New Zealand organisations that don’t embrace digital customer engagement channels into their engagement strategies within the next two years, are likely to see their customers jump ship to competitors that do.
According to Dimension Data, that includes Web chat, social media, SMS, smart phones and mobile applications, and even video.
In fact, the global ICT provider believes the digital customer engagement revolution is here, and is forcing organisations across New Zealand, and the world, to adapt their customer service strategies, or die.
That’s according to new research published today by Dimension Data in its annual Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, which shows non-voice traffic (digital) is set to rise in 87 percent of contact centres within the next two years, and voice traffic (talking to a customer centre agent on the telephone) will drop in 42 percent of contact centres during the same period.
Based upon information gathered by Dimension Data gathered over last ten years, contact centres will manage more digital interactions than voice in the next 24 months.
“This represents the biggest change in the contact centre business in 30 years, and has profound implications for the way organisations deploy technology to deliver and manage customer service,” says Adam Foster, Group Executive – Communications, Dimension Data.
According to the report, by the end of 2016, customers will commonly be using up to seven different digital channels, in addition to the telephone.
“But,” stresses Foster, “that’s not to say that contact centres are dead, and customer service agents will become redundant.
"That’s definitely not the case. The reality is that their scope has been broadened, and the types of interactions that are happening via the telephone where an agent is required, are becoming more complex and more critical.
“Organisations will need to focus on getting their staff highly skilled and putting systems in place to enable them to answer customer enquiries immediately.
"Because voice is often the channel of last resort, this is where the moment of truth really happens. If agents can’t resolve the customer’s call, it will reflect badly on the organisation, and could lead to the search for an alternative supplier.”
Meanwhile, with around 74 percent of contact centres predicting the overall number of transactions to increase - largely fuelled by digital - the impact that this trend is having on customer satisfaction is concerning.
Of the 901 research participants polled, 75 percent of companies recognise that service is a differentiator, yet customer satisfaction is down for the fourth consecutive year.