With consumers embracing new points of contact such as social media and smartphone apps, and cloud and mobile technologies allowing for a seamless omni-channel experience, the call centres of the past must give way to the “contact centres” of today – yet companies aren’t keeping up, according to a new report released today by Johannesburg, South Africa-based global IT services provider Dimension Data Holdings plc.
Instead, the company’s 19th annual global contact centre benchmarking report found that while the businesses surveyed paid more than adequate enough attention to their telephone and e-mail capabilities, with 89.4 per cent of global participants measuring the quality of their phone interactions, they severely lagged behind in every other channel, such as social media and web chat.
Moreover, few respondents involved their contact centres in planning new channels, assuming they took a multi-channel approach to customer service to begin with – only 36.4 per cent could track customers across multiple channels, 79.4 per cent admitted to having no “big picture” view of cross-channel interaction, and 30.4 per cent couldn’t track the customer journey at all.
“While new technology may be digital and automated… it still needs people — that all-important ‘human touch’ — to design, program, review, and amend,” the report said. “This is the failure point for solution approvals, process reviews, and performance management.”
The solution, Dimension emphasized in its summary of the report, is twofold: when applying new technology to their customer service efforts, companies must focus on the customer experience (abbreviated in the report as CX), which frequently crosses channels whether they like it or not (below), and solicit more input from their contact centres along the way.
“Management disciplines perfected on (the) phone now need to be applied to digital,” the report said, noting that CX can be used both as a key measure of effectiveness and a way for businesses to differentiate their services from the competition.
To conduct the survey, Dimension collected data from 1320 organizations across 14 industries in 81 countries, including Canada.
In fairness to us, the survey’s Canadian respondents came off as acutely aware of their own shortcomings, with 2 in 5 saying their digital tech was not meeting current business needs, 81 per cent recognizing CX as the most important strategic performance measure, and 68.8 per cent planning to incorporate cloud technology into their contact centres.
That written, 75 per cent had no “big picture” view of cross-channel interaction.
Dimension Data released a handy infographic summarizing its key findings, which you can read below, or you can check out the report’s executive summary by clicking here.