Life signalDoes this title sound a little dramatic to you?  Well, it’s not if you consider that 10 years ago we had no social media, no smart phones and only a limited ability to interact on the web. Today, these digital touchpoints have revolutionized the way customer service is delivered. Consumer preferences for customer service are changing through the adoption of digital channels with an emphasis on self-service.

Research from Forrester found, for the first time, the phone channel has been unseated from the top spot as the preferred communication channel by web self-service.  Live-assist channels are also rapidly increasing in popularity. Voice is not going away, but rather, will increasingly become an escalation point and not the primary service channel.

Customer experience is suffering

As the continued adoption of digital channels is establishing itself as a first choice option both for customers and organizations, consumers expect relevant and seamless omnichannel customer service.  Unfortunately, most companies’ staffing and technologies are not keeping up, and lag behind the customer demand.  Contact centers, in most cases, are not able to affect customer experience as effectively in digital channels as they do in voice.  The challenge is to harness the new channels, while improving the customer experience.

Forrester VP, Principal Analyst, Kate Leggett, recently blogged that, “contact centers must shift agent resources in real time between communication channels to optimally align with incoming contact volume. However, we find that less than a third of  contact center decision-makers train all of their agents to support multiple channels.”

Contact centers have to change to meet the challenge

From an operations, technology and people perspective, there are huge challenges as we enter the digital age of the contact center. Consumers are using self-service channels as a first point-of-contact and escalate the more complex questions to live agents. This means the agent interactions remain important in building customer relationships. Also, agents increasingly must be skilled in multiple channels to support these escalations. Overall, the adoption of digital channels has many organizations on a steep learning curve to ensure they are delivering a great customer experience.
forresterodw-093015Watch the on-demand webinar Contact Centers Must Go Digital or Die, featuring Kate Leggett, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research. Here you will learn the six steps to achieve an omnichannel contact center technology road map. In addition, learn how to evolve your customer service channel strategy to satisfy your customers’ expectations, and garner their long term satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.