Contact Center Survey Reveals How Leaders are Preparing for a Digital Future – 2018 Report

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The results are in: Sparkcentral’s latest contact center survey data is now available as a free report

Driving customer-centric service in the contact center environment is becoming easier with the sophisticated technology and plethora of digital channels available today. Yet despite the rapid pace with which consumers worldwide have adopted messaging and online channels to communicate with each other, the digital transformation within contact centers has been a much slower process.

In late 2017, we surveyed over 200 contact center leaders operating around the globe and representing several consumer-focused industries to capture the current state of contact centers as well as their priorities for the next year. Our new report, entitled, “The State of Digital Customer Service in 2018” reveals what processes contact center leaders are putting in place to mature their customer service operations and the role that digital messaging plays in this transformation.

Our report identified three key areas of change survey respondents are implementing in order to meet and exceed customer expectations in a true omnichannel environment.

Contact center leaders expressed wanting to reach customers via their preferred channels. Our report identified three key areas of change survey respondents are implementing in order to meet and exceed customer expectations in a true omnichannel environment that includes those channels:

1. Redefining the metrics they are using to evaluate and measure customer experience

2. Implementing AI, RPA, and bots to drive operational efficiency – in fact, 46.2% are considering building and/or integrating a bot/AI software this year!

3. Taking steps to collect and connect customer data across systems to deliver more personal experiences

Leaders are taking an innovative approach to tackling the challenges associated with providing a consistent experience across channels.

They are redefining metrics to best reflect the customer experience and more accurately measure agent performance. Customer effort scores now sit alongside customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores. Our report reveals new data around which metrics are taking the forefront in omnichannel evaluation. Additionally, leaders shared their experiences implementing customer journey mapping and retiring metrics that do not provide the same value on asynchronous messaging channels as they do on live channels like phone or chat.

Survey respondents are redefining which metrics they rely on to evaluate their omnichannel customer experience – response times and resolution rates aren’t enough anymore!

Contact center leaders also shared their goals of driving agent efficiency through digital innovations. Artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and chatbots are some of the ways managers are improving the agent experience. As such, it comes as no surprise that nearly half of our survey respondents said they are already in the process of implementing these types of technology in their contact center this year. By leveraging technology to aid and assist agents, leaders have a goal of improving employee experience and therefore customer satisfaction. Happy agents lead to happy customers, as they say!

46.2% of contact center leaders are considering building and/or integrating a bot/AI software this year!

Furthermore, survey respondents shared that they are increasingly interested in connecting customer data sources to paint a complete picture. Only 14% of surveyed leaders report being satisfied with their ability to verify and connect customers across channels. It should come as no surprise, then, that 4 in 10 contact center leaders are in the process of planning integrating their digital service software with their CRM system. By doing so, they hope to better understand the customer experience and increase personalization in interactions.

Only 14% of surveyed leaders report being satisfied with their ability to verify and connect customers across channels.

In addition to new data around how contact center leaders are implementing these change through the themes of metrics, AI/bots, and integrations, our report includes information on how digital messaging has been thrust into the forefront of omnichannel success. Digital messaging provides a natural evolution towards enhancing personalization in agent-customer interactions. By enabling agents to interact with customers through the same personal touchpoints that their friends and family engage them with, contact centers will become more efficient, lower operational costs and ultimately, drive customer brand loyalty and sales.

Contact center leaders are taking action to advance their operations by leaps and bounds in 2018

Survey respondents shared examples of how they are taking action to improve personalization and reduce costs in their contact center. These examples are included as verbatim quotes along with the survey results. Download our new report, “The State of Digital Customer Service in 2018” to learn best practices for measuring digital channel performance and leveraging customer data captured from text-based interactions.

Sparkcentral proudly supports customer-centric brands like Netflix, Uber, Zappos, Delta Air Lines, and Western Union in their ongoing initiatives to deliver the most convenient, personal customer service experiences possible within Messenger, WeChat, SMS, their brand apps, as well as social media.

Image: Sparkcentral

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