Contact Centers Must Go Digital Or Die

Customers are impatient with poor service. They want an accurate, relevant, and complete answer to their question upon first contact so they can get back to what they were doing before the issue arose. Forrester data shows that 55% of US online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.77% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.

It's no surprise that our recent survey data shows that customers of all ages are increasingly using self-service channels (web, mobile, IVR)  for a first point of contact for customer service. In fact, for the first time in the history of our survey, respondents reported using the FAQ pages on a company's website more often than speaking with an agent over the phone. Self-service gives you that "pain-free" or effortless experience that consumers want. Customers escalate the harder questions to a live agent - whether its chat, email or a phone agent - and these calls become opportunities to help build stronger relationships with your customers to garner their long-term loyalty.

But contact centers are not delivering to expectations. We find that:

  • Nearly two-thirds of contact centers don't manage inquiries in a standard way. Customers expect consistent service over the touchpoint or channel of their choice. They also expect to start an interaction on one channel and continue it on another without having to restart the conversation. However, 36% of contact centers have implemented multichannel integration to provide consistent experiences.
  • Half of contact centers don't use knowledge management. Customers are increasingly using knowledge to self-serve. However, most companies only have basic FAQs on their site, and less than half of contact center decision-makers report using agent-facing knowledge management solution.
  • Companies don't train contact center agents to manage omnichannel inquiries. Contact centers must shift agent resources in real time between communication channels to optimally align with incoming contact volume. However, we find that less than a third of  contact center decision-makers train all of their agents to support multiple channels.
  • Contact centers don't take care of the basics to deliver quality care.  They don't effectively monitor the quality of care delivered or use these insights to recommend targeted coaching to address performance gaps. Just over a third use CTI to display a customer's information on an agent's screen; only half use quality monitoring tools to monitor the success of agent interactions.

Contact center managers need to understand their customer channel preferences, and deploy the channels that customers want to use. They must  increasingly ensure that customers can self-serve. They must also understand common customer journeys and support customers as they cross engagement channels so that customers don't have to restart conversations. If contact centers don't modernize operations, customers will get increasingly disillusioned with the quality of service delivered, and these companies will suffer revenue losses from customers churning. 

Comments

Contact Centers won't die, but must refocus on service

I agree with all that is said, but not the title. Precisely because routine inquiries will move to self-service channels, the hard and important inquiries will remain to be handled in the contact center, and that won't change for the foreseeable future.

Trafik Alarm

I have a conto in Trafik Alarm, and I have a iPhone 4. The program has disapered from the phone. I have paid untill march 2016. Can you help me?

kind regards Villads Sørensen

It's not as much about info

When it comes to agents providing proper care treatments to their clients, it's important to keep in mind that the agent needs to have the right tools to end an escalation. You can have all the knowledge and data bases right there to explain what is happening, why and how to fix it but companies that provide services such as in the telecom industry often don't have the best in retention for clients available to front line agents (creates transfers and affects metrics like FCR). The culture has evolved that if we get angry enough about a situation someone higher up will take care of it. This however results in poor satisfaction for the client as the representatives essentially have their hands metaphorically tied in a very rigid corporate climate with lots of hoops to jump through. I work as Customer Service Care Representative and as a Retention Agent. It's beginning to have less to do with a care rep's ability to find information but more so with greed of the client and the company. More efforts need to be made on providing care reps with proper tools so that these queries aren't sent to another agent further wasting client time and patience.