What are Channels?

In the contact center world, channels refer to the method or communication channel a customer uses to interact with a business. Inbound phone calls were once the predominant channel, but the digital age has fundamentally changed the way consumers and organizations communicate. Now, customers expect a variety of support channels to choose from, including chat, email, text message (SMS), video, and more. Consumers can also self-serve, for example, through a company's website or app. Phone interactions are still prevalent, but digital channels are catching up.

Entities that support multiple channels are called contact centers (as opposed to call centers, which only handle voice interactions). Agents in contact centers may specialize in one channel or may be multichannel, meaning they are able to take contacts in more than one channel. Multichannel agents give contact centers more flexibility, as they can be deployed according to fluctuating channel volumes.

Offering multiple channels is a good first step towards meeting customers how and when they want to be met. But too often multiple channels are implemented in silos, meaning that one channel doesn't have access to information about what happened in a different channel. For example, a customer may call after already emailing a company and the phone agent may not have any visibility into the email. This makes for a bad customer experience. A concept called omnichannel solves this by allowing customers and agents to move seamlessly across channels.

How NICE is Redefining Customer Experience

NICE CXone is the industry’s only interaction-centric platform where channels, data, applications, and knowledge converge to improve customer experience at scale.

It is the leading, most complete and unified CX Platform on the market, used by thousands of organizations of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help you holistically run your call (or contact) center operations.

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