Forrester’s latest research paper opens with a fairly stark warning: ‘contact centers must go digital or die.’ The paper explains that, for the first time ever, web-based support is now more valued by consumers than phoning customer services.
Although this is something that you may have already gathered anecdotally from your own experiences, the accompanying stats are compelling. Even though 73% of respondents said that they used the phone to contact customer services in 2014, this figure has remained stagnant since 2012. During the same period, the percentage of people using web self-service has increased from 67% to 76%.
The implications of this are far reaching and shouldn’t be ignored. The perception of what it means to engage with contact centers by phone is unilaterally shifting towards deeper levels of service. With 77% of US adults saying that feeling like a company values their time is the best indicator of excellent customer service. It makes sense that an increasing number of consumers are using web self-service to address more basic questions.
The main issue is that investment in digital technology is lagging behind consumer demand. With 55% of US adults likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question, it’s clear that contact center channels need to align with the shifting trends in online behaviors.
One of the clearest gaps between customer expectation and contact center capability lies with omni-channel adoption. Customers expect relevant and seamless omni-channel service. They expect contact center agents to understand the journey that they have taken online to get resolution. They expect to be offered a level of assistance appropriate to their needs. They expect their issues to be dealt with quickly and comprehensively.
With only 30% of contact center decision makers training all of their agents to support multiple channels, the level of care expected by consumers is not being met. Evidently, there needs to be a sea change in how contact centers operate.
Establishing an omni-channel approach is more important than ever. It’s important that agents are empowered to understand the customer’s needs and intentions. It’s important that an acceptable degree of customer service is reached in order to prevent cart abandonment. It’s important that the right customers are fed the right cues at the right time to help control the flow of visitors from websites to contact centers.
Now Interact’s software combines Predictive Intelligence with real-time visitor segmentation, helping to intelligently manage omni-channel enquiries. Consumer demand for omni-channel contact centers is increasing: intelligent digital evolution is essential.