Digital channels continue to experience dramatic growth, as consumers opt to communicate with brands via email, chat, social media, and self-service in their search for support. In fact, digital contact channels are poised to overtake voice-based communications within the next two years due to increasing demand. But, as companies move to adopt the latest innovations and technologies, many lose sight of the primary strategies necessary to ensure successful implementation and execution.
Dimension Data's recent "2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report" examines the impact of this transition to digital and its overarching effect on the average contact center's underlying DNA. The study, which surveyed 901 participants from 12 industries and 72 countries, highlights how modern consumer behaviors alter engagement patterns and influence strategy, while also emphasizing the dangers facing contact centers that fail to evolve alongside their customers.
The following statistics explore the current state of contact center operations, the emerging challenges facing the customer service space, and the business impact of technology adoption:
- While 75 percent of participants view customer service within the contact center as an important competitive differentiator, the remainder still harbors the "cost center" mentality.
- Overall, 74 percent of those polled predict an uplift in interactions across channels over the next five years, while 42 percent believe voice traffic will ultimately decrease.
- Fifty-three percent of respondents highlight analytics as doing the most to reshape the industry over the next five years, yet 40 percent of contact centers lack data analysis tools.
- Only 24 percent of contact centers enjoy full collaboration on process design in their enterprise. Fifty-two percent don't share consumer data outside the contact center.
- While four of every 10 contact centers have social media capabilities, only 28 percent of those polled have recruited a dedicated team of responders, with 19 percent listening to sentiment.
- Though 37 percent of agent attrition occurs within their initial six months of service, 15 percent churn during training as roles continue to become increasingly complex.
- With IT teams repeatedly failing to meet current needs, 79 percent of participants fear systems won't meet future needs, leading 34 percent to pursue and implement cloud-based solutions.
Key takeaway: Contact centers are eager to adopt cloud technologies to satisfy increasing digital demand, as these tools have reduced costs for 89 percent of current users, with 86 percent attributing savings to the ability to pay for only what they use. Ninety-one percent value improved flexibility, while 84 percent agree that the cloud increases agility and speed-to-market. However, cloud technologies cannot mask lack of strategy. Contact centers must first establish the service strategy behind this transition, for companies must understand how they will leverage these tools to the fullest extent prior to implementation. Ideally, organizations will build and operate new technology-enabled environments, while also employing and retaining an engaged, motivated workforce with multi-channel skills. Processes and people must function as one if the entire contact center hopes to enhance service offerings and remain relevant.