Contact centres must integrate digital channels as part of an omnichannel strategy, or they will become extinct. Customers under 40 want to use social channels and chat apps for service and will only use the phone if they absolutely have to. Generation X isn't far behind on the digital shift.
Customers are in the driving seat. Contact centres must adapt, have a deep-rooted strategic rethink of their customer engagement models, go digital and offer personalised service at scale. This is no longer a choice, but an imperative.
Digital volumes are on the rise. According to Dimension Data, phone volumes have dropped by 17% since 2015, but traffic increases were recorded across almost every digital channel. Today, digital volumes account for over 42% of all interactions.
- Over the next two years, 70% of organisations predict they’ll see a rise in CX via social media
- 81% view service as a competitive differentiator, with 71% recognising CX as the most important strategic performance measure
- Virtual assistants (chat bots) voted the top channel growth focus for 2017
But as the demand for digital customer service grows business are struggling to integrate multiple channels.
- Two in five contact centres say their digital channel systems don’t meet current needs.
- Less than half believe their digital infrastructure will deliver against future needs.
- 1 in 3 organizations (33%) say they can’t track customer journeys at all.
- 36% don’t have a manager appointed who is responsible for all customer experiences
How to manage the digital shift
Break down silos - appoint a customer care champion/manager who can work across channels and across the business to remove silos and prioritise the customer experience. This will ensure clear leadership on goal setting and prioritisation and help secure the resources and senior buy-in needed to develop and integrate digital contact channels
Understand your customer contact behaviour – use reporting and analytics to get insight into what your customers are contacting you about and why. Ensure data is centralised to enable you build a ‘single source of truth’. Social channels can provide real-time feedback and help you identify future trends. Use a social customer service tool with built-in analytics to make it easy to stay ahead of the curve.
Future proof your technology infrastructure – ensure you can engage and respond across your contact channels. Use best in class solutions which can integrate with your CRM to provide a full picture and make it quick and easy for agents to respond. Consider social messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger which can sit alongside existing social media channels and support efficient, personalised one-on-one customer service conversations.
There is considerable work still to do for contact centres to adapt engagement models to meet the demands of, and keep pace with, a burgeoning digital customer base.
Meanwhile, check out our epic guide 'The Social Customer Service playbook for Contact Centres' for some practical advice on setting up the right social engagement infrastructure in the contact centre and training support teams.