As companies continue to adopt state-of-the-art technologies and techniques in their contact center operations, this has provided terrific opportunities for organizations to make improvements to the customer support experience. But, generally speaking, reality hasn't quite met this promise. Some areas where organizations continue to underachieve with multichannel customer support include providing agents the ability to obtain a single view of the customer. Meanwhile, despite the level of investment that companies are making in extending self-service capabilities to customers, there continues to be a general lack of understanding as to how and whether customers are making use of these tools, according to Dimension Data's 2013/2014 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report.These and other challenges may help explain why customer satisfaction scores and first contact resolution (FCR) rates have continued to drop, respectively, for four consecutive years, according to the 238-page report, which is based on a global survey of 817 companies across 79 countries and 11 industries.
On a global scale, customer satisfaction scores have dropped from an average of 82.1 percent in 2011 to 77.6 percent for 2013/2014. Meanwhile, FCR has continued its freefall from 85.2 percent in 2009 to 73.1 percent for 2013/2014, due largely to incomplete processes, lack of adviser knowledge, and system constraints and siloed information, according to the report.
"The last couple of years I've been almost gobsmacked by the findings," says Andrew McNair, head of global benchmarking at Dimension Data. McNair believes that the "sheer complexity" of omnichannel customer support, including the onus that's being placed on contact center agents to handle multichannel and cross-channel interactions with customers fluidly, is "throwing more and more dynamics into the mix."
As it stands, more than three-quarters (76.9 percent) of all customer interactions continue to be telephone-related (phone, IVR, and speech self-service). Meanwhile, emerging channels such as web chat, social, and smartphone support represent less than 3 percent of the total volume of customer interactions. Even though omnichannel is the way forward as Millenials and other customers increasingly demand support in digital channels, contact center leaders clearly have to do a better job of managing live voice interactions. This includes monitoring agent performance and providing coaching as needed, improving support processes, and making it easier for agents to access the information they need to support customers quickly and effectively.
What do you see as the biggest sticking points faced by contact centers today? The lack of a unified view of each customer? The difficulty among agents to follow customer behavior across channels? The obstacles faced by agents in having to use multiple screens and logins to access customer and channel information? Other factors? We'd like to know.