Dimension Data logo. (PRNewsFoto/Dimension Data) (PRNewsFoto/Dimension Data)
NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Dimension Data, the global ICT solutions and services provider, today announced the results of its 2012 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report, which includes data collected from 637 contact centers in 72 countries across the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Middle East and Africa. This year's report found that rapid adoption of emerging communication channels – much of which is enabled by new mobile and smartphone devices, wireless connectivity and social media – is making a significant impact.
As a result, organizations are now rushing to provide additional service channels as consumers demand varied types of collaboration when they engage with organizations. The telephone is no longer a consumer's primary point of contact with an organization, while at the same time, mobile and social media interactions are increasingly making the contact center's role more important than ever.
One in five (19.2 percent) contact centers are already managing smartphone applications, while 33.1 percent of businesses are supporting social media – nearly double the 18.6 percent reported in 2011. A further 14.4 percent expect to have a capability in place within the next 12 months, by which time 46.3 percent will be using Web chat to positively drive Internet traffic to a successful outcome. What's more, organizations are implementing these new contact center options mainly as a result of customer demand.
"Historically, organizations have set the tone as to how they collaborated with their customers," said Andrew McNair, head of global benchmarking for Dimension Data. "Now, it's the customer who's determining when and what channel they will use. The big question now is how quickly organizations can facilitate this evolution. This poses a significant challenge as businesses struggle to keep pace with increasing technology demands."
Other key findings in this year's report include:
Few businesses are gauging the customer experience of non-agent, self-help channels:
Self-service channels have become more prevalent in today's contact centers; however, organizations are not measuring the cost-to-serve of these channels and are not gauging their customers' experience of non-agent, self-help channels. This contradicts emerging practices that link customer satisfaction scores directly to profitability, such as the tracking of share price performance against the 'voice of the customer' – a growing trend among forward-thinking organizations.
The subsequent absence of cost measurement activity on every channel outside of the telephone is staggering. Only 27.9 percent of Internet, 19.4 percent of Web chat, 9.9 percent of social media, and 6.1 percent of smartphone application contacts are being measured. Only 14.6 percent of participants have any plans to impose measurements. This indicates significant neglect by organizations as they struggle to adequately enable investment into new channels through proven business case validations.
Interactive voice response (IVR) self-service systems rank second only to Web usage as the most offered self-help path. However, 50.6 percent of contact centers don't schedule any regular reviews of their IVR systems and nearly three quarters (72.4 percent) are needlessly frustrating their customers by not passing information collected in the IVR through to agents.
Aging technology is a big challenge:
Many contact centers are wrestling with aging technology, which is expensive to maintain and upgrade. Due to the complexity of existing technology environments, integration, lack of flexibility and upgrades are the most common challenges being experienced.
In addition, there is a progressive move away from applying a dedicated contact center technology strategy to incorporate it into the wider enterprise customer management strategy (now at 66.8 percent). Investment for upgrades and enhancements are harder to authorize and are driving the need to consider alternative sourcing models for specific functionality that include cloud-based solutions on a pay-as-you-use operating expenditure model.
Cloud continues to play an important role:
Many organizations are beginning to recognize the benefits of cloud-based solutions. It has doubled in its importance from Dimension Data's 2011 Contact Center Benchmarking results. As organizations will need to find a way to use, re-use and upgrade existing technologies, the inevitable migration will likely be using a hybrid approach, with an appropriate ownership model selected for each application.
Contact center needs are being lost in overall technology strategy:
Already, 30.4 percent of contact centers report they have no, or limited, involvement in the design of business requirements for new technology solutions. Of these, 7.2 percent state that it's purely a contact center decision. For sourcing, it is 40.2 percent as the enterprise technology strategy takes hold. These results clearly highlight an industry transition point in terms of accountability and responsibility for contact center business requirements and the sourcing of technology.
Therefore, there's a real danger that the specific needs of contact center get lost. Just 59 percent of participants believe their current core infrastructure components (includes CRM, CTI, routing, self-service and workforce optimization) meets their current needs, while for future needs, this figure drops considerably to a mere 13.8 percent.
IP-based contact centers are a success:
The deployment of IP (Internet Protocol)-based contact centershas progressed and traditional IP-based contact center functionality has a high level of success in meeting current and future needs at 64.7 percent and 13.5 percent respectively. Flexibility and compliance with enterprise wide technologies are seen as the main benefits of IP-based solutions.
"Dimension Data's annual Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report provides greater texture to the changes occurring in the customer service industry and what these changes mean to enterprises across the world. With the consumerization of customer service taking place (in large due to social media and smart devices) it comes as no surprise that the ripple effects of this trend is placing greater strain not just on the contact center but with the broader enterprise," said Daniel Hong, lead analyst of Customer Experience & Interaction at Ovum. "As we roll out the tape over the next few years and enterprises create a culture of cross-departmental collaboration to underpin customer experience strategies we will likely witness a surge in customer care innovation on the backdrop of personalized customer experiences built around a cloud infrastructure."
About Dimension Data Founded in 1983, Dimension Data plc is an ICT services and solutions provider that uses its technology expertise, global service delivery capability, and entrepreneurial spirit to accelerate the business ambitions of its clients. Dimension Data is a member of the NTT Group. www.dimensiondata.com
About the Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report
First published in the UK in 1997 by Merchants, Dimension Data's specialist contact center outsourcing and operations division, this year's edition is the twelfth in a series of the industry-renowned benchmarking reports. This year's Report has drawn the widest level of participation overand is an invaluable reference for all contact center professionals. It provides managers with a set of best practice standards and benchmarks, including staffing and training, performance metrics, technology usage, budgets and development plans. The Report is researched and published by Dimension Data and includes a benchmarking portal for use by participants and partners.