Multichannel Contact Center: What is it, Features & Top Providers

Explore what a multichannel contact center is, why you should set one up, the best providers in 2024, and best practices for setting up your solution.
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For more than a decade, contact centers have been integral in helping organizations and key stakeholders address customer needs and influence their perception of the company’s brand, products, or services. 

Undeniably, its role in delighting customers is growing, and at the same time, today’s contact centers have to adapt to changing customer behavior. 

Findings from a McKinsey case study show that more than half of B2C customers engage with five to six digital channels before they make a purchase decision or resolve a request. This means contact centers must use multiple digital channels to engage with customers. 

That’s where a multichannel customer care strategy allows companies to integrate multiple channels within the agent desktop, enabling contact center agents to handle multi-channel customer interactions. This saves them the gruntwork of spending unnecessary time logging into different systems to manage multiple channels separately. 

Throughout this article, we discuss the top providers of multichannel contact centers, their key features and cons, and help you decide which is best for your business needs. 

What is a Multichannel Contact Center? 

A multichannel contact center is a cloud-based customer service solution integrating different communication channels into one platform. It helps businesses and customer support teams assist customers through channels where the audience resides, including SMS, voice, email, and social media. 

Your customer service agents must be available on multiple channels to fulfill this demand and ensure quick, easy, and seamless customer service. 

What are the Key Features of a Multichannel Contact Center?

A multichannel dashboard

The dashboard is where your agents access the different communication channels, voicemails, call logs, and reports. The channels are usually located on the left-side menu. New activity triggers a notification that agents can click to go to the relevant channel, whether it’s voice, SMS, WhatsApp, or email.

During active calls, the dashboard displays customer interaction history, contact details, order history, and options to change channels.

Advanced dashboards also include AI tools that provide canned responses and educational resources from the company knowledge base to assist customer support agents.

Call queueing

Call queuing puts all the inbound calls into a virtual queue and creates a waiting list for your customer support agents. This allows for:

  • More organized call management
  • The prevention of agent burnout
  • Insight into important customer service metrics like the average wait time

Agents can view who’s in the queue, how long they’ve been waiting, and the expected wait time before responding to a caller.

Advanced multichannel call center software has an automated callback feature that notifies callers when an agent can answer their queries.

Routing and IVR

Multichannel contact centers have built-in routing and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus. Automatic call distribution (ACD) automatically directs customers to the best-suited agents across different channels, depending on the issue. 

IVR lets customers self-resolve basic issues when call agents are unavailable or direct themselves to a queue, announcement, or agent based on their speech or dial tone.

Integrations with third-party apps

Multichannel contact centers integrate with CRM tools (like Zoho and Salesforce), team communication systems (like Slack), and information databases (like AirTable) for real-time flow of information between the contact center software and the other business systems your organization uses. 

Auto-dialer 

An auto-dialer automatically calls leads and analyzes their responses.nIf it detects a human, the call is transferred to an available agent. If it detects voicemail, a pre-recorded message is left for the lead to follow up on.

Why Set up a Multichannel Contact Center? 

Get advanced contact center insights

Multichannel contact centers offer analytics and reports that help you monitor:

  • Queue activity 
  • Customer behavior
  • Team productivity 
  • Call volumes
  • Customer satisfaction levels

This information helps you understand how well your business is performing, which channels are more popular, and what problems are common among your customers. 

Improves customer service experience 

Salesforce reports that 90% of buyers believe a business's experience is as important as its products or services. Customer service is an important aspect of this experience.

With multiple communication channels, customers can choose the channel they prefer to contact your business, making customer service convenient and personalized. 

Improve agent morale and performance

Multichannel contact center software not only improves customer service but also simplifies the job of your customer support agents. 

A centralized dashboard summarizes all communication channels and customer profiles, enabling agents to respond to clients without monitoring multiple platforms or digging around for important information. Auto dialers and IVR menus are multichannel contact center features that reduce your team’s workload. 

The Top Multichannel Providers In 2024

1. Plivo CX

With Plivo CX’s multichannel customer service contact center, multichannel success is no longer overwhelming or an unachievable aspiration. 

If you’re an eCommerce brand on Shopify, Plivo CX lets you focus on multichannel journeys and provide personalized attention by unifying chatbots, live chat, SMS, and WhatsApp into one conversation. 

To enable businesses to deliver a cohesive customer experience at every touchpoint, Plivo CX has native voice capabilities, which means you don’t need to engage with third-party vendors for in-call features. 

As the best multichannel contact center provider, the additional capabilities of web and in-app chat embedded directly into your website or mobile application let customers interact with you directly while they shop and post-purchase. 

Key Features

  • Inbound and outbound calling is complemented with data-driven routing (which directs callers to the most appropriate agent based on their information) and a programmable IVR for shorter wait times
  • You also get toll-free numbers in 50+ countries and call recordings for training and quality assurance purposes
  • SMS support that allows you to send messages while on call with a caller. You also get drag-and-drop workflows for proactive updates to reduce inbound support
  • Offer WhatsApp support with automated responses to common questions and data-enhanced bot conversations
  • AI-powered chatbots are capable of sending and receiving documents and photos for faster issue resolution
  • Native integrations with nine popular third-party apps, including Shopify, Zendesk, Zoho, HubSpot, and Salesforce
  • A drag-and-drop interface helps you build automated customer journey workflows

Limitations

  • Lacks features related to quality assurance and workforce management

Pricing

  • Growth: $19/user/month with 2000 chat sessions per agent and unlimited SMS
  • Business: $39/user/month with 3000 chat sessions per agent and unlimited SMS
  • Enterprise: 4000 chat sessions per agent and unlimited SMS. You’ll have to request a quote for pricing

Channels supported 

Voice, SMS, WhatsApp, and live chat

Plivo CX ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.5/5 (700+ reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.3/5 (80+ reviews) 

2. Gladly

If you’re looking to ditch tickets and transition your support reps into revenue drivers and growth champions, Gladly is your AI customer service platform for multichannel support.

Combine the strengths of your contact center agents and AI-powered personalized self-service to free your agents from redundant tasks and focus on creating loyal customers. 

Ecommerce and B2C businesses with an omnichannel shopping experience use Gladly to consolidate multiple contacts from individual customers and increase the response time. 

Key Features

  • A unified dashboard shows every customer conversation in a single place regardless of the channel, offering agents a complete history of customer interaction
  • AI features help you reply to messages, summarize conversations, and generate marketing copy
  • Gladly Sidekick offers a personalized self-service experience across multiple digital channels

Limitations (G2)

  • Overwhelming user interface 
  • No dark mode or color-blind support
  • For a small business with limited, implementing Gladly can be a cost-deterrent 

Pricing

  • Hero: $180/agent/month with multi-channel communication, unified customer view, a centralized knowledge base, and more
  • Superhero: $210/agent/month with customer reporting, 99.9% uptime, and premium support

Gladly CX ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.7/5 (895 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.8/5 (123 reviews)

Channels supported: Voice, email, SMS, social media, live chat

3. Kustomer

If you’re in an industry like insurance that needs a unified communication system for cross-functional teams to collaborate and have visibility into the various customer interactions that different teams manage, Kustomer is an enterprise-level multichannel contact center solution for you.

With native integrations, teams get a real-time data stream which the business intelligence team uses to build their reporting. Whether through phone, SMS, email, or chat, you shouldn’t leave knowledge gaps with customer communication and Kustomer helps you do that with AI-powered customer service CRM. 

Key Features

  • A timeline view displays each customer interaction in chronological order
  • An easy-to-navigate, searchable, and SEO-friendly help center that you add to your app or website to reduce the burden on your agents
  • KIQ Customer Assist is an AI tool that responds to customer queries in a conversational tone using only information from your knowledge base

Limitation (G2)

  • Integrated tools like Shopify load slowly inside Kustomer
  • Customer satisfaction surveys are sometimes missing and have to be searched for
  • Frequent downtime

Pricing

  • Enterprise: $89/user/month with multi-channel communication, voice provider integration, proactive service, and more
  • Ultimate: $139/user/month with real-time user supervision, enhanced routing, real-time dashboards, and more

Channels supported: Chat, social media, email, voice, and SMS

Kustomer ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.4/5 (411 reviews) 
  • Capterra: 4.6/5 (56 reviews)

4. Gorgias 

Gorgias is an AI-powered customer service platform for Shopify merchants—helping them become an omni-available brand. Automation allows you to provide responsive service on every channel, 24/7, for every question, without hiring extra agents. 

The suite of features, such as Helpdesk, autoresponders, and article recommendations from your help center, saves your team hours each week and offers a great experience for your customers. Your agents will spend less time answering questions, and with the article recommendations, your customers will save time following up. 

Key Features

  • AI ticket management prioritizes, assigns, and tags every incoming ticket automatically
  • Customer context, such as previous orders, subscription details, and reviews
  • Canned responses for FAQs give your agents a headstart and standardize answers

Limitations (G2)

  • Limited reporting features
  • A steep learning curve
  • Automation can be expensive 

Pricing

  • Basic: $50/month with 300 monthly tickets
  • Pro: $300/month with 2000 monthly tickets
  • Advanced: $750/month with 5000 monthly tickets

Channels supported: Email, chatbot, social media, voice, SMS, and WhatsApp

Gorgias ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.6/5 (507 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (111 reviews)

5. Help Scout

Think of Help Scout as your unified platform for every customer, vendor, and partner conversation. Built for financial services, SaaS, and ecommerce platforms, Help Scout offers personalized agent support and self-service options for customers to find answers to their questions quickly and easily. 

Use AI to summarize conversations and improve your replies, automation to build customizable workflows, access customer data and their activity at a glance, and integrate with business sources to make your contact center agents’ life easier. 

Key Features

  • A shared inbox where your team members collaborate and interact with customers across multiple channels 
  • Collaboration features like assignments, private notes, and real-time collision detection ensure only one team member interacts with a customer
  • A no-code help center with customizable colors and access control

Limitations

  • Lacks support for SMS or voice (Website)
  • Buggy workflow automation that doesn’t always work (TrustRadius)
  • You can’t ask customers whether your knowledge base articles were helpful (TrustRadius)

Pricing

  • Standard: $20/user/month with 2 shared inboxes and 1 knowledge base
  • Plus: $40/user/month with 5 shared inboxes and 2 knowledge bases
  • Pro: $65/user/month with 25 shared inboxes and 10 knowledge bases

Supported channels: Chat, live chat, email, and social media 

Help Scout ratings and reviews

  • G2: 4.4 / 5 (403 reviews)
  • Capterra: 4.7/5 (207 reviews)

Your Multichannel Contact Center Search Ends with Contacto

If you’re a small business or an ecommerce store looking to address customer needs and interactions over multiple channels and platforms, Plivo CX is your solution of choice. 

You get an easy-to-use agent for Windows and Mac, a drag-and-drop setup, toll-free numbers in 50+ countries, and SMS and WhatsApp support. Book a demo today!

Once you start using Plivo CX, focus on the popular channels among your customers to avoid getting overwhelmed.

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