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It is imperative for organisations to incorporate digital channels into overall engagement strategy: Study

Organisations
that don’t embrace digital customer engagement channels – that’s web chat,
social media, SMS, smart phones and mobile applications, and even video – into
their engagement strategies within the next two years, are likely to see their
customers jump ship to competitors that do.

Organisations
that don’t embrace digital customer engagement channels – that’s web chat,
social media, SMS, smart phones and mobile applications, and even video – into
their engagement strategies within the next two years, are likely to see their
customers jump ship to competitors that do.

In fact, the digital customer
engagement revolution is here, and is forcing organisations to adapt their
customer service strategies, or die. According to the study, ‘the message is clear: incorporate digital channels into your overall engagement strategy, or face
extinction.’

Dimension Data, a
South African company specializing in information technology services, has
recently published its annual Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report,
which reveals that non-voice traffic (digital) is set to rise in 87% of contact
centres over the next 24 months, while voice traffic (talking to a customer
centre agent on the telephone) will drop in 42% of contact centres during the
same period. This year, 901 organisations in 72 countries across Asia Pacific,
Australia, the Americas, Middle East & Africa, and Europe participated.

The study says,
that digital contact – in the form of email, web chat, social media, and
self-service channels – continues its explosive growth as popular engagement
method. More and more contact centers (also referred to as a customer
interaction center or e-contact center) no longer want to use the telephone to
communicate with organizations. As customers younger than 40 would much rather
use social media and web chat than any other way of achieving their desired
service outcomes.

By the end of
2016, customers will be using up to seven different digital channels, in
addition to the telephone.

“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,” said Adam Foster, Dimension Data’s
Group Executive – Communications.

But he stressed
that the changes under way did not spell the end for contact centres and the
people employed there.

“That’s
definitely not the case,” he stated. “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.”

Around 74% of
contact centres surveyed by Dimension Data predicted that the overall number of
transactions would increase, largely fuelled by digital, but the report also
said this trend was having a negative impact on customer satisfaction.

Three quarters
of businesses recognised that service was a differentiator, but customer
satisfaction had fallen for the fourth year in a row. “Because voice is
often the channel of last resort, this is where the moment of truth really
happens,” Foster observed.

“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.”

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