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Digital experience misses human touch

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While digital technology is fast transforming the global contact centre industry, advancements in customer experiences are being slowed by people, and not the technology itself.  In fact, the pace of digital uptake isn’t reaching its potential, resulting in widening gaps between service delivery and customer expectations.
According to new research published by Dimension Data in the 19th edition of its annual Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, organisations are unclear about who owns, oversees, and manages the digital channels in their contact centres. That’s because there’s a lack of management focus which impacts the effectiveness of the design of their digital solutions, and by consequence, how customers engage with their businesses.
This year, 1 320 organisations across 14 industry verticals in 81 countries in Asia Pacific, Australia, the Americas, Middle East & Africa, and Europe contributed to the research.
“While telephone interactions in the contact centre are managed, tracked, and quality controlled, the same performance rigour isn’t always applied to digital channels,” explains Rob Allman, Dimension Data’s group principal director: customer experience and collaboration. “This can lead to an inconsistent and degraded customer experience across a brand or services company.”
Half (50%) of the benchmarking report respondents said they track quality on digital channels compared to 89% on phone. Some 82% reported that they have processes to identify sales opportunities on phone compared with 60% on digital.  Measurement of cost and time per interaction is also missing on the majority of digitally assisted-service channels, which suggests an absence of consistency in management approach.
Allman says new contact channels are being designed in isolation, and often without any involvement from the contact centre. “Our research reveals that almost half (47%) are excluded from, or are partially involved in the design phase of new technology solutions in contact centres, while 55% have little, or no involvement in solution approvals.  In fact, two in five 5 (40%) organisations said that their digital channel systems don’t meet existing business needs, and 19% are confident that their future requirements will be met.”
Digital is driving business transformation and reshaping the way companies do business, which means that the role of the contact centre will become even more crucial to achieving an integrated customer experience strategy. It’s therefore important that IT and business function teams collaborate more closely and more strategically.
“New digital technologies must be designed with how they’ll be consumed in mind.  Organisations also need to understand the user experience and customers’ expectations if they want successful adoption of the technology and achieve the desired business outcomes,” adds Jay Reddy, Middle East and Africa executive of Dimension Data’s customer experience and collaboration business unit.
“The complexity of providing customers with a connected experience frequently spans multiple channels including Internet, web chat, social media, and phone. This requires greater capability and understanding of the customer journey when engaging with an organisation’s contact centre. To be effective, the technology solutions need design, ownership, and especially a human touch.”