Think about your expectations as a customer when you interact with a contact center compared to 10 years ago. A decade ago, a phone call was the only option. You expected to be on hold for 20 minutes. You expected to be forced to navigate a complex maze of automated voice responses. You expected to be passed along from person to person and repeat your problem over and over. An actual solution to your problem was more of a hope than an expectation. You weren’t exactly happy with any of these scenarios, but they were the necessary evils of dealing with a call center.
Today, you expect to be able to interact with a contact center via phone, email, instant message, text, social media, video chat or mobile apps. You expect an immediate response from a contact center, regardless of the communication channel you choose. You expect to be immediately connected with the right person or information. You expect a solution to be provided during the first interaction. If the contact center fails to meet these expectations, you won’t hesitate to take your business elsewhere.
Research from Dimension Data supports the notion that customer expectations have changed and contact center interactions have moved beyond the phone, creating a more complex contact center environment. The study’s authors wrote, “Customers want a frictionless, easy and immediate journey on channels of their choice. They want a connected omnichannel journey across channels.” According to the study, 35 percent of contact center interactions are digital, and 87 percent of respondents see a significant rise in non-voice interactions. However, 40 percent say their technology is inadequate for their current needs, and 80 percent say it is inadequate for their future needs.
A new Consero Group study found that the No. 1 goal of contact center managers is to improve the customer experience, but only one in three believe they have the resources to deliver a better customer experience. Nearly half point to their technology infrastructure as the biggest obstacle, with 78 percent of these respondents saying that their contact center tools are insufficient. Furthermore, 43 percent of all respondents claim the number of contact centers in their organization has increased, just four in 10 are satisfied with agent training, and 22 percent feel they are limited by budgetary restrictions.
Many of these challenges exist to a certain extent because executives view contact centers as cost centers. Because they don’t see the potential to boost sales and loyalty by enhancing the customer experience and gathering valuable data, they don’t make the investments needed to improve contact center operations. Instead, they offshore contact centers to reduce costs, despite ongoing criticism about the quality of overseas services.
In the next post, we’ll discuss why organizations need to take a different approach to contact center technology and management, and how a new approach can transform the contact center from a cost center to a profit center.