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This content is part of the Essential Guide: The contact center of the future is here
Definition

multichannel contact center

Contributor(s): Paul Lang

A multichannel contact center is a call center that allows agents to interact with customers over several communication channels, but each channel operates in isolation. Multichannel, which includes voice, email, web page forms, fax, chat and text message interactions, is a forerunner of the omnichannel approach to customer experience management (CXM).

In the early days of the internet, voice and non-voice communication systems were administered separately and hosted on separate platforms. The challenge at this time was for call centers to integrate voice with non-voice channels, while still maximizing the call center's investment in voice-based solutions, including expensive interactive voice response (IRV) systems. Because there was limited integration on the back-end, customers who moved from one channel to another had to share the same information multiple times.

Today, multichannel platforms have largely been superseded by omnichannel platforms that can integrate customer information from disparate channels into a centralized queue and provide customers with a seamless customer experience on any channel, at any time, from a variety of devices. This back-end convergence of voice with internet-enabled technologies has improved customer self-service and reduced the need for customers who switch channels to request help from a live agent.

This was last updated in August 2018

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