isn’t something you presently require, there is no telling what you will need to survive in the future.

Are they customizable?

To offer a truly on-brand and seamless experience, you’ll need a provider with a sleek user interface and the ability to customise features such as web chat to fit your brand. With 87% of consumers of the opinion that brands need to put more effort into providing a more consistent experience (Kampyle), perception is everything for your customers. This is more important than you think when presenting the face of your company. You will want to be seen as a modern, versatile business, not one stuck in the past.

What data and reporting do they offer?

We’ve discussed how re-targeting from your omnichannel solution can be the key to offering more optimised interactions and campaigns. To get there, you need dependable reporting that you can gain real insights from, and ideally, this should be built into the solution that your provider offers. It should also offer as much information as possible to your agents in a centralised customer profile, to empower their interactions making them more effective for your business and relevant to the consumer.

What about data security and compliance?

Your provider should at the very least be cloud-based, and the best will have multi-cloud architecture to guarantee the resilience of your data. It’s also important that should you receive a subject access request or the right to be forgotten, you know exactly where all of your data and the data of your customers are held, and how to delete the data, and know it really is gone! You should look out for vital security tickets such as ISO27001, and question on them on their knowledge of regional data compliance to make sure they have a knowledge base that meets your requirements. Finally, should anything go wrong, you should know that you can reach them day or night, 365 days a year.